Easy Vegan Vegetable Rice Biryani (Gluten-free)

Vegetable rice Biryani with almonds and raisins
Vegetable rice Biryani with almonds and raisins photo by Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images
  • 30 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 3-4 servings
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An easy and simple vegan vegetable rice biryani recipe. This homemade Indian rice biryani recipe calls for green peas, slivered almonds and raisins and is spiced with fragrant cumin seeds, ginger and peppercorns. For the most authentic recipe, choose basmati rice instead of whatever regular style of rice you usually grab at the grocery store. 

In India, rice biryani, sometimes spelled "biriyani" or "biriani", is often prepared with meat, but vegetarian versions such as this one are often common.  If you prefer more vegetables in your Indian rice biryani, pile it high with steamed cauliflower, trimmed green beans, tomatoes or even chickpeas if you want to add a bit of protein. Steamed potatoes are another common ingredient in vegetable biryani recipes. Instead of almonds you could also try adding in cashews, which are also a common variant to add in to Indian rice biryani recipes, and, for a bit more exotic flavor, try substituting the raisins for currants. 

This vegan rice biryani recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.

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What You'll Need

  • 2 tbsp olive oil (for a more traditional Indian and non-vegan version, you can use ghee)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped small
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 3-4 whole peppercorns (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup rice (basmati rice is traditional in an Indian biryani recipe)
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2-3 Tbsp raisins
  • 1-2 Tbsp slivered almonds

How to Make It

In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. After a minute or two, add the whole cumin seeds, whole peppercorns, turmeric, ginger and coriander, toasting just for a minute or two, and being careful not to burn.

Heat onions. Toast spices for about 2 minutes, until fragrant and seeds are crackling.

Add in the rice and the water or the vegetable broth. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce the heat to bring it to a slow simmer and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.

Turn off the heat and add the thawed green peas, stirring to combine, then, stir in the raisins and almonds. 

As with many Indian food recipes, this one is completely salt-free. With the amount of delicious Indian spices, you're not likely to miss the salt, but if you're used to heavily salted foods, you might want to add just a pinch for flavor.

Enjoy your vegan biryani!

Here's a few more vegetarian and vegan Indian food recipes to try: