Vegetable Biryani

Serves 4 Preparation Time 20 Minutes Cooking Time 30 Minutes

The weather is still decidedly chilly and will be for a few months yet. We need food to warm our bellies. Also after the splurge of the festive season, it is good to have a meal that is low in calories but also loaded with ingredients that are good for us.

I love the flavour of curries but not the fiery heat. Biryani is perfect for me as it contains a gentle heat and a heady flavour of spices that bring your taste buds alive.

Feel free to add the vegetables of your choice or even some Quorn chunks or Iceland’s No Chick strips for extra bulk. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, some coriander, a spoonful of mango chutney and some warm pitta bread.


  • 2 1/2 medium white onions
  • 2 red and 1 orange pepper roasted or a large bottle of roasted peppers in brine, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp lazy ginger paste
  • 3 small cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of dried red chilli
  • 375g dried basmati rice
  • 200g chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 head of a large cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1 small courgette
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 baby aubergines roasted (optional)
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 700ml boiling water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes, check if gluten-free if need to be
  • A handful of fresh coriander and vegan yoghurt to serve


  1. If you are using fresh peppers, cut them into thick strips and place on a non-stick baking sheet along with the cut-up aubergines if using, spray with oil. Cook for 20 minutes at 200C. If using a jar rinse and drain them first.
  2. In a food processor place the garlic, ginger, half of the peppers and 1 medium onion roughly chopped. Blitz to a smooth paste and set aside.

3. In a large deep pan add a tsp of oil and lightly cook the onion for about 5 minutes. Add the blitzed paste, spices and chilli and fry for a few minutes to cook the spices.

4. Add the dry rice and incorporate with the spices and paste making sure the grains are well coated.

5. Then add the chopped tomatoes, stock cubes, tomato puree and the remaining peppers along with the cauliflower, courgette and sweet potato.

6. Pour in the boiling water and bring to the boil, then place a tight-fitting lid on and simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes.

7. Remove from the heat and add the peas and roasted aubergine, place the lid on and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

8. While this is standing, slice the 1/2 an onion into thin half-moons and fry with spray oil until golden and sprinkle on top of the biryani along with the cashew nuts.

PS: If you like this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my facebook page I love seeing your versions of my recipes. Or I would love to hear your comments

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