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Overhead shot of Lentil Risotto with Rainbow Chard on a table ready for sharing.

Lentil Risotto with Rainbow Chard and Carrots

New to Indian cooking or looking to delve deeper? Asha's new book Masala & Meatballs, Incredible Indian Dishes with An American Twist is packed with inspiration to tempt your culinary prowess. From Asha's new book, Lentil Risotto with Rainbow Chard and Carrots is a creamy, flavor packed main. With an easy risotto method, dinner is ready in about 45 minutes. vegan + gluten free
*Ingredient note: I subbed a few ingredients from the original recipe - see notes where directed. 
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Risotto, Vegan Risotto
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 414kcal
Author Traci York via Asha Shivakumar | Vanilla And Bean


  • 1/2 C (125g) Chana Dal or yellow split mung dal (95g)
  • 1 Tbs + 1 tsp Vegetable Oil divided, I use coconut oil
  • 1 C (218g) Arborio Rice rinsed and drained
  • 5 C (1175g) Water or Vegetable Broth divided - I use a mixture of 1/2 each
  • 1 tsp Fine Sea Salt divided
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Ginger grated - use a microplane or mince
  • 1 tsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seed
  • 10 Cashews broken into pieces - plus a few more for garnish
  • 10 Curry leaves optional - I left these out
  • 1 Tbs Shallot minced *See notes
  • 1 C (55g) Rainbow Chard chopped and packed
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Garlic grated - use a microplane or mince

For Garnish:

  • 3 Tbs Vegetable Oil I use coconut oil
  • 2 Carrots peeled and cut into match sticks **See notes


  • Place the chana dal in a pan over medium heat and stir, toasting lightly for about 3 minutes until it slightly turns color. Remove from the heat, rinse well in cold water and drain. Set aside. 
  • In a large, heavy saucepan with 3" sides (7.5cm) or a Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbs of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the washed dal and rice and toast lightly again, being careful not to break the grains - about 2-3 minutes. Add 2 C (470g) of the vegetable/water broth mixture, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then turn down the heat to low; cook, covered without stirring, until all the water is absorbed - 12-15 minutes.
    Add the remaining 3 C (705g) of broth, cover and cook over low heat until the rice is completely cooked and softer in texture, about 15-20 minutes (Asha's book indicates 30 minutes - due to cooktop variations/heat - check the risotto starting at about 15 minutes and keep an eye on it. You don't want it to dry out.) Add 1/2 tsp of salt, cover and turn off the heat. Set aside. 
  • In a saute pan, heat the remaining 1 tsp of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, pepper, cumin seeds, cashews, curry leaves (if using), and shallot and fry until they splutter and become toasted, 30 seconds. Add the chopped rainbow chard and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and saute until it is wilted down and cooked through about 3 minutes (it will seem dry, but it's okay, keep going until wilted).
    Just before removing the chard mixture off the heat, toss in the garlic, stirring, and incorporating for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and the spicy chard mixture to the cooked risotto mixture and stir to throughly combine. The rice should not be neither too firm nor soggy or watery (if too stiff, add a few tablespoons of water and stir). When you spoon it onto a plate it should very slowly spread. Check for salt, adjust as needed. 
  • For the garnish, heat the oil in a flat-bottomed, nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook until caramelized and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve the risotto with the crispy carrots** on top and a few chopped cashews. 


Ingredient Notes: *Asha calls for a pinch of asafetida. Because I was unable to locate this ingredient, a quick google search recommended I sub onion and garlic. Also, I was unable to locate curry leaves locally. **For photography aesthetics and because I wanted more carrots, I simply peeled a bunch of carrots and pan fried them. This resulted in crunchy carrots, rather than crispy. The carrots can simply be gently steamed if desired. 
Recipe adapted from Masala & Meatballs and reprinted with permission from Masala & Meatballs: Incredible Indian Dishes with an American Twist by Asha Shivakumar (Page Street Publishing, 2017). Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Masala & Meatballs for review. All opinions are my own. 


Calories: 414kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 640mg | Potassium: 204mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5740IU | Vitamin C: 54.5mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 3.9mg