Vegetable Breyani

Prep 20 mins

Cooking 30 mins

Serves 4

Lighter and healthier than any meat version, vegetable breyani ticks all the boxes for a belly-pleasing winter meal. We cut the bad fat by not using the traditional ghee, opting instead for just the teeniest bit of good-for-you coconut oil. Breyani, whether meat-based or vegetarian, is normally quite a kerfuffle. That’s not how we roll, so we vastly simplified our recipe too!

What you will need

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1½ Tbsp coconut oil (or any other vegetable oil of your choice)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cups diced carrot
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 extra large potato, diced
  • 2 Tbsp Natural Curry (we used the hot one, opt for medium or mild if preferred)
  • 3 cardamom pods, cracked open with the back of a chef’s knife
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 1½ cups basmati rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Mint leaves
  • 5 cardamom pods, cracked open with the back of a chef’s knife
  • Coriander leaves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Toasted cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp Natural Herbs & Spices Turmeric
  • Fried onion (simply dust very finely sliced onion in a bit of plain flour and shallow fry in vegetable oil until crispy)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • Pomegranate rubies
  • 1½ cups frozen peas


Fry the onion in coconut oil over low heat until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and all the vegetables (except the peas) and fry for five minutes. Add the Natural Herb & Spices Curry, three cardamom pods, the cloves and cinnamon stick and fry for a further minute. Add the water and coconut milk and quarter teaspoon salt. Turn heat real low, cover and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are just cooked.

Next up, soak the basmati rice in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain. Place rice in a saucepan, cover with boiling water, add a quarter teaspoon salt, five cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Cook, without a lid, until the rice is very nearly done, with just a bit of an al dente bite – it takes about 10 minutes. Pour rice into a colander and rinse under cold water.

Once the veggies are cooked there should have just a tiny bit of liquid left in the pot. Add the frozen peas to the veggies. Now spoon the rice on top of the veggies. Mix the turmeric with two tablespoons water and spoon it over one half of the rice (this way you’ll end up with some white rice and some yellow rice in your breyani, a feast for the eyes!)

Place the lid on and cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes – the little bit of liquid left in the veggies will create steam that finishes the cooking of the rice. Use a fork to mix the veggies and rice together and garnish with toppings. Serve with chutney and some plain yoghurt.


Recipe concept & photography by Lizet Hartley.

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at