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vegetarian biryani in a white platter
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5 from 4 votes

Spicy Vegan Biryani Recipe (Instant Pot/Stove-top)

Spicy vegan biryani that you can prepare in a pressure cooker or stove-top.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Building Pressure/Natural Release15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Assyrian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Persian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 452kcal


  • Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker (I used a Ninja Foodi)


Biryani Seasoning

  • 2 cups cubed eggplant
  • teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 2 tablespoon biryani spice (recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup avocado oil (divided)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (sliced)
  • 2 medium russet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • ½ cup baby carrots (julienned)
  • ½ large red bell pepper (sliced)
  • ½ medium zucchini (sliced or cubed)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup frozen peas


  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup raisins


  • Prepare all the vegetables and measure all the ingredients before you begin.
  • Sprinkle cubed eggplant with ¼ teaspoon salt and allow to drain over a colander.
  • Mix biryani seasoning with the remaining salt and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). 
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pressure cooker and select sauté.
  • Sauté sliced onions for a few minutes, then add potatoes and 1 tablespoon of biryani spice. Continue to cook until the potatoes are browned and the onions are caramelized, stirring frequently.
  • Add carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, and more oil, if needed. Sauté for a few minutes longer.
  • Rinse the salt off of the eggplant, then transfer to the pot, along with the minced garlic. Sprinkle with additional biryani spice and continue to Sauté.
  • Meanwhile, wash and strain the rice, then stir into the pot with the vegetables. 
  • Dissolve the remaining biryani spice into the vegetable broth and pour into the pot. Add the remaining oil (except for 1 teaspoon which will be used for toasting the cashews and raisins).
  •  Mix the ingredients in the pressure cooker and top with the frozen peas. Cover the pressure cooker with the lid. Lock into position and set the vent to seal.
  • Select the pressure cook option and set the timer to 5 minutes. When the time is up, do a natural release for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the remaining teaspoon of oil to a medium skillet and heat. Add cashews and raisins and stir until toasted, but not burned. 
    Note: Another option is to cook them separately so that your guests can choose one or the other without having to choose both.
  • When the ten minutes are up, vent the seal to release the remaining pressure and gently stir the biryani.
  • Serve the biryani topped with toasted cashews and raisins, along with a Middle Eastern salad.


  • Be sure to deglaze the bottom of the pot before sealing it to avoid a "burn" error code that can occur on some Instant pot models.
  • If you get a "water" error code on the Ninja Foodi, which indicates more liquid is required, just leave the biryani in there for the allotted time. The built-up pressure in the pot will cook the biryani perfectly. If you add more water, the biryani will be mushy.
  • If you're serving this dish to a crowd and not everyone is vegan, serve some Sumac Chicken on the side.


Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 452kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1033mg | Potassium: 727mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1795IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 3mg