As someone who tries to follow a plant-based eating plan—and is also dairy-free—trying a new restaurant’s takeout is always a bit stressful. I have to do a careful read of what’s in every dish and ensure that the entree I’m eying doesn’t have heavy cream or butter—definite no-nos for my delicate stomach. But Indian food, I’ve found, always has plenty of delicious options for me.
Sure, some traditional Indian dishes are made with meat and dairy, but there are also many vegan and vegetarian Indian recipes. If you’ve never cooked vegetarian Indian food at home it may sound intimidating, but all your need is your protein (tofu and chickpeas are both popular go-to’s), coconut milk, and some key spices—turmeric, cardamom, coriander, garam masala, and saffron among the most popular. Need some inspiration? Rounded up here are 10 easy vegetarian Indian recipes to get you started.
10 vegetarian Indian recipes to cook at home
The sauce for this rich and creamy curry is made with cashews, which means it’s full of protein before you even add anything to it. But you do add plenty to it, all of which are nutrient-rich: beans, cauliflower, potato, raisins, pomegranates, pineapple, green peas, and carrots. The end result hits on every taste note and texture: savory and sweet, creamy and crunchy.
Get the recipe: Navratan korma
Cauliflower and chickpeas are both loaded with fiber, making them gut-healthy ingredients. But because they both taste pretty bland on their own, they definitely need some spicing up. This recipe does that perfectly, using coriander, turmeric, chili powder, cilantro, mint, and ginger—among other ingredients.
Get the recipe: Gobhi chhole masala
Don’t you love it when you can create an entire protein- and fiber-rich dinner while only dirtying one dish? This one-pot dal is made with cauliflower, sweet potato, lentils, and of course, lots of spices. Watch the video above to see exactly how it’s done.
Get the recipe: Warming vegetable dal
Winter is the time of year when soup cravings hit stronger than for salad, and this recipe provides a delicious way to enjoy your greens while warming your whole body up. Five different types of greens are used: mustard leaves, spinach, radish leaves, fenugreek, and bathua (also known as chenopodium). It also has other veggies too, like onions and tomatoes. Add lentils or tofu for extra protein.
Get the recipe: Sarson ka saag (mustard greens)
While many masala dishes are made with yogurt or cream, this one is completely dairy-free. (In fact, it’s 100 percent vegan.) Chopped tomatoes and green chili make the base while garam masala, turmeric, coriander, and red chili pepper add flavor. There’s also lots of lots of bell pepper in this dish too—a food known for its immunity-supporting benefits. Who doesn’t need more of that in the winter?
Get the recipe: Masala bell pepper curry
With a whopping 17 grams of fiber a cup, millet is definitely worth adding to your pantry. If you’re wondering how to cook it up, give this recipe a try. Here, it’s cooked in the Instant Pot and combined with spinach, coconut milk, yellow corn, and a handful of spices. The end result is a gluten-free grain dish you can pair with any protein.
Get the recipe: Little millet palak corn pulao
If the only experimenting with zucchini you’ve done is making zoodles, it’s time to branch out. Here, the squash is used to make a simple stir-fry that comes together in just 15 minutes. Enjoy it on its own for a side or pair it with rice and dal for a complete meal.
Get the recipe: Zucchini besan sabzi
In this dish, potatoes, green beans, carrots, peas, and tomatoes are served over a cream sauce made with blended cashew nuts, coconut cream, and ginger. Pair it with rice for added texture and even more fiber.
Get the recipe: Creamy vegetable korma
Kofta is a type of meatball dish common in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. This recipe gives them a vegan twist, using potatoes and tofu (and nixing the meat completely) to create the kofta. Spiced up with garam masala and cilantro before being fried up, you’ll be tempted to bite into one before it finds its way to the dairy-free tomato cream sauce.
Get the recipe: Vegan malai kofta
These curry wraps are a good meal for when you need to eat something while working at your computer—and want to avoid getting turmeric all over your keyboard. It has all the flavors of a classic curry but delivers it in wrap form. Potatoes and cauliflower add heartiness and fiber while yogurt (or sour cream, your pick) adds protein and creaminess.
Get the recipe: Vegetarian sub-jee curry wraps
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