Easy Vegetable Biryani

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Vegetable Biryani is a bold and flavorful Indian rice dish with bell peppers, peas, carrots and potatoes in a spiced rice dish made with turmeric, garam masala and other warm spices.

We’re working through a list of our favorite Indian recipes including Indian Butter Chicken and Easy Chicken Tikka Masala and it felt only right the next recipe shared would be a biryani dish which is amazing served with Cucumber Raita.

Vegetable Biryani
 Easy Vegetable Biryani

Biryani has always been a recipe I’ve been intimidated to make even though it looks like it would be a recipe that’s easier to make than most Indian dishes. The rice is always so heavily flavored I worry about how long to cook it for and how the final combination of vegetables and rice will cook together so both are perfectly tender and soft at the same time.

When I started cooking with my family friend who is well versed in Indian cooking my first request was chicken biryani (coming soon). We discussed spices, I mentioned I’d only made biryani with a spice packet before, never mixing single spices together to put together that spicy, bold, flavorful rice on my own.

This biryani is easier than most, no whole spices being toasted and ground. No red curry paste or ginger garlic pastes are needed. The resulting flavors are incredibly delicious and addicting.

What to serve with vegetable biryani:

Most Indian recipes work well together, this dish is a bit spicy so a yogurt raita would be great to cool it off a little. Naan would also be a delicious side option as would other vegetarian Indian dishes like saag paneer or vegetable korma.

vegetable biryani

What kind of rice is used in vegetable biryani:

A classic biryani is made using basmati rice. This rice is thinner and longer than a traditional long grain rice.

How do you make biryani rice?

The rice is traditionally made using ghee (clarified butter) along with onions, garlic and ginger. Once cooked vegetables are added in with spices and cooked until the spices bloom. Rice is added along with stock and cooked until fluffy.

Why is biryani rice yellow?

The yellow coloring in the rice comes from the use of turmeric along with other spices. These spices are added into the dish before the uncooked rice is mixed in.

easy indian biryani rice

Tools used in the making of Vegetable Biryani:
Basmati Rice: The perfect rice for the biryani, do not substitute long grain rice.
Cast Iron Dutch Oven: I used to fry in my cast iron skillet, but this dutch oven is perfect for cooking the vegetables and rice, maintaining heat without any hot spots that may burn the food.

Recipe

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Easy Vegetable Biryani Recipe

4.97 from 30 votes
  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Course: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Vegetable Biryani is a bold and flavorful Indian rice dish with bell peppers, peas, carrots and potatoes in a spiced rice dish made with turmeric, garam masala and other warm spices.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or ghee if available
  • 1 yellow onion cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 1 roma tomato minced finely
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • carrot sliced into thin coins
  • 2 russet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced
  • 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups basmati rice rinsed and drained

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.

  3. Stir in garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water.
  4. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

  5. Add in the peas, carrot, potato, bell pepper, celery and cauliflower and stir well.
  6. Add in the salt, cayenne, black pepper, garam masala, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon, stirring well.
  7. Add in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  8. Rinse basmati rice.

  9. Add in the basmati rice, reduce to low heat and cook (covered) for 18-20 minutes.

  10. Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for five minutes before opening and serving.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 6 Servings, Amount per serving: 393 calories, Calories: 393g, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1435mg, Potassium: 605mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 2380g, Vitamin C: 37g, Calcium: 54g, Iron: 1.8g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Easy Vegetable Biryani
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Vegetable Biryani with peas, potatoes and cauliflower
Easy Vegetable Biryani

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Comments

  1. Hi, Thank you for sharing the recipe. Would love to try this out. I have few clarifications – following ingredients are mentioned – coriander, cumin, cinnamon and black pepper. Are we to use whole spices or are we using powder in this recipe.

  2. Wow this was fantastic and so easy. Definately will do it again.
    How long can I keep the leftover in the fridge? I made a bit too much 😉
    Had some the day after and it was so good. Thank you for this fab recipe

    1. Made this tonight. The family loved it. I doubled the whole recipe and it’s almost finished between 4. Lol
      Recommend taking the time to chop everything before you start.

  3. Delicious! My husband and I loved it! We didn’t have any cauliflower, so I added extra of the other veggies. We ate it with over-easy fried eggs! Yumm!!

      1. Hi,

        I’m planning on making this tomorrow. Could I add toasted cashew nuts to it?
        Also could I just cook the rice separately
        and add it to the mix?

        1. If you want to add toasted cashews, I would just add them right before serving. You cook cook the rice separately but it get so much flavor from it all cooking together (and less dishes to clean up) that I’ve always made it together. Enjoy!

  4. So easy and so good! It adapts easily to what veggies I have on hand. Love the spice combo, very flavorful. I kept the quantity of veggies the same and halved the rice and the broth, to save calories, and still found it to be very satisfying.

  5. Absolutely delicious!!! Only changes I made was that I added fresh green beans and used low sodium chicken broth instead of veggie broth and this Biryani was fabulous! Family of 4 (including 2 picky teens) ate their fill and have loads of leftovers for the coming week. This recipe definitely goes into the favorite recipe file! BRAVO!!

  6. I have made this several times. It is a little labor intensive the 1st time you make it but gets easier with practice & this recipe makes a lot so you can have leftovers.
    Love this!

  7. Hi Sabrina!
    I tried this recipe, and enjoyed the taste.
    The only challenge I had the rice turned kind of sticky.
    I made half the portion, and adjusted accordingly, therefore
    I am not to sure where I went wrong

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the dish. Next time, try rinsing your rice before adding. It might have added too much starch and created the stickiness. Hope this helps!

  8. I made this for the family last night and I don’t care what the kids though, I LOVED IT! It made more than I expected, but it’s even better the next day as leftovers. I’m definitely making this again.

    One question: do you think this would work with brown rice?

    1. Dianna, I made it with brown long-grain rice, and yes timing a little different but it was delicious. Making it again tonight.

  9. Great recipe, thank you. I made some substitutions based on preference and what I had in the pantry – long-grain brown rice instead of basmati, broccoli instead of cauliflower, no celery or peppers, used a few mushrooms… but oh my goodness this was really really good. I’m learning to cook (at the age of 50), much to my husband’s delight, and this one is going to be a keeper.

    1. I haven’t tested one yet but I’m sure you could find a recipe online with similar ingredients and use that as a guideline.

  10. Made this tonight and we are hooked! The whole house smells delicious, too. Forgot to bring the cayenne, so used a few pinches of red pepper flakes with no problems. Will likely switch one of the potatoes for another carrot and a bit more cauliflower next time. I thought I hated cauliflower until I made this! Thank you for a simple and perfect recipe.

  11. This is the best dish I’ve ever made! So glad to have leftovers for the week! I made this exactly as written abc it was wonderful & comforting & delicious!

  12. CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THIS — BUT, I REALLY DON’T LIKE CAULIFLOWER CAN I LEAVE IT OUT?, OR SUBSTITUTE SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD? WHAT ABOUT THE BELL PEPPER — IT DOESN’T LIKE ME…I REALIZE THE FLAVOR WILL CHANGE A LITTLE BUT WILL IT REALLY MAKE THAT BIG A DIFFERENCE? THANKS FOR THE HELP…

  13. Can this be made ahead of time and frozen? Also I’m looking for other good vegetarian recipes that can be made the day before or freeze well. Thanks!

  14. Not enough seasoning for me and we added homemade liquid saffron. I liked it with an extra teaspoon and a half ish of garam masala!

  15. I made this recipe today and it was absolutely delicious and quick and easy to make. I am not longer intimidated by this dish.

  16. We don’t usually eat curry or spicy food, but I was looking for something to go with tandoori chicken and stumbled across this recipe. It is delicious, I was really surprised as it’s not my usual sort of food, but I really enjoyed it. It was easy to make, clear instructions and all ingredients readily available. My daughter loves it so much she wants it for lunch tomorrow!

    1. Hi there, so I added mushroom to this along with the other veggies and it’s been on low for 25 mins, but still really liquidyyy

      What am I doing wrong?

  17. I loved that there were SO many vegetables. Loved that part! And they all worked together well. The spices were in proportion and a nice blend. Very tasty. Great way to get veggies into kids… they were well disguised with the rice and color of the spices. Though, were I to do it again, I’d probably change the proportion of vegetables to rice. It was a bit rice heavy for my taste, but we are a produce heavy family. It definitely needed one more Roma tomato, no matter what.
    Overall, it was missing something. A depth. A fat, maybe. I eat a lot of vegetarian meals, and this one just needed something. maybe more ghee would work, but — and I hate to say this — it almost needed meat. I’ll have to play with it. The kids loved it, so its worth some time and attention to perfect to our family’s tastes.
    Thank you so much for the veggie-full meal!

  18. question- could i use frozen vegetables for this? and would there be any different steps to make sure it still comes out good?

  19. I am planning to make this tomorrow. Can I substitute zucchini chunks for the cauliflower? Or will they be too mushy by the time the rice is cooked? I have cauliflower in another dish I am serving and didn’t want to repeat the veg. Thanks!

    1. So sorry I’m just now seeing this. It got caught in my spam filter. Zucchni would work as long as it’s roasted or sauteed before adding. Doing so will eliminate most of the water content so it doesn’t become mushy. Hope this helps!

  20. Hi, Sabrina! I have a quick question: can I make the mix beforehand and then the rice the day of and assemble? I’m having a sleepover and don’t want to bother my guest with a ton of cooking as I know she’ll be wanting to help in the kitchen!

      1. Lots of lovely veggies and spices, although too spicy for me so I’d leave the cayenne out next time.
        I had a lot of liquid left in the pan after cooking for 18 minutes covered. I’m not sure if I’ve incorrectly translated cup measurements into millimetres/grams (UK fluid/weight measurements) or done something else wrong.
        Any advice would be appreciated.

        1. Hmm, first thought is because of the conversions. It can also get more liquid from frozen or super juicy veggies that release liquid when cooking. You might try cooking a few more minutes covered and let rest for an extra minute or two next time. Hope this helps!

  21. An Indian-born blind friend is hospitalized, and needs to be rescued from that culinary milieu. She’s very fond of biryani dishes, so the time is at hand to find some good recipes and move biryani into my home repertoire (then bring some to Pallavi if she’s not been discharged). This is a very good recipe and quite easy to make; it was especially nice to make it at a time when the vegetables were ready in our garden. I might use tamarind soup base next time (rather than a general-purpose vegetable base), to see if the flavor is a bit brighter. I think it may also work well to do the long simmer in my large rice cooker (so that it turns itself off automatically). I did add a pinch of fennel when I made it; I’ll probably add a pinch of saffron next time. A nice feature of this recipe is that it’s straightforward enough that minor tweaks to “customize” it are not daunting.

  22. I love all the vegetables but would like to cut the rice amount in half since there are only 2 of us as home. Apart from cutting the vegetable broth amount in half as well, should I half anything else? Do you think this would negatively impact the recipe? Thank you!

    1. I haven’t tested it but I think you should be fine. You can always adjust the the serving size in the recipe card too to help. Enjoy!

  23. Made this last night after searching the internet and finding all kinds of biryani recipes. This was delicious and simple! Thank you!

      1. Conguera, There is a very specific texture the long grain rice adds to the recipe, along with the amount of moisture added.

        While I am in agreement you can normally swap them, in this case it just won’t work the same.

    1. My whole family (including picky kids) absolutely love this recipe! And I gotta say, it’s better than any Biryani I ever had at an Indian restaurant! YUM! Thanks so much.