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  • Makes one 13×9-inch casserole
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A true Indian classic, vegetable biryani is usually made on the stove top, but this simplified version makes for a great baked dish that requires less effort. Fragrant saffron, ginger, and garam masala are infused into chewy brown rice that’s layered between a medley of mixed veggies. Raisins add bursts of sweet flavor while cashews add crunch, and fresh herbs create an aromatic finish that ties everything together. Top the casserole with baked onion to enhance the savory flavors of this exquisite dish and get ready to dig into your new favorite recipe.

For more vegan Indian recipes, check out these tasty ideas:

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • 1¼ cups unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • 8 to 10 strands saffron
  • 1 large onion, cut into ½-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cups assorted green beans, carrots, and bell peppers, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups assorted cauliflower, eggplant, and zucchini, cut into ¾-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 8 cups cooked brown basmati rice
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onion (optional)


  • In a small saucepan warm ½ cup of the milk over low. Add the saffron. Remove from heat.
  • In a large skillet combine diced onion, the garlic, ginger, and ¼ cup milk. Cook over medium 10 minutes or until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in assorted green bean mixture, garam masala, and ¼ cup milk; cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally and adding milk as needed to prevent vegetables from sticking to pan.
  • Stir in tomato paste, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Add assorted cauliflower mixture and remaining ¼ cup milk; cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and mint.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 4 cups of the rice on the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish. Spread half of the vegetable mixture over the rice. Layer 2 cups rice over the vegetables and sprinkle with half of the cashews and raisins. Top with the remaining vegetables and cover with the remaining 2 cups rice. Pour saffron milk over casserole, making sure to distribute the saffron strands evenly over the surface. Sprinkle with the remaining cashews and raisins. Cover casserole with foil or an oven-safe lid.
  • If using, arrange sliced onion on a baking sheet. Place the casserole on the middle rack of the oven and the baking sheet with sliced onion on the top rack. Bake 30 minutes; remove onion. Bake casserole 10 to 15 minutes more or until vegetables are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before uncovering. Top with roasted onion.

Comments (12)

(5 from 5 votes)

Recipe Rating

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This has a lovely subtle combination of Indian flavors. We really enjoyed it, though it took a long time to make. I will be craving this until I make it again.


Do you part cook the rice I'm confused it doesn't say?

Megan Edwards

Hi Cathy, The recipe calls for 8 cups cooked brown rice, so be sure to have that on hand before starting the rest of the dish. When it comes time to bake, you'll layer the pre-cooked rice with the simmered vegetable mixture (step 4). Let us know how it turns out!

Kimberly Hoover

Served with onion chutney, this is a winner! I omitted the peppers and eggplant; doubled up on the carrots, beans, and zucchini. I did not find fresh mint and used dry mint instead, which was very subtle. DELICIOUS blend of vegetables and spices, sweet and crunchy. Amazing dish and wonderfully surprised! I don't understand why some people are saying this dish was tasteless; it was not!! The saffron milk was just thing to add complexity and interest; cooking under foil steamed the raisins and cashews. I cannot wait to make this again.

Julee E

Wonderful mix of ingredients and spices, but I cut the rice down to 2 cups (cooked) for more vegetables and flavor. I also cut the cilantro and mint by half as it seemed overwhelming the first time I made this. I personally love that there is no heat to this recipe, you can choose your adventure post bake.


This recipe was very underwhelming considering all the work and ingredients that were put into it. I was looking forward to this but very disappointed with the result.

Kathleen Willey

sorry love Forks over Knives but this was SO MUCH work , took me a long time and it was not good. Tasteless actually. I think the recipe was wrong - 8 cups of rice ? But very little plant based milk and saffron and spice. Something was not right. I salvaged it by adding some green goddess dressing I had but it was not the biryani flavor I was expecting at all....


Agree…this recipe was tasteless!


Can this dish be frozen?


Just a heads up FOK... you left out the oven temp in your magazine recipe. Had to come hete for that info. Baking now. Agree that it took a long time to make ( over an hour) so I hope its not flavorless

Sherron Challis

Please, how many does this serve and where is the nutritional information?

Sharon Kohout

Sadly FOK does not provide nutritional info. I understand the premise but I believe it is misguided.

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit DarshanasKitchen.com and follow her on Instagram for more.
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