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Vegetable Biryani [Vegan]

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Biryani is a traditional Indian rice-based dish that is layered with rice, meat, and vegetables, and seasoned with spices. Here is a vegan version of a traditional dish that is sure to delight all.

Vegetable Biryani [Vegan]

This Recipe is :

Dairy Free Vegan


  • 1 onion, sliced very thin and fried on medium-high heat with 2 tsp oil until quite crispy. Set aside.
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, soaked for about half an hour, then drained
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 cauliflower, separated into  florets
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 small potatoes, cut into a 1-inch dice
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, about 1-inch each
  • 1 recipe tofu yogurt — blend half a block of firm tofu with 1/2 cup soymilk and juice of half a lemon.
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 green chilies, slit down the middle
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup cashewnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • A generous pinch of saffron, soaked in 1/2 cup of warm water for about 30 minutes
  • 1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat 2 cups of water and add to it some salt.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, add the rice. Bring the rice back to a boil, lower the heat, and cook about 4-5 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Be careful not to let the rice stick to the bottom of the saucepan. You want the rice to be mostly — not all the way– cooked. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil.
  4. Add to it the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves and saute for a few seconds. Add the cumin seeds and the ginger-garlic paste and then the veggies– potatoes, carrots and cauliflower florets.
  5. Saute the veggies for about five minutes, stirring frequently, so they take on a golden-brown sheen.
  6. Add 1/2 the recipe of biryani masala (recipe above), the coriander and mint leaves, green chillies, and the tofu yogurt.
  7. Mix well and cover the saucepan. Allow the veggies to cook until they are almost tender. Add salt to taste and take off the fire.
  8. Spray a thin coat of oil in the base of a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Now take half the cooked veggie mixture and spread it in the bottom of the pan.
  9. Pour out half the cooked rice and spread it on top of the veggies.
  10. Sprinkle the cashewnuts and raisins evenly over the rice.
  11. Add another layer of the remaining veggie mixture, and then the remaining rice.
  12. Sprinkle the saffron water on top, cover the pot with a lid, and place in a preheated, 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.
  13. After taking the biryani out of the oven, let it stand, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes.
  14. Serve piping hot!





Vaishali Honawar is a former journalist and the blogger behind Holy Cow! Vegan where she veganizes popular Indian recipes and dishes up food for thought. Vaishali was born in India and now lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. She is a foster volunteer for the city’s animal shelter and she must be doing something right because one of her foster dogs, Freddie, adopted her for a good six years.



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4 comments on “Vegetable Biryani [Vegan]”

Click to add comment
3 Years Ago

Sounds really delicious. How many people does this recipe serve?

Crystal Pang
4 Years Ago

Sunny Bharadwaj

Sarah Barnes
4 Years Ago


Roberta Dunkel
4 Years Ago

Can I sub brown rice - have all the ingredients on hand am anxious to give this a try!!!

Shelley Wolf
4 Years Ago

I love this dish. We eat it often we go to vegan Indian restaurants.


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