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.

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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

4.94 from 15 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

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

About the Author

Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

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Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Dinner Recipes Indian Food Recipe Sides Vegetarian Worldly Foods

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Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.