Do you ever feel blank after a long day at work? By blank I mean, not looking forward to anything. Doing laundry, running little errands, making dinners, or even thinking about eating healthier and better that night. Yes, especially that!
Its exhausting to keep a track of what you eat and how much you eat all the time. Isnt it? Even for a food freak like myself.
I get this feeling mostly on Wednesdays. I go for Pilates first three days of the week so by Wednesday evenings, my body stops functioning properly. It aches and pains, which I love by the way, but it still is pain. And it makes me lethargic and brain dead at times.
So what do I do? I go for the simplest of recipes which serve as One pot meals and I dont have to cook a dal-roti-sabzi combo from scratch.
I just love One pot meals. And I have a lot of them on this site like this Shakshuka (baked eggs in rich tomato and spinach sauce) or this spicy tomato beans rice or if I am even lazier at times, this South Indian curd rice (curd=yogurt) serves just right.
As you can see, these are all healthy dishes. Yes, they are a bit heavy on the carbs side and I usually avoid carbs for dinner. But i have to chose between a pizza or a healthier carb-y meal, I would go for the Pizza. What! No. I would go for the healthy homemade meal. Sometimes, Pizza too especially if it is this low carbs Pizza frittata.
This zucchini carrot rice is my personal favourite. Its super duper healthy, incorporates a lot of veggies into it and is ready under 30 minutes flat. Yes, you heard it!
I don’t have a lot of zucchini (courgette) recipes on this site. At most I have got this Cumin spiced zucchini pasta in the list. Which is delicious by the way. But I need to post some more recipes which I make all the time. Mainly for the reason I want to keep a track of them and remind me to make them more often.
If you don’t like zucchini (well, you should really. Its very healthy), I have got good news for you. You won’t even taste zucchini in this dish. Its grated and mixes very well in the rice and spices. You can try feeding this dish to an absolute zucchini hater and test it (PM me the reaction, please!).
Then it comes to carrot. One good thing (at least for me) about this Pilaf or Pulao (you may call it that) is that carrot exists in grated form rather than chunks. I am not a very big fan of carrot chunks in rice dishes. I love the stir fries, like in this carrot green peas stir-fry (gajar matar sabzi). But I can’t stand chunks, especially in soups. Yikes! Sorry folks.
EDIT- Coconut milk. I was referring to my notes after publishing this recipe when I realised I had totally forgotten to add it in here. Sorry peeps! 🙁
I had used about ¼ cup of Coconut milk in this recipe which helped in binding the flavours and bringing out the best of them. It also kind of masks the slightly bland taste of zucchini and provides the subtle sweetness to the dish. Add it with the rice and water and cook as usual. I have updated the recipe down below as well.
If you don’t have coconut milk, you could add the usual full fat milk but do it towards the end when the rice is almost cooked. You can totally skip any of the two of course but I would highly recommend adding Coconut milk or at least 2 tbsp of milk in this recipe.
And finally turmeric! The new super food of the world of diets.
You can use any curry spice powder mix you like in this dish. I have used my favourite Kitchen King masala, just a tsp of it. It kind of binds the flavours together but you can totally skip using this or any spice mix if you like. Feel free to use any stock flavour cubes rather than the spices. The idea here is to not think too much about cooking, remember?
Just one more thing- You could make this dish into a Pressure Cooker as well. Cook till two whistles at medium gas and open when the pressure eases off.
Anyway, not to make this post longer than it already is, let’s go through the recipe of this quick and easy Zucchini carrot pilaf rice.
Nutritional info: Vegan + gluten free. Low in calories. Good source of potassium, Vitamin A and iron.
Accompaniments– chilled yogurt raita OR any mild dal (lentil curry)
Note: Zucchini is a vegetable of the gourd family. If you dont get zucchini in your area, go for bottle gourd (dudhi/lauki/ghiya) or snake gourd (turai/ nenua).
Yields 2-4 servings
Healthy Zucchini and carrot rice pilaf- A delicious one pot meal under 30 minutes. Vegan + GF
10 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 1 Cup rice, soaked for about 20 min
- 2 zucchinis, rinsed and grated
- 2 carrots, rinsed and grated
- 1 large onion, chopped fine
- 3-4 garlic pods, minced or crushed
- A small piece of ginger, grated or minced
- 1-2 green chilies, chopped fine (optional as per taste & preference)
- 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used Olive oil for this one)
- About 1/4 cup of coconut milk
- A handful of cilantro (coriander leaves), washed and chopped
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 1 ½ tsp salt or as per taste
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp curry spice mix (I used Kitchen king masala)
- ½ red chili powder (or paprika if you like milder taste)
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp Garam masala (optional)
- Soak the rice and keep aside. In the meanwhile, grated the veggies and keep them ready. No need to squeeze the water out of them as the rice will get cooked in it.
- Heat oil in a skillet (pan/wok). Throw in the cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Then add the garlic, ginger and green chilies (if using). Let this mix fry for a few seconds
- Then add in the chopped onion and saute for a 1-2 minutes till they start turning pink. Add in the grated veggies along with all the spices and saute at medium gas for about 5-7 minutes till the water starts evaporating out.
- At this point, drain the rice and pour into the pan along with 1 ½ cups of water and coconut milk. Mix everything, cover the pot and let the pilaf cook for about 8-10 minutes. Stir once or twice in between gently.
- After about 10 minutes, check if the rice has cooked properly. If not, let it cook for 3-4 more minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust at this point. Once the rice is cooked alright, turn off the gas.
- Keep the pot covered for a few minutes before serving to let the steam settle in to absorb the flavours. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.
You can use a small dollop of butter along with the oil to provide this Pilaf a fine, distinguished taste.
You can also add green peas to this dish, I sometimes do that and it tastes wonderful as carrot peas pulao.
A tiny bit of Garam masala adds to a lot of flavour in any rice dish. If you are skipping it, maybe add a bay leaf and a small cinnamon stick along with the ginger-garlic-chilies mix. Then proceed as normal.
You might squeeze some lemon juice towards the end of the cooking to get some zingy flavour in.
if you dont have Coconut milk in hand, you could use the normal milk as well. But do not add it with the water and rice and towards the end instead, just when the rice is almost cooked. Sprinkle it with a spoon and gently fold in.
Some more rice recipes to make YOUR Wednesdays tastier and healthier:
Garlic rice with fenureek leaves (Methi matar pulao)