vegan biryani

vegan biryani

The other day, I realized that I hadn’t shared a vegan recipe here since May! I haven’t routinely kept a vegetarian diet in quite a while, but skipping meat has always been kind of my default, so I can’t believe it’s been so long since I shared one of my favorite vegan recipes with you guys.

So whether you’re strictly vegan or just looking for some “meatless Monday” inspiration, I hope you enjoy this vegan biryani. It’s inspired by my cousin Maryam’s chicken biryani, but I use a sheet pan roasting method, which turns it into way more of a weeknight staple than a special occasion showstopper. Some of you might notice how different this is from classic South Asian versions of biryani, and while the answer as to “why” is a bit complicated, the main difference is in the technique, with Iraqi/Assyrian/Armenian/Persian biryanis tending to have more roasted/fried flavors, rather than more melded, blended flavors. In either case, the idea of layering is key (whether layering flavors or layering ingredients).

To veganize it, I use chickpeas instead of chicken, a simple substitution that’s as easy as swapping out a few letters. Since it’s a bit on the carby side, it goes particularly great with a big heap of garlicky sautéed greens.

vegan biryani
vegan biryani
vegan biryani
vegan biryani
vegan biryani
vegan biryani
vegan biryani
vegan biryani

vegan biryani

serves 5 or 6 as a main, or more as a side
total time: 40 minutes
active time: 25 minutes
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PDF to print

for the rice

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (20g)

  • 2 teaspoons of spice mix (below)

  • 1 1/4 cups basmati rice (215g), rinsed until the water runs clear

  • 1 2/3 cups water (390g)

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 

for the roasted veggies

  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons spice mix (below)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (25g)

  • Salt, to taste

  • 2 medium gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch  wedges (400g)

  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced (115g)

  • 1 14-oz can chickpeas (400g), rinsed and strained

  • 1 cup frozen peas (120g)

  • 1/4 cup raisins (either black raisins or sultanas) (40g)

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or almonds (30g)

  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F convection (245°C).

  2. Once you have all the above ingredients prepped, start the rice. Place the 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s heated for a couple minutes, add the 2 teaspoons of spice mix, and stir together for 1 minute to temper.

  3. Add the rice and stir to evenly coat it in the oil/spices. Add the water and salt, give it another stir, and increase heat to high. Once it comes to a boil, cover, and immediately reduce to low. Set a timer for 14 minutes, and leave it covered on low heat while it cooks (no peeking, and definitely no stirring). Once 14 minutes have passed, remove from heat and leave the lid on. Let it rest covered for at least 15 minutes (up to 30). Once it’s ready, fluff it before plating.

  4. While the rice is cooking, get the veggies going: combine the 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons of spice mix with the 2 tablespoons olive oil, and about 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste). Place the potatoes, onions, chickpeas, and peas on a sheet pan, and pour the spice mix over them. Use your hands to evenly coat everything in the spice mix.

  5. Roast for about 20 minutes total, until the potatoes are done and everything is golden brown. About 2 minutes before the veggies are ready to come out of the oven, coat the raisins and pine nuts in a tiny bit of oil, and sprinkle them on the veggies to let them roast for just a couple minutes.

  6. Fluff the rice, place on a serving plate, and top with the roasted veggies.

biryani spice blend

  • 1 tablespoon paprika (7g)

  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder (7g)

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (2g, or less if you don’t like spice)

  1. Combine, then divide into 2 teaspoons (4g) for the rice and 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons (12g) for the veggies.

vegan biryani

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tahini and apricot green goddess salad

tahini and apricot green goddess salad

When I was a little kid, my mom grew nasturtiums, and my sister and I used to pick and eat them right from the ground to freak out the other neighborhood kids. Nowadays, I don’t often buy edible flowers, because they’re a bit of an expensive habit if you don’t grow them yourself. But a couple weeks ago, my friend Mai gave me a bunch of chive blossoms from her garden, which made me feel like I was back in my parents’ backyard, with a little patch of nasturtiums and no regard for the effort it took to get them growing there. This time, I used Mai’s chive blossoms for a much better purpose than a practical joke—this tahini and apricot green goddess salad! You certainly don’t need your own chive blossoms to make this salad special, but if you’ve got them growing right now, throw them in. The dressing itself is super delicious and adaptable—feel free to increase the amount of tahini a smidge, but I just love this particular balance.

tahini and apricot green goddess salad
tahini and apricot green goddess salad
tahini and apricot green goddess salad
tahini and apricot green goddess salad

tahini and apricot green goddess salad

serves 6
total time: 20 minutes
download a PDF to print

  • 1 small clove garlic (3g)

  • 1 medium bunch chives (30g)

  • 1 small bunch basil, leaves only (30g leaves)

  • 1/2 cup sour cream (115g)

  • 2 tablespoons mayo (30g)

  • 2 tablespoons tahini (30g)

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (45g)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 6oz bag spinach (170g bag)

  • 3 large apricots (315g) (can sub peaches or nectarines)

  • 6 small tomatoes (230g)

  • 3 Persian cucumbers (215)

  • 1 14-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and strained (400g can)

  • optional: a few minced chives and/or chive blossoms for garnish

  1. Place the garlic in a food processor fitted with the blade (or in a blender), and pulse to finely mince. Add the chives, basil, and sour cream, and blend until the sour cream turns green and the chives and basil are completely puréed. Add the mayo, tahini, lemon juice, and salt, and continue to blend until combined.

  2. Place the spinach in a large salad bowl. Slightly toss with some of the dressing. Top with the apricots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and chickpeas. Top with more dressing, and garnish with chive blossoms.

To make ahead: The dressing can be made for guests up to a day ahead of time (and keeps really well leftover for a few days). All the veggies can be prepped ahead of time, and everything tossed together at the last minute. If you’re slicing the apricots ahead of time, coat them in a little bit of lemon juice to keep them from oxidizing.

tahini and apricot green goddess salad

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