Lentil Biryani and The Great Vegan Bean Book Review

Lentil Biryani


Hmm, lets see, do I need to eat more legumes, hell yes! and there is a perfect book to help me do that in so many different ways! It has a lot of my favorite things, beans, lots of beans, plant-based with options for gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free or oil-free. 

Kathy Hester‘s new book will blow you away. There are beans for breakfast, meals and even dessert(hello chickpea cookies and black bean fudgesicles). There are usual vegan meals, burgers, dips and then other cuisines and fusion recipes to choose from Indian, Mexican, Jamaican, Asian, French, Moroccan, you name it. If you dont win a copy at this giveaway, pick The Great Vegan Bean Book at amazon!

Kathy explains all the possible standard beans, along with variations for specialty heirloom beans. She describes which beans are in each family and that can be used interchange-ably in a recipe.

The book has nutrition information with each recipe.
Recipes to make your own staples like chorizo and chik-un patties.
Staples to keep food budget in check and also to avoid all the added preservatives.
Allergy friendly, gluten- and soy-free and no added oil and also an index for gluten and soy-free.

Photography in the book by Renee Comet is crisp and does justice beautifully to the dishes.  and pictures with almost all recipes is something I love about this book. 

I made this Smoky White Bean dip. I added a roasted Red bell pepper to it and spiced it up a bit more for my taste, and sent most of it and fresh veggies, packing with hubbs for his rafting trip. I dont think he got to eat much of it:) It was a definite hit with the omnis too.

I also used another batch to make sandwiches the next day. They will soon be posted in a separate post. I added some roasted Veggies and greens. Keep guessing which roasted veggies! 

I wanted to make the Hawaiian sliders and some dessert too and so so many things, but my house move has gotten in  the way.

You can check out many more tried and tested recipes from the book on Kathy’s blog tour, like these Pecan Chickpea Chocolate Chip cookies, butternut Squash Frijoles, These Chickpea Seitan Crispy patties & Coconut Pecan Blondies! 
Super Easy Lentil Biryani – published with permission from the publisher.
soy-free gluten-free oil-free

If you’ve had the longest day ever and still need to make dinner, this is the recipe for you. Throw everything into a pan or your rice cooker and dinner will be ready in no time!
1 ½ cups (279 g) brown basmati rice
4 cups (950 ml) water, plus more if needed
½ cup (96 g) lentils
¼ cup (35 g) chopped cashews
¼ cup (35 g) raisins
¼ cup (33 g) minced dried apricots
2 teaspoons minced ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks or ½ teaspoon ground
3 black cardamom pods or ½ teaspoon ground
4 whole cloves or ¼ teaspoon ground
8 whole black peppercorns or ¼ teaspoon ground
10 coriander seeds or 1 teaspoon ground
½ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon salt

Yield: 4 servings
Total Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 40 to 60 minutes
Per 1 ½-Cup (340 g) serving: 
377.0 calories; 5.0 g total fat; 0.5 g saturated fat; 10.0 g protein; 76.5 g carbohydrate; 7.5 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol.

Stove-Top- Directions:
Put all the ingredients except the salt into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and
decrease the heat to low and cook until the rice and lentils are tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Check after 30 minutes
and add more water if needed.
Add the salt and adjust other seasonings if needed and remove the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom
pods before serving.

Rice Cooker Directions:
The two differences between cooking this on the stove top and in your rice cooker is that you will use 2 cups
(380 g) brown basmati rice (use the measuring cup that came with your rice cooker) and add water to fill line 2
in your rice cooker plus 1 cup (235 ml) water in a regular measuring cup.
Put all the ingredients into the rice cooker and cook on the brown rice setting if you have one.
When your rice cooker beeps, taste, add salt, and taste again. Adjust the other seasonings if needed and remove the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods before serving.


The publishers are also giving away a copy of the book to one the blog readers!  

To Enter to win a Copy, just leave me a Comment about your favorite bean(other than chickpea ;)) and the favorite way you like them. 

***The Giveaway is now Over. ***


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  1. says

    oh wow! that is truely the perfect meal to make after the longest day ever!

    i love chickpeas so much, i don’t even know what else to say…hmm..

    i actually REALLY love gigantes beans.

  2. says

    Oh man, definitely black eyed peas. I like to simmer them with some liquid smoke, chili powder, other seasonings and collard greens and serve them over cauliflower puree. Mmmmm, so good!

  3. says

    I am a big fan of the Black Bean. Cuban food, Mexican, Tex-Mex, all kinds of Caribbean, bean dips and spreads, amazing soup, the Black Bean does it all!

  4. says

    If kala chana counts as part of the chickpea ban then I would have to go with the mighty green lentil as the winner in the versatile category, and adzuki beans for the more-exotic bean category!

    Favourite way for green lentils: Is there one? Spicy tomato dals, added to a tagine, French lentil soup with tarragon, or simple mujaddara are top contenders!

    Favourite way for adzuki beans: “Asian mujaddara”: 1:1 ratio (raw) of quinoa to adzuki beans, simmered with some miso and served on top of lightly steamed bok choy, with Sriracha at the ready!

  5. EMC says

    Seriously, no chickpeas?

    I guess I’d have to go with black beans, then. I know, I know, so common, but… in burgers, or salsa, or burritos/quesadillas, or brownies and cookies… All good stuff. Yum!

  6. stacey says

    One of my faves is cannellini beans. Toss with caramelized onions, grape tomatoes, lots o’ garlic, rosemary and pasta…delish!

  7. says

    I LOVE lentils. I simmer them until they are toothsome and then toss them with chopped sundried tomatoes, yellow and orange bell pepper, walnuts and mint. So tasty!

  8. says

    Nicole Leigh, I haven’t had black eyed peas in a long time. How you like to eat them sounds delicious. I’m definitely going to have to give that a try!

  9. says

    Well chickpeas are definitely my favourite, but I also love black beans, particularly in Mexican dishes. My go-to is a roasted yam and black bean enchilada that is super easy and really delicious.

  10. says

    Black eye pea salad! We also love red beans in any way anyone cooks them. Oh, and I have to add adzuki beans because they can be used in just about any recipe.

  11. says

    I’d say urad dal, Puy lentils and black beans are a tie, after chickpeas. (I had no idea chickpeas were most people’s favorite bean!)

    Beautiful pictures! And that Biryani recipe is happening tonight.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  12. says

    I love any kind of bean you give me! I guess if I had to pick one, I’d say red kidney beans. I’ve been eyeing this cookbook, so I’d love to get my hands on a copy! Thanks!

  13. says

    But chickpeas are my favorite!!! haha now I would have to say black beans come in for a close second, and kidney beans have always held a special place in my heart -they were my favorite when I was little! Confession: Until I was probably 12 ish, I only knew of chickpeas, kidney beans, refried and baked beans. I didn’t even know anything else existed, much less that they could come from somewhere other than a salad bar or can!

  14. Anonymous says

    I love all beans, but really like black beans best. I make bean dips from every type of bean. A favorite is cubed cantaloupe, black beans, chopped onion, cumin, garlic, smoked paprika blended until smooth in a high speed blender. Can be served room temp. or warmed, with veggies or tortilla chips. It sounds odd, but delicious!!! Try it!
    I’d love to have a copy of the bean book!

  15. says

    This sounds like a fantastic book — and I love the photos you used to illustrate the recipes. The bean dip is practically flying off the page! I love all beans but my favorite might be cannelini beans because they’re so versatile and delicious. I use them with pasta, in bean dips, and even in cake!

  16. says

    After chickpeas, my fav is black beans. I love them with smoked paprika, red chiles or red pepper flakes, and white rice. (I know brown rice is healthier, but the Morros & Christianos thing is so culturally historic, that I nearly always use white.

  17. Anonymous says

    I love northern beans.. they are so versatile. But my favorite is baked beans with lots of molasses.. mmmm Hungry now :)

  18. says

    I love lentils for making tacos! I was raised up on Red Beans & Rice so love them too! You just can’t go wrong with any kind of beans!

  19. says

    Interesting recipe and love to have a copy…i am a fan for White kidney beans…also black beans after coming to US…may be that is one reason am a fan of “CHIPOTLE”

  20. says

    Lentils are my favorite (besides chickpeas :P) because they can be found in almost every culture, and therefore are incredibly versatile. I have made some of my most exotic-tasting dishes from lentils. I really enjoy them in mujadarrah (Middle Eastern lentils and rice) and they also make great veggie burgers. :)

  21. says

    I discovered fresh cannelini beans last summer, and a recipe to cook them with verrryyy slow cooked tomatoes to make an amazing Fasoladia. Wonderful.

  22. Shruti says

    I like all beans. My favorite bean would be Matki ( Moth beans). My family loves the Maharashtrian Misal for which I make a spicy Matki Usal & Tarri :)

  23. Raychel says

    I absolutely love lentils! red, green, black, you name it. I eat them almost every day, but my favorite recipe is probably a red lentil butternut squash curry-flavored stew.

    Also, question- is it okay to cook lentils for the 40-50 min needed to cook brown rice, as in this recipe, since lentils usually only take ~25 min?

  24. says

    My favorite bean would have to be black beans- I looove them in burritos, and tonight I’m making black bean brownies! Talk about versatility!

  25. says

    Have saved these recipes so I can try them, they all look and sound delicious. My favorite bean is black beans in anything! Thanks for the chance to win such a great prize.

  26. Megan says

    butter beans! (they don’t actually have butter…it’s just what we call them in the south.) i like to put them in a tofu pot pie with a biscuit topping.

  27. says

    We love black beans! Pinto beans would be a second favorite and the bonus there is my 14 year old loves them too! Love the recipe and can’t wait to try it.

  28. says

    My favorite bean is cannelini bean. I saute them in vegetable stock with minced garlic and black pepper and when they have soaked up most of the stock I add greens just to wilting. Kale, escarole or spinach. Mmmmmmmm

  29. says

    What a fabulous book!! I’ve not heard of it before, so I’m happy for your post. Favorite bean?? Would probably have to be the black bean… mixed with grilled corn, cilantro and lime and topped with avocado!

  30. says

    I would LOVE to have a copy of this book. I borrowed it from the local library and wanted to make every dish. Thanks for the opportunity to own a copy!

  31. Susan says

    Yum, beans! Favorite is black beans. Love them with corn, chili powder, coriander, lime & whatever other leftover veggie I need to throw in there.

  32. Shari says

    I think Gigante beans are my favorite. They just burst with creaminess! So good in a long-cooked Greek flavored casserole! Thanks for the Biryani recipe. It’s great that it includes ingredients we vegans stock our pantries with. Looks great!

  33. Kristy R says

    Hubby is Cuban…so there are a lot of black beans eaten in this house from black bean sweet potato chili, black beans and rice cuban style (sans bacon of course) and GF black bean brownies. Even my toddler loves black beans! Now my 4 year old…no so much! Working on that!

  34. says

    Lately I’ve been really loving black beans esp in a burger. I love making black bean burgers. I also love lentils because they absorb such flavor. Curry & lentils that’s all I need lol.

  35. says

    Tough one!!! So many favorite beans – cannelini beans/ black beans/ red kidney beans in soups/ hearty chilli or spicy indian gravies. Lentils is a close second – one of faves being lentil & kale soup as well as warm lentil salad. The list goes on….

  36. Anonymous says

    Love black bean burgers!!! But also steamed soy beans with a sprinkle of sea salt. Yummmm

  37. says

    I love all beans, legumes, pulses. Currently, I think lentils, black-eyed peas, chick peas, and fava beans (ful medames!!!) are my favorites. A dish I have recently fallen in love with is my adaption of a recipe my CSA included with our share a few weeks ago. It’s Carrot Top and Quinoa soup–a fantastic way to use carrot tops rather than discarding them! I used leeks in place of onions, tossed in some herbs, and added lentils to thicken the dish (I prefer stews to thin soups) and bring it to a whole new level. So tasty!!!

    Thanks for all the great recipes in your wonderful blog! :)

  38. says

    Chickpeas are beans!! (Garbanzo beans) I don’t know of many kinds of beans because i’m a little afraid of cooking them poorly and ruining a dish, so I mostly use kidney beans and cannellini beans. I like to use them as a substitute for the grains in tabbouleh and if you mush cannellini beans you can make a really nifty vegan creme brulee.

  39. says

    I have never met a bean or legume or any cousin I didn’t like but the darker the bean the more tasty I find them. I recently went to an Indian grocery store and found a couple of beans I never heard of including one in the lima family called Christmas beans. I hear they are an heirloom variety. Can’t wait to make some and surprise my daughter who hates limas! Bet she won’t know the history of these.

  40. Cheryl says

    Love adjuki beans, black beans, pinto beans,and black eyed peas. Can’t think of a bean I don’t like. A favorite soup is made with kale, great northern beans, tomatoes, carrots and celery with a few drops of liquid smoke and toasted sesame oil. Thank you for the opportunity.

  41. says

    I love beans, but need to definitely eat more of them…I don’t like them plain but love them mixed into rices and flavored correctly…loving this recipe you posted…I love all types of bean spreads and bean burgers…lentil soup is my favorite…thanks for sharing this cookbook, I’m loving the sound of it!



  42. says

    I also love all beans but my faves are canellinni, chickpeas, sprouted mung beans and black beans. For my kids I make chickpeas in the oven sometimes with oil and salt. We call it “big hog.” That’s a better name than chickpeas and they get pretty crunchy so they taste a bit like popcorn. Good trick for kids: Give your dish a snappy name! Monica

  43. Cassie says

    Funny, I didn’t even like chickpeas until the past year or so, when I became a vegan. I guess I had to develop a taste for them. My favorites are still black beans. cassieh@gmx.com

  44. says

    Lentils!!! I make a giant pot of lentil chili every week!!! Through out the week we dress the chili up different ways. Lentil chili, tacos, burgers etc.. So yummy!!

  45. says

    Yellow split peas (besides chick peas, who doesn’t loooovveee chick peas??) are my favorite. I make a thick dal curry with them that includes lots of garlic and onions and eat it with rice or roti and a simple green salad w/ a homemade lime dressing or steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Now I’m hungry.

    • Eleanor says

      forgot …..love me some black beans in a myriad of soups. But I add them to salads, pasta, rice, quinoa……

  46. says

    Oh my, hard to choose a single favorite, but ONE favorite would be great northern beans, cooked the way my mother used to with tomatoes, onion and brown sugar. Best baked beans ever! Other favorites are pintos, black beans, lentils, kidney beans, lima beans…. (well, you get the picture)! :)

  47. says

    Black beans are my favorite. I like them the best in black bean and corn salsa, but lately I have been trying them in baked goods. They are perfect in chocolate muffins and brownies, providing a delicious way to sneak in some healthy legumes.

  48. says

    OK, so if I can’t mention the chickpea, I’ll go with kidney beans. I love beans of all sorts, but we probably go through more dark red kidney beans than any other — except chickpeas, of course, but we aren’t going there. 😉

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  49. says

    Beans? Really, I love them all! If I have to choose, I’d say pinto beans. I like cooking them in all kinds of ways; the last thing I did using them was a pinto bean dip/hummus. Reading the comments reminded me that I *love* adzuki beans too, and I haven’t cooked them in way too long… They’ll be on our menu soon!

  50. says

    Blackeyed peas! I love to use them to make BBQ beans and greens, Hoppin’ John and more! They are also excellent simply “naked” on a salad. I’ve honestly never met a bean I didn’t like.

  51. says

    Hey, I like chickpeas! Grumble grumble … All right, I’m going to have to go with black beans – black beans and rice with a little bit of spice is fantastic, as is a good quinoa salad with black beans …

  52. Connor says

    I love mung beans, in all forms. Whether it is sprouts in slaws, salads, noodle dishes….they are so versatile. They make a fun replacement to any kind of shredded vegetable (cabbage, squash, carrot, broccoli, etc.), green beans and the nuttiness can even be used in place of peanuts and sesame seeds. Delicious!

  53. says

    Not fair that I can’t say the chickpea because they truly are my favorite! Although, I’ve had very good experiences with both fava and lima beans lately, so maybe I can switch it up for now. 😉

  54. says

    Beans beans beans, love me some beans! Lentils have become a favorite, especially my lentil soup. Secret to making it heavenly is adding grated lemon peel to the broth, and lemon juice to the soup just before it’s done. I would LOVE this cookbook to pieces!

  55. says

    I love Adzuki Beans. They were hard to find but alas I found them. I used a recipe by Scott Jurek with them… Oh Yum. So Good. Are there any Adzuki Bean Recipes in this book? I’ve liked what I’ve seen with the recipes on the blogs so far. Yummmm

  56. says

    Lately I’ve been loving black beans, cooked with spices and fruit (mango, strawberries, rhubarb…). But in the winter I love beans in soups!

  57. says

    I love black beans in homemade veggie tacos (avocado, hot sauce, fresh herbs and sauteed veggies). The are delicious and versatile!

  58. says

    Chick peas are my absolute fav, but lentils are a close second. I love them with eggplant and tomatoes, seasoned with rosemary and garlic, and served with spaghetti squash or whole wheat pasta

  59. says

    I just had to come back and say I’ve made this dish 3 times now, and it blows me away every time! All my coworkers are jealous when I bring it for my lunch. 😉 Thank you so much for sharing it!

  60. Anonymous says

    I found wonderful tasty anasazi beans, little white beans with red spots. I like to serve them with a creamy soft jalapeno polenta…Yum

  61. Heather Cornbleth says

    Red lentils! There’s so much you can do with them. And they’re lower oxalate so my autistic son can eat them! (Along with chickpeas…)

  62. Jacky says

    Black beans are definitely my favorite. I lived in France for a year and couldn’t find them anywhere and it was devastating! I love them in burrito bowls.


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