5 vegan curry recipes to warm you up this winter

Posted by
Alessia Armenise

Temperatures are dropping: welcome to comfort curry season. 

If you think vegan food is boring, where have you been? We’ve already shared our favourite vegan afternoon teas in London and the best vegan pancakes recipes, we disclosed the secret vegan delicacies you can cook to have a killer Halloween party and we even introduced you to the vegan kebab

Now, in the misty winter weather - and for Veganuary, no less -  it’s time to enjoy some well-deserved vegan comfort food. Here are some of’s favourite animal-free curry recipes to try at home. 

Chickpea and chard korma

This creamy, comforting korma is perfect served with clouds of basmati rice, or with warmed naan bread. Swiss chard offers a slight bitterness to the sweet and rich coconut milk base.

You’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 large leaves of Swiss chard, stalks removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp korma paste (ensure dairy free)
  • 400ml (14fl oz) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 400g (14oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Small handful of fresh coriander, roughly torn

What to do:

Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and soften over a medium–high heat for 2–3 minutes. Add the garlic and Swiss chard, and sauté for a further minute. Stir through the cumin and turmeric, then add the korma paste, coating the onion and Swiss chard. Pour in the coconut milk and chickpeas, then allow to bubble for 10 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and scatter with the coriander.

Recipe from 15 Minute Vegan: Comfort Food by Katy Beskow (Quadrille £15) Photography: Dan Jones

Garden Biryani

Traditionally, biryani is slow-cooked, however, this version lends itself well to fast cooking due to the variety of rice used and the quick-cook vegetables. Adapt the vegetables to what you have available seasonally for an ever-changing dish.

You’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ small cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 12 green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 yellow (bell) pepper, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp medium curry paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 400g (14oz/21/4 cups) basmati rice
  • 1 litre (1¾ pints/4½ cups)
  • hot vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp roasted cashew nuts
  • Juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • Generous handful of fresh
  • coriander (cilantro), roughly torn
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • Generous pinch of sea salt

What to do:

Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan over a medium–high heat and cook the onion for 1 minute until it begins to soften. Add the cauliflower, green beans and yellow pepper, and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Spoon in the curry paste, turmeric, cumin and chilli flakes, and stir to coat the vegetables. Pour in the basmati rice and vegetable stock, then simmer over a medium heat for 9 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir through the peas and cashew nuts, and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and squeeze over the lemon juice. Scatter with the coriander, red chilli and sea salt just before serving.

Recipe from 15 Minute Vegan: Comfort Food by Katy Beskow (Quadrille £15) Photography: Dan Jones

Chana masala with yellow cauliflower rice

Chana means ‘chickpeas’ and masala means ‘spices’, and that is exactly what this is: spicy chickpeas in a tomato sauce. Serve alongside yellow cauliflower rice and poppadoms, which are easy to make in the microwave.

You’ll need:

For the curry:

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • rapeseed (canola) oil, for frying
  • 50 g (2 oz) ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée (paste)
  • 400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400 g (14 oz) tin chickpeas (garbanzos), drained
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz/1¼ cups) water
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup salt
  • 4 poppadoms, to serve
  • chopped coriander leaves and
  • mango chutney, to serve

For the rice:

  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) cauliflower
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • rapeseed (canola) oil, for frying

What to do:

Fry the onion and garlic in oil over a medium-low heat in a frying pan (skillet) for approximately 5 minutes until soft. Squeeze the juice from the ginger and discard the remains. Add the spices and tomato purée, raise the heat and fry for another 2 minutes while stirring. Add the ginger juice, tinned tomatoes, drained chickpeas and water, and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. In the meantime, make the cauliflower rice. Remove the green outer leaves from the cauliflower, but save them. Chop the cauliflower into rough pieces or make a fine rice using a food processor. Put the rice on a tea towel and squeeze to remove any moisture. Fry with the turmeric in a frying pan with a little oil for around 7 minutes. Stir occasionally. Mix the cauliflower leaves into the tomato sauce and boil for a further 5 minutes. Season with agave syrup and salt to taste. Put poppadoms into the microwave one at a time and cook on full power. Do this in 15-second bursts, as they burn easily. Alternatively, you can fry them in hot oil for a few seconds. Sprinkle the coriander leaves over the dish and serve with cauliflower rice, poppadoms and mango chutney.

Recipe from 30 Minute Vegetarian by Ylva Bergqvist (Hardie Grant, £16.99) Photography: Lennart Weibull

Red lentil curry with rice paper crisps

Paper crisps may sound rather dry, but it truly is an exciting event in the kitchen when the rice paper puffs up in the hot oil. If you aren’t comfortable deep-frying or think it’s unhealthy, just skip for a less eventful evening. The curry paste varies in strength, so start with a tablespoon, taste it, and add more if you want a hotter dish.

You’ll need:

  • 300 g (10½ oz/1 cups) jasmine rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 700 ml (23 fl oz/2¾ cups)
  • rapeseed (canola) oil, for frying and deep-frying
  • 1–2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 200 g (7 oz/1 cup) dried red lentils
  • 600 ml (20 fl oz/2½ cups) water
  • 400 g (14 oz) tin coconut cream
  • 4 large sheets of rice paper
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 80 g (3 oz) baby spinach
  • salt
  • coriander leaves, to garnish

What to do:

Cook the rice following the instructions on the pack. Fry the garlic in oil in a saucepan for around 2 minutes over a medium heat until soft. Add the curry paste, raise the heat and fry for another 1 minute while stirring. Add the lentils and water. Whisk the coconut cream so that it is mixed, then pour three-quarters into the saucepan. Simmer over a medium heat for around 15 minutes until the lentils are soft. Deep-fry one rice paper sheet at a time in hot oil in a large saucepan for around 1 minute. Place them on kitchen paper when they are done. Mix the spinach into the lentil curry and ensure it warms through. Season with salt and approximately 1 tablespoon lime juice. If you have time, you can whisk the lime zest into the coconut cream you saved, using an electric whisk. Otherwise, you can simply mix them together. Top the curry with the lime-coconut cream and coriander leaves. Serve with the paper crisps and rice.

Recipe from 30 Minute Vegetarian by Ylva Bergqvist (Hardie Grant, £16.99) Photography: Lennart Weibull

’Chip shop’ vegetable curry

If you grew up in the UK or Ireland, you’ll no doubt be familiar with that late-night takeaway special, the incomparable ‘half and half’. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a terribly inauthentic curry served with ‘half chips, half rice’. Sounds vile, but after a heavy night on the tiles it’s almost akin to salvation. You could say then that this is my homage to not only the curry that saved me from many a chronic hangover but also to those heady days that were wonderful at the time but which I have absolutely no desire to revisit.

You’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 green chilli, minced
  • 200g mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • ½ head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 1 heaped teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon palm or brown sugar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cornflour
  • 500ml water
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 200ml canned coconut milk
  • 75g frozen peas
  • 100g spinach, blanched and chopped
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

What to do:

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and sweat for 3–4 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli to the pan and sauté for 2–3 minutes, or until aromatic. Add the mushrooms to the pan, season generously and cook over a medium–high heat for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to colour, release their juices and shrink. Add the cauliflower florets to the pan together with the spices, sugar and a splash of water. Cook for 1–2 minutes before sprinkling over the cornflour and stirring to coat evenly. Pour over the measured water and stir continuously until the sauce thickens, then add the tomato purée and lime leaves. Bring to a simmer, cover and leave to cook for 20 minutes, then stir in the coconut milk, peas and spinach. Season generously and simmer for a further 10–15 minutes, uncovered, until thickened and reduced. Season to taste and serve.

Recipe from ’Cook Share Eat Vegan’ by Áine Carlin is published by Mitchell Beazley. Photography by Danielle Wood.


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Alessia Armenise

Alessia Armenise is picture editor of Stylist and In her free time you'll find her tasting vegan street food around east London and sharing her (many) opinions on London Fields Radio. Instagram

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