Turn to this easy Vegan Biryani recipe for quick weeknight dinners. It’s an aromatic and veggie-packed rice dish that’s ready to eat in 20 minutes!
There are endless ways to describe this Vegan Biryani but my favorites are:
- Just plain delicious
It’s a popular Indian, South Asian, and Middle Eastern rice dish made with a medley of spices, herbs, and vegetables. The traditional recipes require several steps and a long list of ingredients, but my version is much more simplified.
It all comes together in about 20 minutes in just one pot on the stove. Or, for an even more hands-off approach, make your easy vegetable biryani in the Instant Pot or rice cooker instead!
What is biryani?
Biryani is an aromatic, vegetable, and protein-packed rice dish from South Asia. The flavors and ingredients vary from region to region, but almost every recipe features a variety of spices, aromatics, vegetables, and meat.
Every biryani recipe has two things in common: basmati rice and layers of deep, intricate flavors. The more traditional recipes are cooked over a long period of time, but my version is ready in about 20 minutes. You get all of the flavors of the classic without the time and effort.
This is a simple vegetable biryani recipe. It features aromatic rice and a medley of cooked vegetables. If you want, add chickpeas or vegan chicken to this list for extra protein.
- Basmati rice - I recommend using good quality basmati rice, preferably aged and imported from India (not California). I always buy bulk bags from Walmart. It's very affordable.
- Aromatics - Onion, garlic, and fresh ginger.
- Spices - A medley of Indian spices bring warmth and vibrancy to every bite. You’ll need garam masala, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne.
- Vegetables - You can use almost any variety of vegetables you like - fresh or frozen both work. I decided to use potatoes, cauliflower, bell pepper, carrots, and green peas.
- Vegetable broth - Use a good quality broth or bouillon. The rice soaks up the broth as it cooks, which is why it’s important not to use a flavorless broth.
- Raisins - Sultana raisins add more contrast to the golden rice.
- Star anise - This finishing flavor is steamed with the rice at the end.
How to make vegan biryani
Step 1: Prep and soak the rice. Add the rice to a large bowl and cover it with water. Swirl it around, then drain. Repeat this step until the water runs clear. Once it’s ready, soak the clean grains of rice in cold water for 20 minutes.
Note: Always wash your rice! This process removes the excess starch and ensures the cooked rice doesn’t turn out sticky or gummy.
Step 2: Saute the aromatics. Saute the onions in an oiled pot on medium heat until they’re golden brown. Stir in the garlic, ginger, spices, and tomatoes.
Step 3: Add the rest. Now add the broth, vegetables, soaked rice, and the rest of the ingredients. Once it starts boiling, add the star anise on top and cover with a lid.
Step 4: Simmer and steam. Turn down the heat and let the rice simmer for 10 minutes. Once that time is up, take the pot off of the heat and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Do not remove the lid during this time!
Step 5: Fluff and enjoy. Take off the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Remove the star anise, then scoop the rice into bowls. Serve with additional toppings if you want, then enjoy! For full ingredients and instructions see printable recipe card below.
Can you make biryani in the Instant Pot?
Yes, you can definitely make biryani in an Instant Pot. Scroll down to the Notes section in the recipe card below to find out how.
What about a rice cooker?
Yes, it could easily be made in a large rice cooker as well. Just follow the first three steps in the recipe (unless your rice cooker also has a saute function), then dump everything in your rice cooker and cook!
Pair every bowl of biryani with vegan raita on the side. This cooling Indian yogurt sauce is drizzled over the rice, adding a layer of freshness and creaminess. Scoop up every bite with a piece of vegan naan bread and enjoy!
You could also take this vibrant rice dish up a notch with even more toppings, such as:
- Crispy fried onions
- Chopped tomatoes
- Fresh herbs (mint or cilantro)
- Cashews or almonds
- Chutney (Indian mint sauce)
The leftover rice can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing it.
Looking for more Indian-inspired vegan recipes?
These easy recipes will turn everyone into a fan of Indian cuisine:
Enjoy everyone! Happy Day! Please feel free to comment below and give this recipe a rating. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!Print