Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mung Beans and Rice with Indian Spices and Caramelized Onions

I have had a number of requests for slow cooker recipes. Thank you! You have inspired me to use my slow cooker more often in the last few weeks! It is so nice to simply add all of the ingredients to the pot, walk away, and come back hours later with a warm, hearty meal in front of you. I have a few new slow cooker recipes to share with you in the coming weeks (both meat and vegetarian). The following nightshade-free recipe is designed for the Elimination Diet and is perfect for Phase 2 and Phase 3.

Aside from being one of the quickest legumes to prepare and the easiest of all beans to digest, mung beans have numerous positive health benefits. They are a good source of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals, and protein. They show good antioxidant activity in the scientific literature. Mung beans don't have a very strong flavor so they tend to take on whatever you add to them during cooking. Indian spices pair particularly well with mung beans as do dried herbs. Last week I made a tasty mung bean, leek, and potato soup with dried tarragon, thyme, and dill. You can really play with spices and herbs to create some delicious combinations.

Slow Cooked Mung Beans and Rice With Indian Spices and Caramelized Onions

You can make this recipe using your slow cooker on either the low or high setting. This recipe will cook quickly on high so be ready to come back to it after 3 hours. It will take about 6 1/2 hours on low. During the last 30 to 60 minutes of cooking you can add diced yams, chopped kale, chopped carrots, or any other vegetable you have that needs to be used. If your digestion is week, I suggest soaking the beans and rice overnight in filtered water, then rinsing and draining in the morning.

1 1/2 cups dry short grain brown rice
1 cup dry mung beans
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried
6 cups filtered water
1 can organic coconut milk
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt

1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into crescent moons
1/4 teaspoon Herbamare or sea salt
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons black or brown mustard seeds

chopped fresh cilantro

Place the brown rice, mung beans, ground cumin, turmeric, ginger, and water into a 3-quart crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 1/2 hours. After the beans and rice are cooked, stir in coconut milk and salt. Be sure to stir in any additional ingredients about 30 minutes before the end of cooking time. Turn off heat.

Heat a 10 or 11-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, then add onions and salt. Saute for approximately 10 minutes. I like to gradually turn the heat down as they cook so they don't burn. By the end of cooking I am using low heat. After about 10 minutes, add the cumin and mustard seeds. Continue to cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, or until onions are caramelized and spices are fragrant.

You can either stir the onions into the stew or place them atop each serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro.  Serves 4 to 6. Source:

More Elimination Diet Recipes:
Quinoa Salmon Burgers
Nori Rolls with Sticky Brown Rice
Cinnamon Sunflower Truffles
Collard Wraps with Raw Sunflower Pate

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Hi Allie,

    Do you use the whole green mung beans, or the yellow split mung beans that are used in Indian recipes?

    I've found the green mung beans to be strong in flavor and take the same amount of time to cook as other beans, so I'm thinking you might be referring to the split mung beans for this recipe.

  2. Can't wait to try this! We love mung beans, Indian food - and my slow cooker - Thanks!

  3. I love vegetarian recipes that can be made in the crock pot. I haven't made mung in a long time..

  4. How many ounces is the can of coconut milk that you use? Thanks! Sounds and looks so so great!

  5. Hi Ali,

    Do you happen to have a crock pot that is lead-free? The idea of slow cooking in the crock pot is very appealing, but I gave away the crock pot that had been sitting in our pantry forever collecting dust after I started researching the lead factor. Vita Clay and Zisha sound semi-reasonable, but clay doesn't seem like it would be free of other things that might not be good for humans. Cuisinart claims to be lead's hard to tell with the FDA standards and whatnot. Sigh! So many things to consider.

    Yum, I might have to have our helpers whip up some mung bean dal for us tonight since we have a new wee person in our house (who arrived safely at home!) and I am no longer cooking everything. :-)

  6. Metta - I use the whole, green mung beans. Taste is so subjective. To me, mung beans are very mild flavored compared to adzuki, black, or kidney beans. Possibly your mung beans were older? Old beans take a very long time to cook and may never cook thoroughly. Make sure your mung beans are fresh. They always cook very quickly for me compared to all other beans except lentils.

  7. Lindsay - I use the regular 14.5 ounce cans of coconut milk. I should also note that I use Native Forest brand which uses BPA-free cans.

  8. Jennifer - Thank you so much for your comment! I had no idea about the lead component in slow cookers. I am sure this recipe can be cooked on the stove within about 45 minutes.

    Congrats on your new little one and your HBAC, so happy to hear you made it work!!!

  9. This sounds delicious! I'm sure my readers will love it! :)

  10. This looks wonderful and I have almost all the ingredients I need in the pantry. I will definitely try soaking the mung beans overnight because I noticed some digestive issues the last time I cooked with them. Thank you, I love seeing all the healthy meal options you come up with!

  11. Thanks, Ali! This was so good. I can't wait until you post your next recipe for the slow cooker!

  12. Yum! Will you post the mung bean soup recipe you mentioned? It sounds delicious!!

  13. I absolutely loved this! I love the porridge texture and the flavor is unexpectedly delicious. I also added cardamom pods - which I add anywhere I can. The next day, I added water to the left-overs and we had a really lovely soup. Already planning to make this again next week.

  14. I just ate this for breakfast this morning after cooking it yesterday.. Oh! :D It is so filling, nourishing and delicious! YUM!

  15. Absolutely delicious! Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

  16. I made this recipe last night and I can't wait to make it again. The caramelized onions and cilantro are perfectly complimenting to the mung beans and rice. My slow cooker's "low" setting is 8 hours, which was too long because the bottom was burnt. Next time I'll go with 6 hours. I used the leftovers in the morning as a porridge (minus the onions) and I was pleasantly surprised. Thank you!

  17. I soaked the beans and rice - how much water should I use in the recipe? The full 6 cups or less? Thanks.


Join the Conversation!

I'd love to hear your feedback with my recipes. If you make any changes or substitutions then please share what you did so others can learn.

If you have a question about a recipe, please leave it here. I will do my best to answer it when I have time.

Comment moderation is in place. Your comment will be only be visible here once I publish it.

Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)