These Indian classics are naturally vegan! That means you don't have to stress about making it vegan. And the amazing thing about all of this is that these are foods Indians recognize and eat everywhere, everyday!
The most important and well-known parts about Indian food are spices, dals, beans, and veggies. As a result, so much Indian food is either vegan by default, vegan-friendly (can be made vegan), or mostly plant-based.
Here are 28 items to begin with:
Tilgul is a traditional sesame candy coated with sesame seeds. It’s often exchanged on Sankranti, and it provides a great energy boost after consuming!
Besan chilla (or cheela) is a savoury Indian pancake made with besan, onions, and tomatoes. It’s a delicious snack as it is or dipped in sauces like ketchup.
Poha is a flattened rice dish fried lightly with turmeric, curry leaves and peanuts. It makes for a delicious breakfast on any day!
Muthia (or muthiya) is dumpling made from besan (chickpea flour), methi, turmeric, and chilli powder. It’s eaten as a street food or side dish.
Sabudana khichdi (or tapioca pearl) is an Indian dish made from soaked sabudana. It is enjoyed with curry leaves, whole spices, potatoes, and roasted peanuts. Yum!
Dosas are fermented Indian pancakes made from rice and dal. It’s served crispy hot with chutney and sambhar - which are also vegan!
An idli is a type of steamed and fermented rice cake that is often served with vadas and chutney. It can even be roasted! It’s a staple in countless South Indian homes.
A vada is a savoury fried fritter made from fermented dal. It is often stuffed with vegetables or chilis, and is traditionally served with chutney and sambhar.
Chana masala is a North Indian dish made with chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, and spices. It can be served with rice, rotis, chapatis, dosas, or eaten on its own!
A samosa is a deep fried pastry stuffed with a savoury filling, mostly made from potatoes, onions, and peas. It’s simply one of the best things in life, and it’s fully vegan of course!
A pakora is a spicy vegetable fritter that’s made with foods like potatoes, onions, cabbage, or cauliflower.
Chole bhature is a popular North Indian treat that combines chana masala with a bhature, a deep-fried bread made from maida. It’s incredibly delicious, all without the dairy!
Chaat is a broad term of a wide range of street foods that typically have fried dough with a spicy, tangy, sweet, or salty flavour
Puris (or pooris) are a deep fried bread made from whole-wheat flour. They pair nicely with a curry or bhaji for breakfast, dinner, or as a snack!
Chapatis are made from atta (whole-wheat flour) that’s mixed with water, oil, and salt to create a dough. You can eat it with curries or other side dishes
Veg momos and spring rolls are popular street food items, or side dishes at restaurants. Momos are steamed, and spring rolls are fried. Both contain a filling with common ingredients like cabbage, carrots, and onions. They’re both often served with sweet or spicy chutney/dipping sauce.
Aloo tikki (or fried potato patties) are a popular street food made from potatoes and spices that are formed into patties or balls and fried until crispy. Who could say no to an aloo tikki?
Aloo gobhi (alu gobi) is a vegan-friendly dish made with potatoes, cauliflower, and spices.
Gobhi manchurian is a popular Indian Chinese dish made from cauliflower, mixed with a sweet, tangy, and spicy sauce. It’s a great side dish, or on its own!
Dal is a soup-like dish made from slow-simmered pulses (lentils, peas, or beans) with spices. It goes best over rice, with chapatis, dosas, or any other Indian flatbread.
Vegetable biryani is a popular, aromatic rice dish made with basmati rice, mixed veggies, herbs, and a variety of spices. If you’re lucky at a restaurant, you may even find it with tofu or soya chunks!
Bisi bele bath (or bisi bele huliyanna) is a spicy, sweet, and tangy rice dish that doesn’t need dairy to be tasty! It is believed that the dish originated at the Mysore Palace and took 100 years for the recipe to come out and another 200 years to spread across Karnataka!
Sambhar is a dal based vegetable stew that tastes tangy, sweet, and spicy. It goes great with rice, or even as a side to go with dosas. It can be made in at least 100 different ways, without ever needing a drop of dairy.
Chutney is an Indian spread that can be made in a variety of tasty ways. It is usually tempered with curry leaves, whole spices, chilis, peanuts, and so on. You can’t have enough chutney!
Appam is a type of pancake similar to a dosa, as it is fermented rice batter. It’s a little sweet as it is also made with coconut milk. It tastes best with a spicy vegetable stew like sambhar or a curry.
Rajma curry is a thick, spicy gravy made from rajma (red kidney beans) and is usually served with rice.
A mixed veg curry is made with onions, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, peas, and cauliflower among other veggies with a combination of spices. It goes with rice or any Indian flatbread like dosas.
Vegetable pulao is a one-pot rice dish similar to vegetable biryani but is made a bit differently in that the stock used is completely absorbed by the rice, whereas with biryani it is drained.
If you miss certain foods, check out our 100% vegan recipes!