Vegetable Biryani Rice is a bold, spiced, flavorful basmati rice dish baked with healthy, roasted vegetables. This Indian inspired vegetarian recipe is great as a side dish, a light dinner, or a filling lunch!
Easy Homemade Veg Biryani
A lot of the time when I’m making dinner and need a side dish, I’ll just default to a simple serving of rice. It could be white rice, brown rice, quinoa, etc… if it’s fast, I’m here for it! Quick and easy is the name of the game on weeknights. That said, when I have time to spare, I like to make something a little more flavorful and developed. That’s where Vegetable Biryani Rice comes in. It’s an Indian rice-based dish with vegetables mixed in, and it’s out-of-this-world delicious. Admittedly, I love it for its flavor-packed qualities, but also because I’m a big fan of Indian cuisine. Roasted potatoes, cauliflower, and onion are mixed in with curry-seasoned rice and green beans and then all of it is baked until tender, and garnished with tangy lemon juice. Does that not sound mouthwateringly good?
Make it for dinner, lunch, as a side dish, or even breakfast, if you must. It doesn’t matter to me, so long as you get in on this goodness!
What is Biryani Rice?
Biryani is a traditional Indian dish made with meat, rice, and several Indian spices. Vegetable biryani, as you probably guessed, excludes the meat and is instead made up of curry-seasoned basmati rice and vegetables. I like to use potatoes, cauliflower, and green beans in mine but feel free to make it your own with other vegetable substitutions.
Ingredients For Biryani Rice
Let’s go over exactly what you’ll need to start on this veg biryani recipe. Here are all of the essentials to line up on your countertop:
- Vegetable Oil: This is to heat and roast the vegetables in.
- Vegetables: I used cauliflower (broken into very small florets), potatoes (peeled and cubed), yellow onion (sliced), and trimmed green beans (halved).
- Seasoning: There’s a lot for this recipe! Combine salt and pepper (to taste), curry paste (or curry powder), a pinch of saffron strands (this is optional, but I highly recommend it), and ground mustard.
- Vegetable Broth: This should be hot when added.
- Red Chilli Pepper: Seeded and finely chopped.
- Rice: Basmati rice is what is traditionally used for this recipe.
- Lemon Juice: For added tangy flavor.
- Garnish: I like to use chopped fresh cilantro for garnish.
- Cashews: Chopped roasted cashew nuts are optional, but a super delicious and crunchy addition!
How to Make Biryani Rice
It may sound like a complicated dish, but vegetable biryani rice is totally within your grasp because I’ve made it a wee bit easier for us to prepare it. Yes, it will take you a minute to prep: chopping vegetables, heating the vegetable broth, arranging the baking dish, etc., but then, you’ll combine the spices and stir in the rice, and the rest of the time is baking time. Easy peasy!
- Preheat the Oven to 400˚F: Then, pour the oil into a roasting pan, or ovenproof dish, and put in the oven for a several minutes to heat up.
- Add the Vegetables: Add cauliflower florets, cubed potatoes, and onions to the pan, stirring to coat them in the hot oil. Season veggies with salt and pepper and return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until beginning to brown.
- Combine the Spices: While the vegetables are roasting, stir together the heated vegetable broth, curry paste, chopped, chilli, saffron, and ground mustard.
- Add the Rice and Green Beans: Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the rice and green beans with the rest of the vegetables in the pan; then, pour over the vegetable broth mixture.
- Lower the Oven to 375˚F: Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 30-ish minutes.
- Stir in the Lemon Juice: Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly. Top with cilantro and cashew nuts.
Tips for Success
Big picture, making vegetable biryani is actually not that much more complicated than making a serving of rice. Because, if you’re making a pot of rice, you’ve most likely got some steamed/roasted veggies to go on the side as well, or a salad. But, if you make veg biryani, you just incorporate the veggies with the rice. It’s like making two sides at the same time!
- How to Know When the Rice is Done: 30 minutes should be enough time, but the cooking time can vary depending on the oven. So, bake until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. When that has happened, the dish is ready to be removed from the oven.
- Veggie Chopping Tips: Try to keep the potato cubes the same size, and on the small side – that way they’ll all cook through. Similarly, with the cauliflower, keep the florets big enough that they’ll still have some crisp to them, but small enough that they’re still bite-size.
- Rinse the Rice: Before you start this recipe, make sure to rinse and drain the basmati rice. This will get rid of extra starch that could make the rice sticky, otherwise. (Also, long grain basmati rice is best, if possible.)
- Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh cilantro and fresh vegetables (as opposed to frozen) work best flavor-wise and texture-wise in this recipe.
Serving Suggestions for Biryani Rice
What goes with vegetable biryani rice? It goes pretty well with grilled and baked meats, this curry yogurt marinated chicken, especially, but you can also make veg biryani the star at dinnertime.
- Naan: I love to serve biryani rice with some chewy naan, especially if I’ve got some of my Easy Two Ingredient Naan Bread lying around!
- Raita: Similar to taratur yogurt sauce, raita is a great addition to vegetable biryani to counter the spicy flavors. If you want to make your own taratur, try the yogurt sauce from this Chicken Skewers recipe. It’s not exactly the same as raita, but it works.
- Salad: If you want to keep it easy and healthy, just make a big cucumber salad recipe to go with your vegetable biryani. You can even throw in some of the roasted veggies to keep the flavors interesting.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Biryani rice tastes best on the day it’s made. However, you can save leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
- When you want to reheat them, add everything to a skillet over low heat and cook until warmed through.
- Once it has cooled entirely, freeze your veg biryani in an airtight container for a month or so. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Vegetable Biryani Rice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 ½ cups hot vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste, (or 3 teaspoons curry powder)
- 1 small red chilli pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- a generous pinch of saffron strands, optional, but recommended
- 3 teaspoons ground mustard
- 2 ¾ cups basmati rice
- 1 cup green beans, trimmed, halved
- juice of 2 lemons
- fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
- roasted cashew nuts, chopped, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
- Pour the oil into a roasting pan, or ovenproof dish, and put in the oven for about 5 to 8 minutes to heat it up.
- Remove pan from oven and add the cauliflower florets, cubed potatoes, and onions to the pan, stirring to coat them with the hot oil.
- Season veggies with salt and pepper and return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until beginning to brown.
- While the vegetables are roasting, stir together the hot vegetable broth, curry paste, chopped chilli, saffron, and ground mustard.
- Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the rice and green beans with the rest of the vegetables; then, pour over the vegetable broth mixture. Stir well to combine.
- Lower the oven to 375˚F.
- Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
- Stir in the lemon juice. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.
- Top with cilantro and cashew nuts.
- Serve with naan and a bowl of raita.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.