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Vegetarian Meals Inspired by India

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photo: Scott Phillips

India has a vast tradition of vegetarian cuisines, so it’s a natural place to turn if you’re trying to add more plant-based meals to your diet. Though these aren’t all authentic dishes, they take their inspiration from the many cuisines of the subcontinent. They’re all filling, delicious and loaded with flavor.

  • Recipe

    Tofu Saag

    A creamy yogurt-spinach sauce surrounds spiced, crisped cubes of tofu in this aromatic, satisfying dish. If you like hot foods, leave the serrano chile seeds in. Serve with rice or naan.

  • Recipe

    Chickpea-Spinach Masala

    This vegetarian stew is fragrant with warm Indian spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Mashing the chickpeas gives it a thicker texture. Serve with basmati rice or naan.

  • Recipe

    Lentils with Garam Masala, Coconut, and Pomegranate Seeds

    Like a soup or stew, Indian dal features a delicious broth, as does this flavorful, creamy vegetarian take. Studded with jewel-like pomegranate seeds, this dish should be paired with raita (cucumber yogurt sauce) and naan bread for the most authentic dinner. Be sure to add the salt later in the cooking process so the lentils have a chance to soften.

  • Recipe

    South Indian-Style Vegetable Curry Recipe

    This easy one-pot meatless main gets its complex flavor from a combination of spices including coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and cinnamon. The spices marry in a rich, flavorful sauce that has a comforting, belly-warming appeal.  Read Ellie Krieger's blog post to learn more about the healing power of spices and how this recipe came together. Slideshows: Browse more One-Pot Meals and 30-Minute Vegetarian Dinners.

  • Recipe

    Bangladeshi-Style Kitchri

    Kitchri (also known as khichuri or kitcheree) is a homey, comforting, lightly spiced rice and lentil dish originally from India. The lentils—or dal—tend to melt into the rice, thickening the dish and adding wonderful earthy flavor. You can substitute yellow split peas for the lentils, if you like.

  • Recipe

    New Year’s Black-Eyed Pea Curry

    Throughout the Southern states of America, black-eyed peas are served for good luck on New Year’s Day. They’re excellent with stir-fried cabbage—also considered a good-luck food, since it supposedly represents folded currency—and rice, of course (in the South, this dish would be called Hoppin’ John). In India, my family’s recipe for rongee, Hindi for “black-eyed peas,” is just as tasty.

  • Recipe

    Spicy Red Lentil Dal with Winter Vegetables

    Dal—a thick, spicy Indian stew made with legumes like chickpeas and lentils—is a classic vegetarian dish. It's perfect for nights when you want quick, flavor-packed comfort food.  

  • Recipe

    Eggplant with Fragrant Spices & Herbs (Bhartha)

    This is a delicious way that Indian and Pakistani cooks prepare roasted or grilled eggplant, and it tastes best made a day or two ahead. It's good as a light lunch, served hot or cold with rice pilaf and a bowl of yogurt, or as a side dish with pita triangles. You can even use it in sandwiches. 

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