Instant Pot Ground Lamb Pilaf with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil


This one pot ground lamb and rice dish is packed with bright and fresh basil leaves, sweet and tart sun-dried tomatoes and loads of flavor. It’s a simple one pot meal that’ll have everyone going back for seconds.

instant pot ground lamb pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes and basil

We have been eating this Italian pilaf pretty regularly over the past few weeks. It’s my new favorite way to eat ground lamb – spiced well and combined with basmati rice, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. It’s so flavorful and so easy to make, especially in an instant pot. In our house, we’ve been calling this “Italian keema pulao” lol because it’s basically the Italian version of my keema biryani/pulao. Is Italian biryani a thing? I guess it is now…

instant pot ground lamb pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes and basil

I first came up with this recipe sort of by accident. I had a lot of leftover basmati rice in the fridge, a pack of ground lamb waiting to be used, a jar half full of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil – which is an herb I don’t typically keep in the house (unlike cilantro which basically moved into my house and refuses to leave). Fortuitous, right? It was basically a leftover jumble that turned out to be so good that my husband asked me to make it again the following week – so I did, but the next time I made it, I did so using my favorite kitchen appliance, my electric pressure cooker: an Instant Pot. Since then I’ve made this several times – I have no idea why it has taken me so long to get this on the blog but now that it’s on here, you guys need to make it asap! Make it while fresh basil is still super abundant!

instant pot ground lamb pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes and basil

This Italian pilaf is a little spicy thanks to the serrano pepper and the cayenne but you can definitely leave those out if you prefer. It also has a decent amount of garlic, don’t (ever) skimp on garlic y’all!

I hope you love this delicious and flavor-packed Italian ground lamb pilaf! I’m really excited to hear what you guys think of this recipe so leave me a comment here on the blog to let me know!

instant pot ground lamb pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes and basil

Ground Lamb Pilaf with Sundried Tomatoes and Basil

instant pot ground lamb pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes and basil

Ground Lamb Pilaf with Sundried Tomatoes and Basil

4.5 from 6 reviews
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Cuisine Italian


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb or another ground meat
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 Serrano pepper minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoon cayenne optional adjust to taste
  • 1 cup rice soaked for 5-10 mins in cold water
  • 1 cup water

Add later:

  • ½ cup of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil drained and chopped
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil leaves approx 5 ounces


  • Press the sauté button, add the oil and allow the pot to heat up for a minute. Then add the ground lamb, onion, serrano pepper, garlic to the pot. Cook until the lamb is no longer pink.
  • Add the paprika, salt, black pepper and cayenne and mix well.
  • Add the drained rice and 1 cup of water to the pot and mix well.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 6 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
  • Stir in the sundried tomatoes and fresh basil. Once the tomatoes are warmed through and the basil wilts, serve.


  • typically sun-dried tomatoes have salt in them which is why my recipe calls for a bit less salt than usual (¾ teaspoon instead of 1 teaspoon). You may need to add a bit more salt at the end to taste.
Keyword instant pot, pilaf, pressure cooker
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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instant pot ground lamb pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes and basil
instant pot ground lamb pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes and basil

okay just one more pic… yum!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Becky Peterson says

    5 stars
    YUM!!! This dish was savory and wonderful- a great addition to my lamb possibilities! I read the reviews beforehand, so added salt in step 1. I oven-baked grape tomatoes I had on hand as a swap for sun-dried. Subbed red pepper flakes for Serrano and omitted cayenne, again going with what I had available. My only caution to readers is to consider putting the rice-soaking step as step 1. I added a few more minutes to cook time because my rice did not look done after 5 min soak. (Maybe if I’d soaked it 10 min, I’d have been okay on time?) Regardless, this dish is delish! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  2. Karen says

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! It’s such a favorite in my house I will be making it for New Years Eve2019!! Thank you Ashley!

  3. Stacy says

    2 stars
    I made this last night and was really disappointed, which bummed me out as I’d been looking forward to it for a week. It was greasy, and completely lacking both in flavor and salt. The recipe does mention adding salt “to taste”, but salt should also have been added in when cooking the lamb, onion, and garlic. We added a fair amount of salt after cooking, as well. The serrano and cayenne gave a bit of heat but even then we added quite a bit of Tabasco to give it both the flavor and the acid needed. The sundried tomatoes were a good add, but you needed to have it in every bite for it to really be worth it, IMO and that isn’t really practical.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Stacy, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like it… the recipe calls for adding ¾ teaspoon of salt in step 2 before pressure cooking. You can always add more – however because all brands of sundried tomatoes differ in the amount of salt they use, I tried to take that into account. Hopefully you’ll give another recipe on my blog a try some time and have better results. Also, feel free to chop the tomatoes as finely as you’d like.

  4. LISA K MCCAVE says

    5 stars
    Hi, Ashley ~
    Sorry to reply this way, however I don’t have an e-mail for you. For some reason, I am no longer receiving your updates, although I am still in your system ‘they say’. I miss your recipes and updates. Hope you and your family, and ‘baby’ Tony are well. Thank you. Lisa

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Lisa! I’m so sorry – I actually haven’t sent out a new newsletter in ages – I’m terrible at sending them out to be honest and am overdue! Thank you so much for reaching out to me and reminding me that I need to get that done 🙂 I do update the blog so if you don’t hear from me via email please be sure to check out my blog!

  5. Maneesha says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley! My mother just started a garden in our backyard, and basil is super abundant there and growing like crazy! This was a perfect recipe to showcase our fresh basil, and I love the combination of spices, lamb, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil! Thank you again for another fantastic recipe! And the fact that it can be made in the instant pot makes it even more stellar!

  6. mary greene says

    Ashley!! First of all, I cannot believe that you typed ‘Y’all’…Since I moved to Georgia several years ago it is so nice to see that.
    Many years ago, I lived with two old Italian women. They did not speak much English but they taught me so much about cooking, about growing food plants, and how to preserve food. They would have loved this recipe. I grow lots of herbs and tons of tomatoes and will make this dish now that I am getting a bit more comfortable and confident using the Instant Pot. Thanks for all you do!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Mary! lol!! I’m glad you were happy to see that haha! That sounds like such an amazing experience getting to learn from them! I’m happy to know you like the recipe and that you think they would have liked it too 🙂

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