Quick and Easy Vegetarian Biryani! A fragrant Indian rice and chickpea dish infused with Indian spices – vegan and gluten-free. A quick and easy weeknight meal.
This recipe for Vegetarian Biryani requires only 15 minutes of hands-on-time before it gently simmers on the stove top, relatively hands-free. Biryani, if unfamiliar, is an Indian rice dish that varies greatly from region to region, often made with chicken.
This version is meatless, made with veggies and chickpeas. As it simmers, fragrant Indian spices infuse the house with goodness.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 –2 cups chopped or thinly sliced veggies ( bell pepper, zucchini, or carrots)
- 3 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or one cinnamon stick)
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (or 3 crushed cardamom pods)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups veggie stock
- 2 cups basmati rice, rinsed
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Garnish: 1/4 cup cashews and chopped parsley or cilantro
Serve with Pesto sauce.
- In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring often, until tender and golden, 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium, add your choice of veggies and garlic and ginger, and cook 4-5 minutes. Remove one cup of the mixture and set aside.
- Add spices and bay leaf, and stir one minute, toasting the spices. Add basmati rice, and saute one-minute stirring. Add stock and salt.
- Top with chickpeas, raisins and the cup of veggies you set aside. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then lower heat to low. Cover the pot with a thin dish towel, place the lid over the top of the towel, and bring the four corners of the towel up and over the lid. This will tighten the seal and keep the steam in, allowing the rice to cook more quickly and evenly.
- Simmer on low 20-30 minutes or until the rice has soaked up the liquid. See notes.
- Uncover the Vegetarian Biryani and fluff up with a fork. Top with the toasted cashew and pesto.
Instant or “Quick Cooking” Basmati Rice will not work well here.
Brown basmati rice may require a few more minutes of cooking time. Check package directions for cooking time – each rice is different.
You are welcome to add other veggies to the biryani- here I’ve added thinly sliced sweet peppers. If you want to add chicken to this, make sure to season it well and brown it first before adding to the rice mixture to simmer.