If there’s one takeout-inspired recipe you have to try, it’s this Easy Vegan Biryani. It’s an ultra-flavorful rice dish made in one pot with vegetables and Indian spices. This simplified version substitutes the effort, but not the flavor!
Quick and easy vegetarian biryani recipe
This virtually hands-off, one-pot Easy Vegan Biryani recipe is a must-try for dinner. It’s a simplified and veganized version of the traditional South Asian dish but is just as fragrant and aromatic as the classic. Make it yourself to find out why it’s one of the most popular takeout dishes!
A more authentic biryani recipe involves multiple steps, resulting in an ultra-flavorful pot of rice mixed with spices, aromatics, and meat. This easy biryani recipe is much more simple. It’s vegan-friendly and made with a medley of frozen and fresh vegetables, Indian spices, and, of course, rice. It all comes together in about 30 minutes, leaving you with a beautiful meal for weeknight dinners or a takeout-inspired feast!
What is biryani?
Biryani is a mixed rice dish from South Asia (it’s very popular throughout Afghanistan, Iran, India, and Pakistan). Although the ingredients and flavors can vary from region to region, most biryani recipes feature rice, spices, aromatics, and meat. The deep layers of flavors and vibrant spices make biryani one of the most popular takeout dishes.
The traditional way of cooking biryani can involve a lot of steps and time, like marinating meat, parboiling rice, browning onions, and preparing saffron-infused milk. This easy vegan biryani (which is far from traditional) skips the extra time, uses simple ingredients, and is easy to prepare in one pot.
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- Basmati rice – Because it just wouldn’t be a biryani recipe without the rice! If you don’t have basmati, you can use another long-grain rice.
- Onion, ginger, and garlic – These aromatics provide the dish with a beautiful baseline of flavor.
- Vegetable medley – You can use fresh or frozen vegetables. I used a mix of carrots, cauliflower, peas, and green beans.
- Potatoes – White or yellow potatoes often make an appearance in biryani but aren’t always included. I used Yukon gold potatoes but Russet or red potatoes would work just as well.
- Raisins – These are optional but add a nice sweetness to each bite.
- Spices – You need garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon. Try not to substitute or omit any of these spices as they’re necessary for the robust and aromatic flavor profile.
- Vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper
How to make easy vegan biryani
Find the complete instructions with measurements, temperatures, and cook times on the recipe card below.
Saute the onion in an oiled skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s soft and translucent, add the ginger and garlic. Pour the water, vegetables, chickpeas, raisins, and spices into the skillet and stir well.
Pour in the vegetable broth and rice. Stir, then bring it up to a boil. Cover with a lid and leave the mixture to cook until the rice is soft and has absorbed all of the liquid.
When it’s ready, take off the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Put the lid back on and let it sit for a few more minutes. Serve the biryani with cilantro and sliced almonds on top, then enjoy!
Vegan raita or vegan naan bread is a must on the side of biryani! Use the bread as a replacement for utensils to scoop up the rice and veggies, and to soak up every last bit of those beautiful flavors.
Want more vegan Indian-inspired recipes?
Easy Vegan Biryani
Onion, ginger and garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced diagonally
- 1 yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped small
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas
- 1/2 cup frozen green beans
- 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup golden or regular raisins, optional
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Broth and rice
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups basmati rice, rinsed well
- First, prepare all your ingredients. Chop all the vegetables, drain the beans and add all spices to a small bowl. This will make cooking a breeze.
- Warm the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until translucent, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add the water and stir so the garlic and ginger don't burn. Add the vegetables, chickpeas and raisins, if using, and stir well.
- Now add the spices, salt and pepper and stir well, coating the vegetables.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and add the rinsed rice. Stir well, bring to a boil, them cover and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the rice is cooked.
- Fluff the rice with a fork, then re cover the pan and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve with chopped cilantro and sliced almonds, if desired. Enjoy! Serve with vegan raita and naan bread.
- Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator, making it perfect for meal prep. It can also be frozen.