Simple Indian Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner

Simple Indian Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner: Palak paneer, chana masala, jeera rice, aloo gobi, dal makhani, paneer butter masala, vegetable biryani, stuffed paratha, upma, rajma masala.

10 Easy Indian Vegetarian Dinner Ideas

Craving a flavorful and satisfying vegetarian meal without the long prep time? Look no further than the vibrant world of Indian cuisine! From creamy curries to fragrant rice dishes, Indian vegetarian food offers a kaleidoscope of textures and tastes that will tantalize your palate.

1. Palak Paneer

This classic dish of tender paneer cubes swimming in a rich, emerald spinach gravy is a true crowd-pleaser. The earthy spinach blends beautifully with warming spices like cumin, coriander, and garam masala, while the paneer adds a delightful textural contrast. Serve it with fluffy naan or roti for a comforting and flavorful meal.

Ingredients:

    • 500g fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
    • 250g paneer, cubed and pan-fried to a golden crisp
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 inch ginger, grated
    • 1 green chili, chopped (adjust to your spice preference)
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • 1/2 cup water (or vegetable broth)
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
    • Salt to taste
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
    • Red chili flakes, for garnish (optional)

Method:

    1. Blanch the spinach: In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the spinach for 1-2 minutes. Drain and immediately immerse in cold water to retain its vibrant color. Squeeze out excess water and blend into a smooth puree.
    2. Sauté the aromatics: Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add onion, garlic, and ginger, sauté until softened and fragrant.
    3. Spice it up: Stir in the tomato paste, green chili, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. Cook for a minute, letting the spices bloom.
    4. Spinach time: Pour in the blended spinach puree and water/broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    5. Paneer power: Gently fold in the pan-fried paneer cubes. Simmer for a further 2 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
    6. Creamy dream (optional): For a richer texture, stir in the heavy cream. Heat through without boiling.
    7. Royal touch: Garnish with fresh cilantro and a sprinkle of red chili flakes (optional).

Serve your royal palak paneer with warm naan, roti, or fluffy basmati rice. Every bite is an explosion of fresh spinach, fragrant spices, and melt-in-your-mouth paneer. This dish is sure to become a new favorite in your kitchen!

2. Chana Masala

Calling all chickpea lovers! This hearty and protein-packed dish features chickpeas simmered in a fragrant tomato-based masala. The vibrant spices, including turmeric, chili powder, and ginger, create a symphony of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. Pair it with basmati rice for a complete and satisfying meal.

Ingredients:

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 inch ginger, grated
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to spice preference)
    • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

    1. Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

    2. Stir in ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric, and chili powder. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

    3. Add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until chickpeas are heated through and flavors meld.

    4. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

    5. Serve hot over basmati rice or naan bread, garnished with additional cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

3. Jeera Rice

Spice up your side dish routine with Jeera Rice, a fragrant Indian classic that’s bursting with earthy cumin goodness. This simple yet soul-satisfying dish is the perfect complement to any curry, dal, or grilled protein, and it’s surprisingly easy to make at home. So, ditch the bland boxed rice and embark on a culinary journey with this aromatic adventure!

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
    • 1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 cloves
    • 1 inch cinnamon stick
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Method:

    1. Heat ghee or oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and toast until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    2. Throw in the bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon stick, and cook for an additional 30 seconds, letting the aromatics release their magic.

    3. Add the rinsed basmati rice and stir to coat with the spiced oil. Pour in 1 3/4 cups of water, along with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and fluffy.

    4. Fluff the rice with a fork, garnish with chopped cilantro (if using), and serve hot.

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Tips:

    • For a richer flavor, use ghee instead of vegetable oil.
    • Feel free to adjust the amount of cumin seeds to your preference.
    • Add a chopped green chili for a touch of heat.
    • Leftover Jeera Rice makes a delicious and healthy lunchbox addition.

4. Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi, a symphony of potatoes and cauliflower in a vibrant dance of Indian spices, isn’t just a dish; it’s an experience. Tender florets and golden potato chunks embrace a warm masala hug, their contrasting textures a delightful surprise in every bite. This vegetarian masterpiece, a staple in kitchens across the Indian subcontinent, is as vibrant as it is versatile.

Ingredients:

    • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
    • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 inch ginger, grated
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
    • 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • Salt to taste
    • Oil for cooking

Method:

    1. Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
    2. Toss in onions, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until fragrant.
    3. Add potatoes and cauliflower. Fry until lightly browned.
    4. Stir in spices, tomatoes, and salt. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.
    5. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice or naan.

Tips:

    • Add peas or green beans for extra veggies.
    • Make it vegan by using coconut milk instead of tomatoes.
    • Adjust spice level to your preference.

5. Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani, the star of Punjabi cuisine, isn’t just a lentil dish; it’s an experience. Black urad dal and plump kidney beans simmer in a luxurious tomato-onion gravy, infused with warming spices and kissed with cream. Each spoonful unveils a symphony of textures – velvety smooth dal meets al dente beans, while pops of fresh cilantro add a vibrant counterpoint.

Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup whole black urad dal, rinsed and soaked for 4 hours
    • 1/4 cup kidney beans, rinsed and soaked for 4 hours
    • 2 tbsp ghee
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 inch ginger, grated
    • 1 green chili, chopped (optional)
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • Salt to taste
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Method:

    1. Simmer the Soul: Drain and rinse lentils and beans. In a pressure cooker, heat ghee over medium heat. Sauté onion until softened, then add garlic, ginger, and green chili (if using). Cook for a minute until fragrant.

    2. Spice Up the Symphony: Stir in cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. Cook for 30 seconds until spices bloom. Add tomatoes and water, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

    3. Let the Dal Dream: Add lentils and beans, stir well, and close the pressure cooker lid. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally.

    4. Creamy Canvas: Open the cooker and mash some of the lentils against the sides to thicken the gravy. Stir in cream and salt to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes to blend flavors.

    5. Cilantro Celebration: Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rice, naan, or your favorite bread.

Dive into the creamy comfort of Dal Makhani! This recipe is:

    • Easy to follow: Perfect for beginner cooks!
    • Flavorful and versatile: Adjust spices to your preference.
    • Healthy and satisfying: Packed with protein and fiber.

So, whip up a batch of Dal Makhani and let the warm embrace of this Punjabi wonder fill your kitchen and your heart.

6. Paneer Butter Masala

Craving a vibrant, flavorful journey for your taste buds? Look no further than paneer butter masala, a crown jewel of Indian cuisine. This dish tantalizes with its rich tomato gravy, melt-in-your-mouth paneer cubes, and a symphony of warming spices.

Ingredients:

    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 inch ginger, grated
    • 1 kg (2.2 lbs) ripe tomatoes, chopped
    • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 30 minutes
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to spice preference)
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
    • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
    • Salt to taste
    • 200 g (7 oz) paneer, cubed
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
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Preparation:

    1. Heat oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

    2. Stir in garlic and ginger, cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

    3. Add chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes soften and release their juices.

    4. Blend the tomato mixture with soaked cashews until smooth.

    5. Return the puree to the pan and add turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

    6. Add paneer cubes and simmer for 5 minutes, or until heated through.

    7. Stir in heavy cream (optional) for a richer texture.

    8. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with naan, rice, or your favorite Indian bread.

Tips:

    • For a smoky flavor, add a whole star anise or cloves to the pan while simmering the tomato sauce.
    • Adjust the spice level to your preference.
    • Use homemade paneer for the most authentic taste and texture.
    • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

7. Vegetable Biryani

Fragrant rice layered with an assortment of vegetables and aromatic spices, vegetable biryani is a showstopper of a dish. It’s perfect for special occasions or when you want to impress your guests.

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 1 inch ginger, grated
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 green chili, chopped (optional)
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, potatoes, cauliflower, green beans)
    • 1 cup water or vegetable broth
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    • Salt to taste

Method:

    1. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

    2. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and green chili (if using) and cook for another minute until fragrant.

    3. Add the turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, until the spices become fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    4. Add the bay leaf, vegetables, and water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

    5. Stir in the rice and cilantro. Season with salt to taste.

    6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and fluffy.

    7. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. Enjoy this vibrant vegetable biryani hot, garnished with additional cilantro or a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

8. Stuffed Paratha

Flaky flatbreads stuffed with spiced potatoes, paneer, or even vegetables, stuffed parathas are a delicious and convenient meal option. They’re portable, filling, and can be easily customized to your preferences.

Ingredients:

    • For the dough:
      • 2 cups whole wheat flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 cup water
      • 1 tablespoon oil
    • For the stuffing:
      • 2 potatoes, boiled and mashed
      • 1/2 cup grated carrots
      • 1/2 cup chopped green beans
      • 1/4 cup chopped peas
      • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
      • 1 green chili, finely chopped (optional)
      • 1/2 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
      • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
      • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
      • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
      • Salt to taste
      • Oil for cooking

Instructions:

    1. Make the dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the water and oil. Mix until a dough forms. Knead for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
    2. Make the stuffing: In a pan, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute.
    3. Add the potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, and green chili (if using). Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.
    4. Add the coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, and red chili powder (if using). Stir well and cook for another minute.
    5. Season with salt to taste. Remove from heat and let the stuffing cool slightly.
    6. Assemble the parathas: Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll each part into a circle about 5-6 inches in diameter.
    7. Place a spoonful of the stuffing in the center of each circle. Fold the dough over the filling to form a half-moon shape. Seal the edges by pressing with your fingers.
    8. Heat a tawa or griddle over medium heat. Brush with oil.
    9. Place the parathas on the tawa and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
    10. Serve hot with chutney, raita, or pickle.
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Tips:

    • You can use any vegetables you like for the stuffing. Some other options include cauliflower, spinach, and corn.
    • If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water.
    • The parathas can be kept warm in a roti box or wrapped in a clean kitchen towel.
    • You can also freeze the parathas for later. Simply cook them as directed, then let them cool completely. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or heat them in a microwave on high for 1-2 minutes.

9. Upma

Upma, the soul-warming South Indian breakfast porridge, is more than just a quick and easy meal. It’s a blank canvas for culinary creativity, a symphony of textures and flavors that awakens your taste buds with every bite. Today, we’ll ditch the boxed stuff and whip up a homemade upma masterpiece in just 5 simple steps!

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup semolina (rava)
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup chopped green beans
    • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
    • 1/4 cup chopped peas
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 1/4 teaspoon urad dal
    • 1/4 teaspoon chana dal
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
    • 1 green chili, chopped (optional)
    • 1 sprig curry leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 2 cups water
    • Salt to taste
    • Cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

Method:

    1. Dry Roast the Rava: Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the semolina and dry roast for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant and nutty. Set aside.

    2. Tempering Time: Heat oil in the same pan. Add mustard seeds, urad dal, and chana dal. Let them splutter and turn golden brown. Throw in the curry leaves, ginger, and green chili (if using). Sauté for a minute until fragrant.

    3. Veggie Parade: Add the chopped onion, green beans, carrots, and peas. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened.

    4. Spiciness Unleashed: Stir in the turmeric powder and salt. Give it a quick mix.

    5. Upma Magic: Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Slowly add the roasted rava, stirring continuously to prevent lumps. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until the rava is cooked through and the upma is thickened.

Garnish and Serve: Fluff the upma with a fork and garnish with cilantro leaves (optional). Serve hot with a dollop of coconut chutney and sambar for a truly South Indian breakfast experience.

10. Rajma Masala

Kidney beans take center stage in this rich and flavorful curry. Rajma masala is a protein powerhouse, perfect for vegans and vegetarians alike. The hearty beans are simmered in a spiced tomato gravy, creating a dish that’s both comforting and nutritious.

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
    • 1 green chili, chopped (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
    • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
    • Salt to taste
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Method:

    1. Drain and rinse the soaked beans. In a pressure cooker, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Stir in ginger-garlic paste and green chili (if using).
    2. Add cumin, turmeric, red chili powder, and coriander powder. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
    3. Stir in tomatoes with their juices and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
    4. Add drained beans and pressure cook for 20-25 minutes or until beans are tender.
    5. Let pressure release naturally. Stir in garam masala and salt. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice or naan.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to adjust the spice level to your preference. Most Indian dishes can be easily customized to suit your taste buds. So go ahead, experiment, and discover your new favorite vegetarian dinner!

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