Overhead view of vegetable biryani topped with onions and herbs in a pot.

Vegan Spiced Rice and Vegetables (Biryani)

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan

This vegetable biryani recipe features basmati rice, potato and a spiced coconut gravy for a flavourful vegan rice dish that’s perfect for a satisfying and comforting meal.



For the Sauce and Vegetables:

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced – divided (225 g) 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (replace with broth or water for an oil-free recipe)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (10 g) 
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced (15 g) 
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (30 g) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam marsala 
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper 
  • 2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced (300 g)
  • 1 stalk celery, washed and diced (60 g)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped (125 g)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and sliced thin (125 g) 
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (180 g) 
  • 2 cups plain unsweetened coconut yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup water 

For the Rice:

  • 3 cups basmati rice, well-rinsed and drained (300 g) 
  • 6 cups water (1500 ml) 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1/4 tsp cardamon 
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp salt 

For Assembly:

  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped


  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees 
  2. In a heavy bottom oven safe  pot with a lid, sauté half of your sliced onions until golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside for later. 
  3. In the same pan over medium heat, add the remaining onions with the garlic, ginger and sliced jalapeños. Cook until translucent and aromatic about 5 minutes, add your spices and continue to cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes ( if the pan is to dry and the spices begin to stick, add a splash of water to loosen them from the bottom of the pot)
  4. Add the remaining vegetables and stir until fully mixed with spices and onions. Add your coconut yogurt and 1/2 cup water, stir together until fully incorporated. Bring to a mild simmer and cover, continue to cook on very low heat covered for 10 minutes. 
  5. While the gravy is cooking start your rice. In a medium saucepan add your rice, water and spices. Bring to a boil and leave to cook uncovered for 6-7 minutes, you want the rice to still have a bit of a “bite” to it. Once rice is about 80% cooked, strain any extra water that may be left in the pot. 
  6. To assemble, remove 50% of your gravy from that heavy bottom pot, spread half of your rice on top of the gravy and top with half of your fresh herbs and fried onions from earlier. Spread the remaining gravy on top of the rice and finish with the remaining rice fresh herbs and onions. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and serve immediately, top with more fresh cilantro and crushed cashews. 


If you do not have an oven safe pot, you can cook stove top over low heat. I would recommend placing a frying pan underneath your stove top pot for the final stage of cooking to avoid any chance of burning.

Storing: Store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 4 days.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 252
  • Sodium: 441 mg
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 7 g

Keywords: vegan biryani, vegetable biryani