Light & Healthy Coconut Rice Pilaf made with @VitaCoco Coconut Water



Savory coconut rice pilaf bursting with an exotic coconut flavor will transport you right to the tropics or the Caribbean !  This coconut pilaf is bursting with coconut in so many ways. Let’s see, there’s coconut water, coconut milk,  coconut flakes and coconut oil ! How much more coconut can you get ? I love coconut rice and usually make it with coconut milk but it tastes a little rich. Sometimes I want a lighter rice which had the flavor of coconut without that rich feeling, so I thought I would substitute the milk for coconut water. I used  Vita Coco coconut water since it tastes light and flavorful just like the coconut water I used to drink in India straight off the trees.  It turned out so good ! Just what I was looking for: a  light rice pilaf with all the flavor of coconut. I added some green peas to it and spiced it with some ginger, red onion and chili pepper. Cooking the rice pilaf in coconut oil and adding some coconut flakes  just intensified the coconut flavor. I used frozen coconut flakes from the Indian store but you can also use dry coconut flakes. I used long grain basmati rice which gave such a lovely aroma mixed with the coconut flavor and all. Now this rice would be just perfect with my healthy butter chicken or my curicumin spiked chickpeas. I made a veggie stir fry with coconut milk and coconut water which I will be blogging soon 🙂 ! It tasted great with the rice .



Nutrition Wise !

Long grain basmati has the lowest GI ( glycemic index ) of rice in general. Adding some healthy fat in the form of coconut oil lowers the GI even more making it healthy and diabetic friendly. Coconut water has hydrating electrolytes. It is low in calories,fat and loaded with potassium. Coconut milk and coconut oil have healthy monounsaturated fats which do not  get stored by the body. They get burnt as fuel for energy, making it a great fat for those who want to lose weight. Peas add a burst of fiber and Vitamin C !

Inside tips on making the perfect rice pilaf !

Always soak the rice before you cook it because this cuts down cooking time and ensures even cooking.  Add oil or fat before you add rice. This will make your rice long and separate . Although traditionally you use double the amount of water to cook rice, when you make a pilaf, cut down water by 1/ 2 or one cup. This will make the rice grains fluffy and not sticky. 




 All the ingredients !!


Up close and personal ! Yummm !





Light & Healthy Coconut Rice Pilaf

Serves 8
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Side Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot


  • 2 cups long grain basmati rice
  • 2 cups coconut water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 red onion (sliced )
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups green peas


Savory and light this coconut rice pilaf made with coconut water is bursting with flavor and fiber !


Soak rice in water for about 10 minutes.
Heat coconut oil, add mustard seed and wait till they splutter. Add sliced onion,grated ginger and chili flakes and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add coconut flakes and saute for another 3 minutes.
Add coconut water and coconut milk to the above mixture. Add salt. Wait till it just begins to boil and add the rice. Cook covered for 10 minutes.
After ten minutes, stir in peas and cook for another 8 minutes or till cooked.
Serve hot with curry or eat plain for a light delish meal!


Have you ever cooked with coconut water ? Would love to hear about any recipes you’ve tried with coconut water.

About Sunithi Selvaraj, RD

Registered Dietitian with a sweet tooth and a passion for eating healthy ( quite a combo) Nutrition Geek, Healthy Nut.........


  1. coconut happens to be one of my fav flavor. There is nothing like too much coconut- i agree. will have to make this soon 🙂

  2. Love the lightness in this rice ! Looks yummy ! Making this. Eaten coconut rice in a restaurant and loved it ! Great recipe !

  3. Simple, easy, lovely ! Making this. Did you get coconut water from an ethnic store or reg grocery store ? Love the addition of real coconut !

  4. Sue, I love the look of this rice. My husband loves rice and I love coconut. I’m always looking for ways to make it more exciting, and I’m definitely trying this recipe. Thanks for sharing!


  5. wow, so many coconuts in this recipe :). I should try this one for my lunch, but with a lot of spicy flavor 😀

  6. I’ve been eating rice since I was little. But this is the first time I saw a dish that mixes rice with coconut. I want to try to taste it someday.


  1. […] stable. They promote the feeling of fullness. And they even stoke your body’s fat-burning furnace!Moist vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream… warm pumpkin pie… crème brulée… carrot ca…t desserts are filled with sugar, refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, and they pack more […]

Leave a Reply to rian Cancel reply