Instant Pot Rice Pilaf With Chickpeas

This healthy and delicious Instant Pot rice pilaf is made with protein-rich chickpeas (garbanzo beans), warm spices and cilantro for a perfect vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free main or side.  This is a guest recipe from Chhavi of Yellow Thyme food blog (read more about the author below the recipe).

Aromatic and mildly spiced, this Instant Pot rice pilaf is made with white Basmati rice and garbanzo beans using the pressure cooker. It’s a super easy, nutritious recipe that is vegan, gluten-free and nut-free.

What Is A Pilaf?

Pilaf is a name given to the cooking method and to the dish cooked by that method. It involves cooking grain such as rice in broth or stock, spices and other ingredients such as meat and vegetables until all of the liquid is absorbed and the grain is infused with all the flavours. Try our Instant Pot Rice Pilaf With Lamb, Almonds & Figs.

There are many variations of pilaf or pilau around the world: biryani in India, paella in Spain, plov in Azerbaijan, qabili palaw in Afghanistan and pilafi in Greece.

Pilaf can be made with rice, orzo, vermicelli noodles, bulgur wheat and more recently quinoa. Most common version though is using long grain rice, spices, stock and meat or vegetables. 

Our pilaf recipe is a quick vegan, gluten-free Instant Pot pressure cooker version using only rice, cooked chickpeas, spices and herbs.

Instant Pot Rice Pilaf With Chickpeas (Vegan, Gluten-Free)


Using Chickpeas In Rice Pilaf

I love adding chickpeas or lentils to a rice pilaf as it provides plant-based protein and extra beneficial fibre. Plus, it’s a delicious combo! Combining grain and legumes or pulses is important for vegetarians and vegans because such unison provides a complete set of essential amino acids in the proteins of those foods. 

You could boil the chickpeas in the Instant Pot ahead of time or use canned chickpeas. I usually boil chickpeas in bulk for the week, so I have them on hand for any protein emergency.

If using canned garbanzo beans, drain and wash them before using.

Instant Pot Rice Pilaf Tips & Alternatives

  • Basmati rice is just cooked in this dish. You could use normal short-grain rice as well but the ratio of water will change to 1:2
  • Instead of white chickpeas, you can also use cooked brown chickpeas or kidney beans. Lentils are also really nice.
  • Stock – use vegetable stock for extra flavour (or chick stock for a non-vegan version).
  • Spices – cumin, paprika, bay leaf and cinnamon are the only spice used here. You can also add star anise or saffron for more fragrance and flavour. In a pinch, use garam masala or ras el hanout.
  • Herbs – Use either fresh cilantro or shredded mint. 

How To Serve Instant Pot Rice Pilaf

This Instant Pot rice pilaf dish can be served as a main or side. I love it with a simple salad and some yoghurt on the side.  You could go all out and make some lamb or chicken to go with it.

It would make a great addition to an Indian-inspired feast or dinner spread and you can make a big batch for centrepiece dish at a vegan Thanksgiving or Christmas. In this case, you can make it more festive by adding chopped dried fruit, cranberries, nuts and seeds.


More Rice Instant Pot Recipes

Instant Pot Yellow Rice With Peas & Corn

10 Delicious Instant Pot Biryani Recipes

Instant Pot Spanish Rice With Chorizo

More Instant Pot Rice Recipes Here

You might also like these delicious Instant Pot Indian Recipes

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Instant Pot Rice Pilaf With Chickpeas

Instant Pot Rice Pilaf With Chickpeas (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

  • Author: Chhavi from Yellow Thyme
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Side/Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian


This healthy and delicious Instant Pot rice pilaf is made with protein-rich chickpeas (garbanzo beans), warm spices and cilantro for a perfect vegetarian and gluten-free main or a side.



1 cup Basmati rice

1.5 cups cooked canned chickpeas(garbanzo beans, 1 can strained)

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon mild or sweet papikr powder

1 bay leaf

1-inch cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1.25 cups water or vegetable stock (if using stock, reduce the the salt)


Wash the rice under cold running water a few times and strain.

Switch the Instant Pot on and press the Sauté setting. When the Pot is “HOT”, add the oil followed by garlic. Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes till it turns translucent.

Sprinkle the spices: bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin, paprika and salt. Cancel the Sauté mode.

Add the washed rice, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cilantro and water. Give it a stir, deglaze the pot and close the lid. Make sure all the rice is under the water.

Select PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL mode, on HIGH pressure for 7 minutes. At the end of 7 minutes, allow 5-10 minutes for natural release and thendo the quick release to let the pressure out. Please note, 7 minutes will give you separate but soft rice. If you prefer the texture a little more al dente, reduce the cooking time to 5 minutes.

Open the lid, garnish with extra cilantro and serve with yogurt and salad.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 349
  • Sugar: 5.1 g
  • Sodium: 498.1 mg
  • Fat: 6.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 62.8 g
  • Fiber: 7.6 g
  • Protein: 10.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: Garbanzo beans, Indian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Rice

About the recipe author:  Chhavi is the founder of Yellow Thyme food blog. She is a mommy to a small little boy, an unapologetic foodie, a self-taught cook and food photographer. Yellow Thyme is  Chhavi’s little culinary corner, where she shares Instant Pot Indian recipes, healthy Indian cooking for modern living, nutritious desserts, menus and more. You can find Chhavi’s creations on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.


Instant Pot Rice Pilaf With Chickpeas (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Instant Pot Recipes
By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious Instant Pot recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.
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