Vegan Indian Biryani

By Alexandra Caspero on March 26, 2018
Flavorful spiced rice with lots of vegetables. Super easy to make at home and SO good.
Serves 6

Vegan Indian Biryani! If you love Indian inspired food- you’ve gotta try this healthy recipe!

I’ve been wanting to make this dish for a while. Vegetable Biryani, BL’s favorite take-out, has been my unicorn recipe for the past few years. It’s the one meal he asks for over and over again and of the 15+ different versions I’ve tried, they all fall slightly short of what we get at our favorite restaurants.

It wasn’t until we ordered another version a few weeks ago that I figured out what I had been doing wrong. My biryani tended to clump together, mostly because I had cooked the vegetables first, then added in the rice and simmered until done. While the flavor was always delicious, it always looked homemade. I could never quite figure out why mine didn’t resemble what we order.

Here’s the trick: cook the rice and the vegetables separately, then add together at the end. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it was an ah-ha moment for me.

Pan Of Vegan Indian Biryani

For perfectly fluffy rice with individual grains, make sure to rinse the rice a few times before adding to the pot. I usually do this in a fine mesh sieve for ease; the excess starches should rinse off fairly easily.

You might need to visit a well-stocked grocery store to grab some of the spices. I know it’s tempting to omit things if you don’t have them, but not for this recipe. I’m a huge fan on Penzey’s spices and they usually have online specials and deals if you don’t have one in your area.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about cooking, it’s that your spices can make or break your dish. While I don’t follow a strict schedule for tossing spices, I do advocate for buying in small batches so they rotate in and our frequently. Quality also matters and I think it’s worth spending a little bit to ensure your spices are fragrant. No use in spending money on other ingredients if you use old spices.

The other bonus of buying spices? You’ll tend to use them more often! I hear this so often from clients; they don’t want to purchase spices just for this one recipe. And, while I completely understand that, once it’s in your spice closet, you are more likely to keep experimenting with it.

However, you can also buy spices in bulk, ensuring that you grab just the small amount that you need. Some Whole Foods have bulk spice bins and our local co-op grocery store does.

Spiced Turmeric Rice Two Bowls Of Indian Biryani

This vegan biryani is such a show stopping dish. It’s gorgeous, studded with pistachios, golden raisins, mint and vegetables.

I don’t know what your plans are for Easter, but if you’re looking for a different type of main dish, I think this would be perfect. My in-laws are coming down this weekend and while I haven’t yet decided what I plan on making, I could see this making the final cut. It’s just so pretty.

Pan Of Indian Biryani

More Indian Inspired Recipes You Will Love:

Slow Cooker Saag Paneer
Slow Cooker Butter Chickpeas
Slow Cooker Vegan Chana Masala
Spicy Coconut Curry Lentils


If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!

Two Bowls Of Indian Biryani

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Two Bowls Of Indian Biryani

Vegan Indian Biryani

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Cuisine: Indian, Vegan, GlutenFree, Vegetarian


Vegan Indian Biryani! If you love Indian food- you’ve gotta try this healthy recipe! Flavorful spiced rice with lots of vegetables. Super easy to make at home and SO good. 

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Cuisine: Indian, Vegan, GlutenFree, Vegetarian
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Cuisine: Indian, Vegan, GlutenFree, Vegetarian


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, divided
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup chopped fresh green beans
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower florets
  • 1 yukon gold potato, small chop
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 carrot, small chop
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Rinse the rice in a bowl or sieve. Don’t skip this step! Rinses the basmati rice first prevents it from clumping as it cooks. 
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the pistachios, turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, 4 cardamom pods, star anise cinnamon and cook, stirring often until toasted and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the rinse rinsed rice and cook another minute until just toasted. Stir in 1 3/4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. 
  3. While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive in a separate large skillet. Add the onion and cook until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, ginger, raisins, remaining coriander seeds, remaining cumin seeds, 4 cardamom pods and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until spices are toasted and fragrant. 
  4. Add in the green beans, cauliflower, peas, potatoes, and carrots along with 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender. You may need to add more water; start with a tablespoon and go from there. 
  5. Add the rice mixture to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt/pepper as needed. Garnish with extra pistachios, cilantro and mint. 

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Vegan And Glutenfree Indian Biryani

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Tasha Snailz
      May 13, 2021 AT 7:09 pm

      Amazing recipe.. i subbed wild rice, presoaked,used celyon cinnamon, added saffron to the rice water, and some crushed red pepper flakes. Also didnt have peas so just put double green beans. I was 100% happy and will definetly make this again.. prob very soon. I mentioned my subs in case anyone was wondering the same thing. It was all just great!Thank you so much for this!

      1. Alex
        May 14, 2021 AT 9:01 am

        Sounds amazing!! Thank you for your feedback, Tasha.

    2. Jo
      October 3, 2020 AT 2:29 am

      Delicious, all the family loved it. Added a bit of hot chilli at the end for we chilli lovers and in future would remove coverings from cardamom rather than whole pods. Thank you, will be making again.

    3. Lloyd Davis
      September 15, 2019 AT 1:07 pm

      I’ve been meaning to try a biryani recipe for years. I stumbled upon yours tonight and thought i’d give it a try. As I was cooking the veg, I started to have doubts but…. IT’S AMAZING! My wife and I loved it, It’s delicate and warming, the individual spices all dance on your tongue in a subtle way. We served it with a nice raita and we are now sitting here stuffed! thank you, thank you, thank you x

      1. Alex
        September 16, 2019 AT 7:22 am

        So glad you liked it! Thanks Lloyd!

    4. Jen
      February 18, 2019 AT 7:35 pm

      Excellent my family loved this!