Dinner time has rolled around again, but right now you’re looking for something a little bit different than the same old, same old. If you’ve been itching to try out some new Indian vegetarian recipes, we’ve got you covered.
Vegetarian Indian dishes are very unique, especially in regards to flavor and sometimes when it comes to the presentation as many main courses are served in thick creams and sauces. As such, some people who’ve never tried Indian food may be a little scared to dive in.
But, we promise once you do, there’s an Indian specialty designed for every palette.
The majority of Indian dishes contain bold flavors such as pepper, cumin, and tamarind. Not only do these flavors create a truly unique and beautiful dish, but the flavors don’t really overlap with one another. Instead, they work together to create something totally new.
If you’re in the market for some new, fresh flavors to try, we highly recommend checking out these recipes listed below.
Tikka Masala is one of the most popular dishes in Indian culture – and a lot of that has to do with the minced fresh ginger. Ginger spice is bold and a little bit spicy, so it gives the rest of this dish a little heat.
The secret ingredient, though, is actually a few scoops of plain Greek yogurt since it helps thicken up the spicy, aromatic sauce. Of course, if you don’t have plain Greek yogurt, you can swap it out for a little bit of sour cream to achieve the same level of consistency.
Out of all the Indian vegetarian food recipes out there, this is one that always ranks high on our list.
Curry is another traditional Indian staple, and with one bite, you’ll easily understand why it remains so popular. Believe it or not, the secret ingredient is a cinnamon stick.
While maybe it’s not too far-fetched considering how common it is to incorporate bold spices in Indian cuisine, the incorporation of a cinnamon stick might not be at the top of everyone’s radar of things to add.
If you don’t have a cinnamon stick, you could swap it out with some cinnamon seasoning instead.
The addition of cinnamon just adds a little bit more flavor and is designed to elevate the flavors of the other ingredients.
This is also known as Indian dumplings! I think we can all agree that dumplings taste good no matter what part of the world they hail from, and this recipe is certainly no exception.
Since this is a vegetarian recipe, the secret ingredient is tofu to replace the meat usually found in the center of the dumpling. Of course, you can use this recipe as the basis for a meat-filled recipe and swap the tofu out for pork or beef.
However, if you’re looking to keep the meal vegetarian, try swapping the coconut milk out for soy milk instead.
Are you looking for an easy introduction to Indian cuisine? If so, we highly recommend this recipe.
Featuring rice, peas, peppers, and potatoes, this recipe is not only easy to make, but it’s easy to eat, too.
The secret ingredient is vegetable broth since it not only helps thicken the rice sauce but gives the basmati rice a little bit more moisture and flavor. If you don’t have vegetable broth, you can swap it out with a little bit of soy sauce.
5. Jeera Aloo
Sure, this recipe is fun to say but it’s also fun to eat. Best of all, it’s really simple and quick to make, too. The secret ingredient in this vegan Indian food recipe is lemon juice to give it a little pop of flavor.
While there’s no minimum amount required to add, you can always swap it out for a little white wine or even lime juice as an alternative. Likewise, if you want, you could swap out the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes or butternut squash if you prefer.
The possibilities are truly endless!
6. Matar Paneer
The secret ingredient in this North Indian curry dish is a little bit of light cream. Since this helps thicken up the curry sauce, it’s the secret ingredient you can’t forgo when opting to make this recipe.
However, if you don’t have light cream, you can swap it out for a little bit of heavy cream or even half and half instead. If you’re looking to make it even healthier, try swapping it out for some coconut milk, too.
This is one tasty recipe that everyone at the table will love.
It’s a cold, wintry night. Are you looking for something warm and comforting to eat? Try this tasty recipe for red lentil dahl.
The secret ingredient is coconut oil since it’s a healthier alternative to regular cooking oil. That being said, though, you could use traditional cooking oil if you prefer. However, if you’re looking to swap out any of the ingredients in this recipe, we recommend swapping out red lentils for yellow lentils.
Sure, these will take a bit longer to cook but they tend to hold up better than green lentils.
When it comes to Indian vegetarian dishes, nothing is as good as a spicy and exotic plate of vegetarian korma. Not only is it gluten-free (which is a huge plus), it’s chock full of flavor thanks to the variety of vegetables and spices used.
One secret ingredient is jalapeno pepper. It’s not the kind of pepper you’d think of including in a traditional Indian recipe, but oh boy, does it give this dish a festive kick.
If you don’t have a jalapeno pepper but still want a little spice, you could swap it out for a poblano pepper. Or, if you want it milder, just stick to the bell peppers that are already part of this recipe.
Do you have an Instapot? If you’re looking for something new to try with it, check out this recipe for inspiration. The secret ingredient is white vinegar, which is known to improve the flavor of countless recipes – including this one!
If you don’t have white vinegar, you could swap it out with either lime juice, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar. This will alter the flavor a little bit, but not enough to completely transform the basic flavors of the dish.
If you want to spice things up a little bit more, try adding white wine instead.
If you’re a soup connoisseur, then we recommend going out of your comfort zone for the next recipe. This curry vegetable soup is not only spicy but it’s easy to make and tastes great.
The secret ingredient is a can of coconut milk, as it not only makes the broth creamier, but it adds a bright, refreshing flavor to the otherwise dense and heavy flavors.
If you don’t have coconut milk handy, feel free to swap it out for milk, cashew cream, sour cream, or even some plain Greek yogurt. Just make sure it’s plain though; the last thing you’d want is to add a key lime yogurt to your soup accidentally.
11. Papdi Chaat
This is the perfect meal to have a chat over! (Pun intended, of course). This Indian dish was first popularized as street food, but trust us when we say that it’ll taste just as good at your kitchen table.
Chickpeas are the secret ingredient. While they’re not a totally secret ingredient considering how common they are in Indian-based dishes, they add a little bit of crunch and much-needed texture.
If you’re looking to swap out something, try swapping out the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
12. Bhindi Masala
Another masala dish that is certainly worth the hype! The secret ingredient can be found in the name of this recipe: bhindi okra. This is okra that’s cooked in a base of spicy flavors such as onions, ground spices, and tomatoes.
The recipe also calls for the use of amchur, which is a dried mango powder, but if you don’t have any, you can go ahead and swap it out for some tamarind paste instead.
Out of all the Indian vegetable dishes available, this is one that’s packed with a unique flavor.
13. Aloo Chaat
Just like Papdi Chaat, Aloo Chaat is another popular Indian street food that’s chock full of bold and interesting flavors thanks to the various herbs and spices that are used.
While it’s an optional ingredient, we highly recommend pomegranate arils as the secret ingredient. Yes, these little seeds from inside the pomegranate fruit can be time-consuming to remove, but they not only look great as a garnish, but they are so full of sweet and sour flavor.
Trust us, you’ll be glad you took the time to remove them.
Are you looking for something quick and simple to make for dinner that your whole family will love? If so, look no further than this recipe.
Easy Indian vegetarian recipes like this one are so full of flavor. In this recipe specifically, the bold and unique flavor stems from the use of cucumber and mint.
While it’s hard to choose just one secret ingredient, we’ve got to go with the mint as it’s just so robust and unexpected.
Peppermint extract or cilantro are good alternatives to mint if necessary, but if you can get your hands on mint, it’s definitely preferred.
Traditional Tikka Masala is made with chicken, but if you’re looking to put a vegetarian spin on a tried and true classic, did you know you can use cauliflower instead?
Cauliflower is commonly used as an alternative to chicken because it offers a similar texture and it can be coated with pretty much anything that traditional chicken can.
That’s why it ranks as our secret ingredient. If you don’t have cauliflower or hate the taste of it, don’t worry. You can swap it out with tofu instead.
16. Punjabi Samosa
Samosas are a staple in Indian culture and one bite and you’ll understand why. The secret ingredient includes ajwain seeds, which are a fruit commonly used in Indian cooking.
While sometimes referred to as carom seeds, ajwain seeds taste similarly to thyme and are a little bitter. As to be expected, they add a little bit of crunch and boldness to an otherwise heavy recipe.
If you’re out of these seeds, you can also swap them for a little more cumin than the recipe calls for or dried tarragon. However, for the closest taste, we recommend swapping them out for caraway seeds.
Curry and easy: aka my two favorite words! There are almost too many good ingredients here to mention, but one of our favorites is the ginger garlic paste. I guess this is why it makes our list of the top-secret ingredients to use!
Ginger is not only a common ingredient in Indian dishes, but the combination with garlic just elevates it to the next level.
Packed with flavor and easy to make, this curry is perfect for tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch, and every meal after that for the next week (we don’t make the rules, it’s just so good it’s how often you’ll want to eat it).
Sure, the name of this recipe may be a mouthful but it’s full of a flavor combination you can’t ignore. This fragrant recipe is delicious and one of the secret ingredients that helps make it that way is garam masala.
Garam masala has a sharper, stronger flavor than a lot of the other spices used in this recipe. However, if you’re looking for something to replace it with, we highly recommend mixing equal parts cumin with allspice to achieve a similar flavor.
This complex spice is so vital to many vegetarian Indian recipes.
Are you looking for a low-carb soup to serve for family dinner night this Sunday? How about this one for mulligatawny soup? What is mulligatawny soup, you ask? It’s a fancy name for a soup that’s seasoned with curry.
The secret ingredients, believe it or not, are apples. While it’s probably the LAST thing you’d ever expect to be inside a soup, it adds just the right amount of tartness and crunch that compliments the other rich flavors of the soup.
If you don’t have apples, you could swap them out for pears but keep in mind that it’ll alter the flavors a little bit.
Who here agrees that mangoes are an underrated fruit? If you’re looking for a new way to repurpose them, we recommend this recipe for chutney.
The secret ingredients are the mangoes themselves, as they offer a crisp, refreshing flavor that pairs really well with other ingredients in this dish like red chili flakes and cinnamon. If you don’t have mango, you could get a similar flavor by using either oranges or peaches instead.
If you’re looking for simple Indian vegetarian recipes for dinner, this one is sure to delight everyone at the table.
21. Easy Vegan Naan
If you’ve never tried naan before, the closest thing it could be described as is the Indian equivalent of pita bread. The consistency is relatively the same, but naan (in my opinion) is so much better.
The secret ingredient in this vegan version of naan is avocado oil since this is what helps keep it vegan. If you need to swap it out for something else, you could swap the avocado oil out with either coconut oil or grapeseed oil.
Sprinkle a little cilantro on top and you have the perfect side serving of delicious naan.
22. Aloo Paratha
A lot of these recipes included on this list have been for dinner, but who says you can’t enjoy a breakfast staple for dinner? That’s where this delicious recipe comes in.
The secret ingredient isn’t so much there for flavor, but for accurately roasting the dough and potatoes: ghee! If you don’t have ghee, you can swap it out for regular oil. Likewise, you can swap the white butter out for some plain yogurt.
There are many ways to customize this dish, but one thing’s for certain: it’s a tasty treat that’s good enough to serve for breakfast and dinner.
23. Aloo Puri
What makes this dish so special is the fact that it’s deep-fried, which is unlike a lot of other ingredients mentioned on this list. All of the ingredients work really well together, so it’s hard to choose just one secret ingredient.
But, if we have to, then we have to give it to the coriander leaves since it gives a nice refreshing flavor to the dish, and adds some much-needed color.
While the recipe calls for whole wheat flour, you can swap it out for regular flour if you need to. This recipe tastes great whether it’s served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Are you looking for an introductory dish to Indian cuisine? This could be the recipe for you. The secret ingredients are the split peas.
While there isn’t too much difference between green and yellow split peas, the yellow ones tend to be a bit more earthy, which is why they work so well when paired with other traditional Indian herbs and spices.
Of course, if necessary, you can swap them out for green peas. There really won’t be too much difference, either way, so feel free to swap them out.
25. Rava Pongal
This is another breakfast recipe, but like we previously mentioned, breakfast tastes even better when eaten after 5:00 pm. Asafoetida is the secret ingredient. Ever heard of this? That’s okay! This is a type of dried sap, sometimes called gum resin.
While it has a pretty bitter taste, it actually works out really well in Indian dishes because of how well it works out with all the other strong flavors. If you don’t have this, you can swap it out for a little bit of onion powder and garlic powder.
Many Indian vegetarian dinner recipes call for the use of asafoetida because of its strong flavor profile.
26. Masoor Dal
This simple Indian-based recipe is so easy to make that it’ll quickly be added to your weekly dinner rotations.
Lemon juice is the secret ingredient as it offers a crisp, refreshing but also a slightly sweet flavor that balances out the bold flavors of the other ingredients such as chopped coriander, turmeric powder, and red chili powder.
Just like many other recipes, you can swap lemon juice out for lime juice or white wine vinegar. Get creative and make this unique recipe your own.
27. Oats Uttapam
This is one dish that’s super tasty but also very Instagrammable!
Served as both a breakfast food and snack to enjoy on the go, the secret ingredient in this dish is quick-cooking oats (or oatmeal).
If you don’t have rolled oats, you could use brown rice, chia seeds, or even quinoa. This recipe is very easy to make and contains a lot of bold, unusual ingredients that you wouldn’t normally pair together – like rolled oats and onions – but somehow it just works.
28. Aloo Gobi
This quick, refreshing meal is made from simple ingredients such as spiced potatoes and cauliflower.
The cauliflower is the meal’s secret ingredient simply because it’s versatile enough to pick up the flavor from any of the spices, but it also has a certain texture and crunch to it that makes it extra special.
If you don’t have cauliflower, you can, of course, swap it out with tofu to keep it vegetarian. This is one dish that everyone who tries it adores — and for good reason, too!
You’re an adult, so go ahead and eat some rice pudding for dinner! This Indian version of rice pudding is so creamy and delicious and a lot of it has to do with the vanilla extract.
Like many puddings out there, the vanilla extract is what makes it taste like a genuine dessert. If you don’t have vanilla extract, you could easily swap it out for almond extract instead.
The pudding will have a stronger flavor, but it’ll be just as delicious.
30. Mango Curry
Curry is such a staple in Indian cuisine and the mango is the perfect addition to this classic recipe. The secret ingredient is apple cider vinegar, which just adds a little bit of extra flavor.
If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you could swap it out with some red wine, or even some white wine vinegar for taste. Likewise, if you don’t want to use mangoes in the curry, why not swap them out for some delicious peaches?
The possibilities are endless.
31. Phirni Recipe
Traditionally served during special occasions, we think just making phirni is a special occasion itself.
The flavors in this recipe are so bold and unique and much of it has to do with pistachios.
Not only are they this recipe’s secret ingredient, but they add extra crunch and a little bit of a minty flavor to them, which really jumps out from all the other ingredients.
You don’t need a special occasion to make this, but if you’re having one, you know what to add to the list.
32. Chana Masala
This is one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on this list and much of it has to do with the cucumber raita, which is the dish’s secret ingredient. Cucumber raita is a type of sauce that’s made out of cucumbers and yogurt.
As you can expect, it’s super refreshing! If you don’t have cucumbers, you could swap them out for some dill pickles. Or, if you don’t have yogurt, try swapping it out for some sour cream.
This recipe tastes great and it’s good for you to boot.
- 4 medium potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds)
- 2 tbsps canola oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1 tbsp minced fresh gingerroot
- Add your potatoes to a pot, add water and bring to a boil. Once the water is at a boil, uncover and cook for about 8-12 minutes.
- In a large pan, go ahead and heat up your oil, ginger, onions, and peppers, and stir until lightly browned. Add turmeric and cook for about a minute longer.
- Simmer the veggie mixture and then add potatoes, along with other spices.
- Cook for another five minutes, stirring as needed. Top with cilantro, then serve.