Step into an adventure that will transport you directly to the heart of India. We understand that, your time is precious, whether you're in the tech industry leading a startup or starting a life as an immigrant. That's why we have carefully selected these 10 vegan-friendly recipes bursting with flavor, tradition and quick and easy to prepare.
These recipes provide a scrumptious and cruelty-free way to savor the vibrant flavors of Indian cuisine. They are perfect for those evenings when you crave a homemade meal.
Whether you're a vegan exploring plant-based options or simply yearning for the tastes of your homeland, these recipes will tantalize your palate while fitting seamlessly into your schedule. Let's embark on this flavorful journey together.
10 Vegan-Friendly Indian Recipes
Vegan Dal Makhani
A classic North Indian dish given a vegan twist, this delicious lentil curry is packed with protein and fiber. It's simple to prepare, making it perfect for busy Bay Area professionals who crave a taste of home.
Indian-Spiced Potato Salad
This isn't your average potato salad. Infused with aromatic Indian spices, it's a delightful fusion dish that brings a touch of the exotic to your dinner table.
Mango Chickpea Zucchini Koshimbir Salad
A refreshing salad that combines mango's tropical sweetness with chickpeas' heartiness. It's perfect for a light lunch or as a side dish for dinner.
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Vegan Malai Kofta
Delicious dumplings in a creamy tomato sauce, this vegan version of the famous Indian dish is comfort food at its finest.
A popular vegan Indian dish, chole is a chickpea-based curry that's both satisfying and nutritious.
Moong Chilla – Lentil Pancakes
These protein-packed pancakes are a great way to start your day or as a quick snack between meetings.
High-Protein Roti with Sprouts and Spinach
This dish provides a healthy and filling meal option for those late nights at the office.
Cauliflower Tikka Masala
This creamy vegan gravy recipe made with cauliflower and Indian spices offers a flavorful and comforting meal.
Indian Brown Rice Pudding (Kheer)
A dessert that's not overly sweet but packed with flavor. It's a great way to introduce your colleagues to Indian cuisine.
Sindhi Vegetable Biryani
A one-pot dish full of vegetables, spices, and aromatic basmati rice. It's an easy and satisfying meal for those nights when you want something flavorful but don't have much time.
Transforming Indian Recipes into Vegan Delights
The rich world of Indian cuisine is predominantly vegetarian, making it relatively straightforward to create vegan adaptations. By swapping out a few key ingredients, you can recreate your beloved Indian dishes in a vegan-friendly manner.
Replace Ghee with Vegan Butter or Oil
Ghee, a clarified butter that's a staple in Indian cooking, can easily be replaced with vegan butter for similar results. Some Indian cooks often opt for oil as an alternative to ghee in various recipes.
Swap Meat for Legumes
Legumes, including lentils, chickpeas, beans, and split peas, are central to Indian cuisine and make excellent meat substitutes in curries, dals, soups, and appetizers.
Use Plant-Based Yogurt instead of Cow’s Milk Yogurt
The growing availability of plant-based yogurts makes them an easy substitute in recipes that call for traditional yogurt. A plain, unsweetened plant-based yogurt works wonders for recipes where yogurt is used as a sauce, condiment (like raita), or accompaniment to a spicy dish.
Some trial and error may be necessary for recipes where yogurt is integral (like naan or dhokla) to find the right plant-based alternative. I've found tangy coconut yogurt to be quite effective.
Choose Cashews or Coconut Milk over Cream
When a recipe calls for cream, blending raw cashews to create a 'cashew cream' often works brilliantly. This method provides fantastic results in dishes like Vegan Palak Paneer or Malai Kofta.
Full-fat coconut milk or cream can also be a suitable substitute for milk or cream, as the strong flavors in most Indian dishes help to mask any coconut taste.
If a dessert requires condensed milk, sweetened condensed coconut milk makes a great vegan option.
Replace Honey with Maple Syrup or Agave
For desserts that require honey, consider using agave nectar or maple syrup, which offer similar thickness and sweetness.
Make it More Filling with Bread
Indian cuisine is known for its delicious breads that accompany the main dishes perfectly, adding a whole new dimension to the meal. Here are some vegan-friendly options you can try with your Indian vegan dishes:
Traditional naan is a soft, pillowy flatbread usually made with yogurt and ghee. However, it can be easily veganized by using plant-based yogurt and oil or vegan butter. This versatile bread is perfect for scooping up flavorful curries or sopping leftover sauces.
A crispy, paper-thin fermented crepe made from rice and lentils, dosa is inherently vegan. It's traditionally served with coconut chutney and sambar (a tangy lentil soup), making it a delicious and nutritious addition to any Indian meal.
Also known as chapati, roti is an unleavened bread made from whole wheat flour. It's typically cooked on a tawa (flat griddle) and puffed over an open flame. Vegan-friendly and wholesome, roti is a staple accompaniment to Indian dishes.
Puri is a deep-fried bread that puffs up into a round ball. While traditionally made with ghee, it can be made vegan by using oil instead. Crispy and delicious, puri is often served with potato curry or chana masala, but it's versatile enough to pair with almost any Indian dish.
These breads add a delightful variety of textures to your meal, from the softness of naan and roti to the crispiness of dosa and puri and enhance the flavors of the dishes they're paired with. Adding these traditional Indian breads to your meal will ensure you don't miss out on any aspect of the rich and diverse Indian culinary experience.
The Vegan Indian Experience
Indian cuisine offers a wealth of options for those following a vegan diet. With simple substitutions and a focus on plant-based ingredients, you can enjoy a variety of flavorful, nutritious meals, from hearty lentil curries to vibrant vegetable biryanis. Adding vegan-friendly bread like naan, dosa, roti, and puri further enhances these dishes, providing different textures and flavors that make each meal a unique culinary experience.
No matter what keeps your lifestyle busy, these convenient options will cater to your lifestyle and dietary needs. Enjoy exploring the rich tapestry of Indian cuisine through these vegan-friendly dishes.
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