Vegan Indian recipes are plentiful because Indian food is just so veg-friendly to start. While vegetarian food in India isn’t necessarily vegan, it can be easily adapted to be vegan. Many Indian restaurants and recipes use ghee (clarified butter), and you can easily use oil in its place.
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It’s so wonderful to be able to travel to India as a vegan and eat so much amazing food at the restaurants there. I recently took a vegan trip to India and I’m seriously missing the incredible vegan Indian meals that I devoured. Thankfully, I’m able to recreate some of these amazing food memories at home in my own kitchen. These are some of the best vegan Indian recipes that you need to make if you’re dreaming about being whisked away to India.
Vegan Indian Recipes: Main Dishes
We’ll start with the entrees – the vegan Indian dishes that are the stars of the show. All of these Indian food recipes can be prepared on their own for dinner, though you might want to add some rice, vegan naan bread, or roti to go with them. Some of these vegan recipes of India are traditional and some are adapted from vegetarian or chicken dishes.
Cauliflower Tikka Masala
I’m a huge fan of cauliflower, so anytime I’m introduced to a cauliflower dish, I’m instantly on board. This cauliflower tikka masala by Vegan Huggs combines this delicious veggie with a spicy sauce and Indian flavors. Serve it with rice and you’ve got a fantastic meal.
Red Lentil Dal
This red lentil dal recipe by Delicious Everyday is creamy and delightful. You can serve it with rice, roti or naan. While it’s a simple and classic vegan Indian meal, red lentil dal can be prepared in under 30 minutes, and it’s super flavorful. This one might be a new staple at your dinner table.
Vegan Butter Chicken
While many Indian meals are naturally vegetarian, one of the most popular Indian dishes is butter chicken. Here’s a fabulous vegan version of butter chicken by The Cheeky Chickpea. It subs in tofu in place of the chicken and keeps that classic creamy sauce similar to the original one.
Chana Masala has always been one of my very favorite vegan Indian recipes. Even though it might seem a little simple, it’s super healthy and full of flavor. With chickpeas as the star of the dish, it also features a spicy tomato sauce with fragrant Indian spices. Make this classic chana masala recipe by Girl with the Iron Cast for dinner tonight.
If you’re looking for classic vegan Indian food, you’ll want to prepare this recipe for masala lentils. The recipe is tested and prepared by Veggie Inspired. You can find this recipe in Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen cookbook, which I listed as one of the 60 best vegan books across all genres and categories.
Vegetable Korma is one of the most popular vegan Indian recipes. It’s really easy to make in your own kitchen, especially if you have an instant pot. Try this Vegetable Korma recipe by Cooking Carnival and serve it with rice or naan/roti. You can also use the vegetables you already have on hand or choose your favorite ones.
Vegan Palak Paneer
Do you love palak paneer, but feel like you’re missing out as a vegan? Here’s a plant-based version of palak paneer that uses tofu in place of the cheese. This vegan palak paneer dish by Instant Veg will wow everyone at the dinner table. The meal combines spinach, ginger, garlic, spices, and tofu in place of the soft cheese. It’s a vegan take on a traditional vegetarian Indian recipe that you need to try.
Eggplant Curry (Bhaingan Bharta)
Want to try a delicious curry that uses eggplant as the main ingredient? This recipe for Bhaingan Bharta, or eggplant curry, by The Roasted Root uses a few simple ingredients like eggplant, tomatoes, peas, onion and ginger. Add some Indian spices and you’re all set!
Dhaba Style Dal Palak
Curry Trail has an amazing recipe for Dhaba style Dal Palak that you need to make. It uses lentils, spinach, and spices with a minimal amount of pantry ingredients. It’s simple to create and it’s a highly nutritious vegan Indian meal. Serve with rice or flatbread, your choice.
Dal Makhani is an Indian one pot dish using beluga lentils, kidney beans, and spices. In fact, this Dal Makhani recipe by Contentedness Cooking uses only six ingredients, including a blend of Indian spices. If you’re looking for a quick and healthy meal this weekend, give this one a shot.
I hadn’t heard of Rajma Masala before writing this article, but it’s one that you’ve gotta make at home. Rajma Masala is a lesser known dish from north India that’s similar to a dal, but features kidney beans as the main ingredient. Try this Rajma Masala dish by Krumpli. It might end up being one of your new favorite vegan Indian recipes!
Punjabi Khichdi is a comforting dish made out of lentils and rice with the consistency of porridge. It’s the kind of food you eat when you’re not feeling well, or if you’re looking for a nutritious and easy to prepare meal. This Punjabi Khichdi recipe by Shweta in the Kitchen is a one pot meal that’s hearty and satisfying.
Maa Chole ki Dal
Maa Chole ki Dal is a traditional Punjabi recipe made from chana dal (yellow gram) and split black urad dal (black lentils). You can serve it with rice, naan or roti. This recipe for Maa Chole ki Dal by Shweta in the Kitchen is one of the best naturally vegan Indian recipes without any modifications needed.
Vegan Recipes of India: Potatoes
Potatoes are among my favorite foods of all time because they’re satisfying, tasty, healthy, and can be prepared in so many different ways. I’ve put these vegan Indian food recipes for potatoes in their own separate category. You can enjoy these as their own main course or serve them as a side dish to any of the entrees listed above.
Jeera aloo is a basic yet delicious vegan Indian food that you can enjoy as a side dish. It’s potatoes with cumin seeds, spices, lemon juice, and coriander. This dish is really quick to make so you can add it on to any meal to complete your feast of vegan Indian food. Try this recipe by Flavours Treat.
Aloo Methi Sabzi
Aloo Methi Sabzi by Masala Chilli uses two essential ingredients: potatoes and fenugreek leaves. Unlike other Indian recipes, there isn’t any onion or garlic, making it a little easier on the stomach. You can serve this flavorful potato dish with roti or naan. Unfortunately, you can’t substitute dried fenugreek leaves in place of the fresh ones, so try your best to find fresh greens if you can.
Aloo Gobi is another one of my favorite vegan Indian recipes of all time. Potatoes and cauliflower are the stars here. I order it frequently at Indian restaurants in Canada, and it tasted just as amazing when I went to India. You can easily make aloo gobi at home with these instructions by Enhance Your Palate.
Have you tried Saag Aloo before? It’s a mixture of potatoes and leafy greens in a fragrant curry sauce. This Saag Aloo recipe by Krumpli is completely plant-based and vegan. Saag refers to leafy greens, so feel free to use your favorite greens in this one, like Swiss chard, mustard greens, kale, or spinach.
Bombay Aloo, or Bombay potatoes is the perfect addition to vegan Indian meals as a side dish. You could also make a really large amount and enjoy these potatoes as the main feature. They’re fragrant, spicy, and delicious. Check out this recipe for Bombay Aloo by Veggie Desserts.
Batata Bhaji is an Indian vegan side dish (sabzi), and this dish by Shweta in the Kitchen is fabulous. It’s very versatile because you can eat it with any kind of flatbread or use it as a filling in parathas and dosas. These potatoes pack a lot of flavor with the various spices, and they’re easy to make at home in your own kitchen.
Indian Vegan Dishes: Dosa
Have you ever had a dosa? I ate them almost every day when I was in India. They’re like thin, flat pancakes, similar to a crepe. They’re typically made from a rice and lentil batter, so they’re naturally gluten-free. There are many kinds of dosas depending on what you stuff inside them. Traditionally, a masala dosa has potatoes, onions, and spices, and there are various chutneys that come with the dosa, too. Here are some dosa recipes that you can try at home.
Brown Rice Dosa
Looking to break into the world of dosa making? Try this classic brown rice dosa by Masala Chilli to start. It’s a traditional crispy dosa that you can serve with various sauces. Usually, dosas are made with white rice, but this one is a little healthier than usual.
Moong Dal Dosa (Pesarattu)
Pesarattu, or Moong Dal Dosa, are crispy crepes made from whole mung beans. This recipe for pesarattu by Veg Recipes of India is naturally vegan and gluten-free. You’ll add some spices and a few toppings like onion and green chilis, and you can eat it with a variety of chutneys.
Adai is a protein rich pancake made out of lentils and rice, along with savory herbs and spices. Pair this adai dosa recipe by Veg Recipes of India with jaggery, tomato chutney, or coconut chutney. You can make adai according to the recipe or ferment the batter from four to seven hours for adai dosa.
A besan chilla, or besan cheela, is a pancake made from gram flour and spices. It’s not the same thing as a dosa, but it fits the closest to this category of food in the blog post. There are also veggies like onions, tomatoes, and green chili peppers cooked into this besan chilla recipe by Veg Recipes of India.
Vegan Indian Recipes for Rice
Rice is a staple in Indian cuisine, and I ate rice with almost every meal in India. We had poha for breakfast daily, which is a flattened kind of rice that’s easier to digest. Here are some Indian rice recipes that you can serve with any of the main course meals listed here.
Vegetable Masala Rice
This vegetable masala rice dish by Flavours Treat is a fantastic one pot meal that’s a breeze to whip up. I suggest serving it with any of the meals featured in this article. You can even eat it on its own!
South Indian Lemon Rice
Who knew that mixing lemon into rice would elevate the meal so much? If you haven’t tried lemon rice yet, this blog post will change everything for you! This south Indian lemon rice recipe by Lathi’s Kitchen has a few other key ingredients that will make this dish a new staple in your kitchen.
Jeera rice is one of the most common staples you’ll find on any Indian restaurant menu. However, making jeera rice over regular white rice really elevates any dish. Add jeera, otherwise known as cumin seeds, to the rice, along with a few other spices. Try this jeera rice dish by Enhance Your Palate. Pair it with any entree in this vegan Indian recipes blog post.
Ever since eating poha for breakfast every day in India, I’m a bit obsessed with the idea of eating rice when I wake up in the morning. I was happy to ditch my boring breakfast bagel or oatmeal for this yummy vegan Indian meal. This recipe for Pradnya’s Breakfast Poha by The Schizo Chef has the tasty addition of pomegranate seeds on top.
Vegan Indian Snacks
Some of my favorite things to eat in India are the snacks! Samosas, pakora, bhaji…they’re all so yummy. I’ll share some other traditional snack recipes that you can eat in place of chips or other salty snacks at home (these are likely a bit healthier, too!).
Vegetable pakoras are one of my very favorite Indian snack foods. I buy them from the grocery store all the time, and never thought about making them myself until now! This vegan pakora recipe by Instant Veg looks like an instant winner, and you’ll likely want to serve them as an appetizer or side dish to all of these vegan Indian recipes.
Along with pakoras, onion bhajis are my other favorite Indian snack food or appetizer. This recipe for onion bhaji by Hint of Helen will guide you through all the steps to make onion bhaji, and it’s not as complicated as you might think! A platter of onion bhaji and vegetable pakoras sounds like a really good idea right now…
Matar Chaat (Green Peas Chaat)
Matar Chaat, or green peas chaat, is a savory Indian treat that you don’t need to feel guilty about snacking on between meals. Chaat is a typical Indian street food that combines lentils, pulses, vegetables and spices. This matar chaat recipe by Blend With Spices uses green peas, onion, tomato and spices for a tasty treat.
Makhana Bhel is a traditional Indian street food snack that features makhana, or fox nuts as the main ingredient. Makhanas are low in calories and fat, and high in protein, potassium, fiber, iron and zinc. You can adjust the spice level of this mix to your liking. Make a huge batch of Makhana Bhel using this recipe by Enhance Your Palate and you don’t need to feel too guilty about having a midday treat.
Have you ever tried peanut chaat? It’s a spicy Indian peanut snack or salad that uses only seven ingredients, and you can make it in five minutes. Try this peanut chaat snack by The Fiery Vegetarian.
This is one of my favorite snacks of all time that are easy to make at home and super nutritious. You can whip up this roasted chickpeas recipe by Healing Tomato in a flash. I didn’t realize that roasted chickpeas has its roots in Indian street food, and was happy to learn that tidbit from the recipe blog post, too.
Have you heard of the Indian snack called khaman dhokla before? I actually didn’t get to try this one when I went to India, but I’m really excited to make it at home. This khaman dhokla recipe by End of the Fork is a light and fluffy snack made out of chickpea flour that’s like a small cake. You can eat it for breakfast or anytime as a treat.
Okay, I realize that mango chutney probably shouldn’t be in the “snack” category, but I didn’t have anywhere else to put it. You could use this mango chutney by Nutriciously with so many of the vegan Indian recipes here. This mango chutney is not only vegan, but it’s also sugar free!
Learn How to Cook Vegan Recipes
Are you learning how to cook? New to veganism and don’t know where to start? It might be a good idea to start with some cooking classes. These ones can be done right from the comfort of your own home…with Veecoco! You can also get 7 days of free access (no credit card required). While Veecoco doesn’t have any Indian specific courses yet, they have tons of vegan cooking classes featuring cuisines from around the world.
Looking for More Vegan Recipes?
Beyond Indian vegan dishes, I’m rounding up plant-based recipes for cuisines all over the world. With so many worldly flavors to discover, you’ll never get bored in the kitchen. You’ll want to take a look at these:
- Vegan Italian Recipes
- Vegan Mexican Recipes
- Thai Vegan Recipes
- Vegan Japanese Recipes
- Vegan Greek Recipes
- German Vegan Recipes
- Vegan Afternoon Tea Recipes