Easy Gluten-Free and Vegan Vegetable Rice Biryani

Vegetable rice Biryani with almonds and raisins
Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images
  • 30 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 3-4 servings
Ratings (8)

This homemade Indian rice biryani recipe is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. Featuring green peas, slivered almonds, and raisins, this dish is spiced with fragrant cumin seeds, ginger, and peppercorns. For the most authentic recipe, choose basmati rice.

In India, rice biryani (sometimes spelled "biriyani" or "biriani") is often prepared with meat, but vegetarian versions aren't atypical. If you prefer more vegetables in your Indian rice biryani, pile it high with steamed cauliflower, trimmed green beans, tomatoes, or even chickpeas for a bit of protein. Steamed potatoes are another common ingredient in vegetable biryani recipes. Instead of almonds, you could try adding cashews. For a more exotic flavor, substitute the raisins for currants. 

What You'll Need

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (for a more traditional Indian and non-vegan version, 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

  1. 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.
  2. Heat onions. Toast spices for about 2 minutes, until fragrant and seeds are crackling.
  3. Add 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 to 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.