A Vegan’s Guide to Indian Cuisine: Meatless Alternatives to Traditional Dishes

A Vegan's Guide to Indian Cuisine: Meatless Alternatives to Traditional Dishes

Indian cuisine is known for its rich flavors and diverse ingredients, often associate with meat-based dishes. However, with more people opting for plant-based diets, there are many delicious and satisfying vegan options available that can still provide the same authentic taste. In this blog, we’ll explore some meatless alternatives to traditional Indian dishes that vegans can enjoy without sacrificing flavor.

Start with the basics: Daal and Rice

Daal and rice are staple foods in Indian cuisine and are often vegan-friendly. Daal, a lentil-based soup, flavour with a variety of spices like cumin, turmeric, and coriander. Pair it with basmati rice, and you have a satisfying and nutritious meal. Add some vegetables like spinach or tomatoes to the daal to make it more filling and flavorful.

Swap Paneer for Tofu

Paneer is a popular cheese to use in many Indian dishes, but it’s not suitable for vegans. Instead, try using tofu as a substitute. Tofu has a similar texture to paneer and can be marinated and flavored with spices like cumin and chili powder. Use it in dishes like tikka masala or saag paneer, and you won’t miss the dairy.

Also read: Tofu: The Not So Scary Meat Substitute

Experiment with Vegetables

Indian cuisine is full of flavorful vegetables that can be used as meat substitutes. Eggplant, for example, you can cook in a variety of ways and has a meaty texture when roasted or grilled. Cauliflower is another great vegetable to use in dishes like aloo gobi or gobi manchurian, which are typically made with chicken.

Explore Street Food

Indian street food is famous for its bold flavors and spices, and there are many vegan options available. Try dishes like chole bhature, cook with chickpeas, or pav bhaji, a vegetable-based curry served with bread. These dishes are often cheap, quick, and perfect for a casual meal.

Finish with a Sweet Treat

No Indian meal is complete without a sweet treat, and there are many vegan options available. Gulab jamun, a deep-fried doughnut-like dessert soaked in sugar syrup, cook with vegan-friendly ingredients like almond milk and coconut oil. Ras malai, a creamy dessert of paneer, and substitute with tofu or cashew cream.


Indian cuisine has a lot to offer for vegans, and with a little creativity and experimentation, you can enjoy the same authentic flavors without compromising your dietary choices. Start with the basics, swap dairy for tofu, explore new vegetables, try street food, and finish with a sweet treat. These meatless alternatives to traditional Indian dishes will not only satisfy your hunger but also your taste buds.

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Ingredients required
Mustard seeds: 4 tbsp soaked in water
Nigella seeds: ½ tsp
Green chillies: 1-2
Water: as required
Turmeric powder: a pinch
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Hilsa: 4-5 pieces

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2. Season the Hilsa with salt, turmeric and oil. Massage it well using light hands
3. Heat 1-2 Tbsp mustard oil in a wok. As the colour changes, add the seasoned fish to hot oil. Fry the pieces; on each side for 2 mins. Keep them aside
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