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!

vegan biryani on a large decorative plate.

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.
  • Chickpeas
  • 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
  • Water
ingredients for vegan biryani in individual glass bowls.

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.

Vegetables and spices in a large black pot.

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.

Cooking vegan biryani in a large black pot.

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!

Cooked vegan biryani in a large black pot.

Serving suggestions

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.

If you’re pairing it on the side of a vegan Indian-inspired takeout night, be sure to make my red lentil dahl, tikka masala, or roasted curried cauliflower recipes as well. 

close up on vegan biryani on a large decorative plate.

Want more vegan Indian-inspired recipes?

close up on vegan biryani on a large decorative plate.
5 stars (8 ratings)

Easy Vegan Biryani

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!
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 
 

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

Vegetables

  • 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

Spices

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  1. 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 8 servings | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1007mg | Potassium: 324mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1677IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian-inspired
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. This is so good, and easy! But how spicy should it be? I’ve made it twice and found it too spicy but maybe my taste buds are changing!

    1. So glad you like it, Katie! The cayenne can add some heat, but it shouldn’t be too spicy. Feel free to reduce the amount to 1/8 teaspoon or omit it if it’s still too hot 🙂

  2. Tasty, I’m sure I’ll make this again in variations, thanks! ?

    I noticed that you mention cinnamon in the longer text, but it’s not included in the recipe, maybe a mistake? 

    1. Thanks for catching that! Yes, there should be cinnamon listed in the ingredients, I have added it now. Glad you enjoyed the recipe, thank you!

  3. Is there a way to make this without cooking the rice with it? I understand that the rice will be more flavorful if cooked together, but I’m trying to use up some brown rice I have, which takes much longer to cook.

    1. Sure, you can cook the rice in the broth in a separate pot on the stove instead of cooking it with the rest of the ingredients.

  4. Delicious! Just made this for the 2nd time. It was delicious the first time, but even better this time!! This time I used fresh (orange) cauliflower, fresh broccoli and frozen peas. ? Luckily, we have leftovers.

    Thanks, Nora, for all of your delicious recipes. Your website is frequently my first go to for new recipes, and recipes I want to make again.

    1. Hi Ann. Thank you for using my recipes! I’m so glad you are loving them! Thanks for your wonderful feedback! Happy cooking!

  5. Great Flavors!!!  Being curry lovers I added approx 1-2 T of curry & omitted the coriander (not my fave).   we could taste all the delicious flavors of this regional recipe.  ALL 7 adult family members  – vegan & otherwise – recommended I make this a ‘Go To” recipe.  

    1. Hi Barbie. Thanks for your wonderful feedback! I’m glad the biryani was a hit with your family, and will be one of your go to recipes! Happy cooking!

  6. Omg! That Biryani Rice was the best. My girlfriend is from India and makes that for me all the time.I have to say your recipe was equally as good as hers and hers is wonderful. I love that you share all of your wonderful recipes with the public.I have said this before to you …You have a talent for creating quilt free food that tastes wonderful..I am a fan for life..Thank you 

    1. Hi Diana. Your feedback is wonderful, and means a lot to me. It is encouraging to know that you love my recipes! I love creating and sharing easy and delicious recipes! Thank you for sharing your feedback and review!

  7. Yasssss! Yet another win from Nora! This will be in the dinner rotation from now on. Perfectly seasoned. Delicious and nutritious. Easy, and you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. (I had mushrooms, asparagus and cauliflower in mine.) Those raisins were the most delicious little surprise. I’ve never put them in a savory recipe before, and now I know what I’ve been missing!

    1. Hi Jen. Thank you for your wonderful feedback! Your vegetables in your biryani sound delicious! I’m so glad you loved the recipe!

    1. I am so thrilled you love the recipe! Thank you for your feedback, and for using my recipes! Happy cooking!

  8. As wonderful and delicious as all of your recipes have been!!! ??
    Thank you sooo much !

  9. This looks SO YUMMY! I want to make it this weekend.

    Both the recipe and the plate itself are beautiful. ALL your photos are gorgeous, Nora.

    THANK YOU so much for inspiring me (sadly, I’m not an intuitive cook) to make some of my favorite restaurant dishes and flavors with such healthy, colorful ingredients.

    1. Hi Terre. Thank you for your kind encouragement! I just love creating easy and delicious recipes, and taking pictures of them! Isn’t the color of these foods just delicious! I know you will enjoy the biryani! Thank you for sharing such positivity!

    2. It tastes as yummy as it looks. Trust me. You must make this. Bonus: it looks just as pretty at home as it does on the website.

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