Vegetable Pelau (Rice Pilaf)

Serves 4

| Prep Time: 15 mins

| Cook Time: 35 mins

| Total Time: 50 mins

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

Pelau is a common vegetarian rice pilaf dish eaten throughout East Africa and traces its roots to the Middle East. In fact, all the common words for this dish in countries around the world including Pelau, Pilau and Pilaf are related to the original Persian word for a rice dish 'Polow'. Pilau is meant to be hearty, and often contains a variety of nuts, dried fruits, vegetables, spices, and even meats.

Our vegan version of Vegetable Pelau (Rice Pilaf) is lightly spiced with our Mozambique-Portuguese fusion spice blend called Peri Peri. We also make it with creamy coconut milk for a decadent texture and slightly sweet flavor to balance the spice. Also known as pili-pili or piri-piri (again, depending on the language and country), Peri Peri is a versatile blend that works magic when combined with lemon and garlic. You can add some lemon wedges to this dish to provide a little acid. This dish is also perfect to clean out the fridge of veggies you need to use. Or, use that farm share box of veggies this summer with this recipe.


  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil 

  • 1/4 cup cashews, chopped

  • 2 tsp Piquant Post Peri Peri spice

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 2 shishito peppers, finely chopped (or jalapeños)

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1” piece of ginger, finely chopped

  • 1 cup basmati rice

  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 (15 oz) can coconut milk

  • 1 tsp sea salt


When you are toasting the cashews for this dish, take care not to burn them! They should still be a little soft.

We used basmati rice but feel free to use any medium or long grain white rice you have on hand 

Learn more about the history of exotic Peri Peri here. 

This simple rice dish is also delicious with chicken and pigeon peas! Here’s a delicious chicken version to try.


Heat the coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the cashews and sauté for 2 minutes or until the cashews are golden brown. Add the Piquant Post Peri Peri spice and sauté 1 more minute. 

Add the red onion, shishito peppers, red bell pepper, garlic and ginger. Sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and tomato paste and sauté another 2 minutes. 

Add the coconut milk and sea salt. Stir well. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and cook covered for about 20-25 minutes or until the liquid is completely absorbed. 

After the rice is done cooking, stir and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with sliced scallions, Italian parsley and more chopped chili peppers.  Serve immediately.

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • This dish is traditionally made with rice, almost like a paella! We think that you could make it with other grains like quinoa. Check out this delicious quinoa version here.

  • If you’re looking for other creative recipes using Peri Peri spice, try our Peri Peri Skirt Steak, Peri Peri Grilled Chicken, or Peri Peri Chicken with Ranch recipes.

  • Be sure to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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