12 Healthy Vegetarian Recipes with Indian Pantry Staples
A list of healthy Indian recipes you can make with your pantry staples during the lockdown period.
These are vegetarian and vegan healthy Indian recipes that can be made with non-perishables stocked up in your pantries.
- What are Pantry Staples?
- List of Non-Perishable Ingredients you will need
- 1- Dosa
- 2- Easy Green Gram Curry
- 3- Gujarati Vaghareli Khichdi
- 4- Ragi Roti
- 5- Dal Makhani
- 6- Akki Usli
- 7- Brown Rice Neer Dosa
- 8- Green Gram Coconut Milk Curry
- 9- Horse Gram Rasam
- 11- Horse Gram Usli (Stir-fry)
- 11- Ragi Mudde
- 12- Quinoa Dosa
I know a lot of you are looking for quarantine recipes that will not require you to source fancy ingredients.
As much as we like trying fancy recipes, finally, it all comes down to simple healthy meals on a regular basis, right?
With some basic pantry staples that generally we Indians have at home, you can try out these amazing healthy Indian recipes.
You would not only be happy about learning and trying some new recipes but will also be glad about using up your pantry effectively.
These recipes are perfect to be qualified as healthy vegetarian pantry meals that are delicious and nutritious as well.
What are Pantry Staples?
Pantry Staples are the food items that we consume regularly and are non-perishable, meaning that they have a long shelf-life.
For each of us, the list of these food items that qualify as a staples, differs.
Being a south Indian, my pantry staples are rice, lentils, legumes, different kinds of flours, whole grains, semolina, flattened rice, millets, Indian spices mainly.
I also stock up nuts, seeds, dry fruits, different kinds of oil, ghee (clarified butter) in my pantry.
I believe this list is pretty much the same with most of us Indians.
Vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, ginger also fall under pantry staples according to me, as they can be stored for long.
List of Non-Perishable Ingredients you will need
These are the pantry staples you will need to make the recipes listed here.
In case you do not have any of the ingredients listed below, feel free to use alternatives or skip it altogether if it is not the main ingredient.
I have also listed the alternatives and the ingredients you can possibly omit, under each of the recipes mentioned in the next section.
Grains– Sona Masoori Rice (white and brown), Idli Rice, Quinoa, Foxtail Millet
Lentils– Urad Dal (Split Black Lentil), Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas), Mung Dal (Split Yellow Lentil), Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas)
Legumes– Green Gram, Kidney Beans, Black Urad dal (Black Urad Dal), Horse Gram
Flour- Ragi (Finger millet) flour
Miscellaneous- Flattened Rice (Poha), Indian spices, Cooking Oil or Ghee, Salt
Dosa- one of the most healthy breakfast dishes from south Indian cuisine.
It is a crepe of sorts made with rice and lentils mainly that are ground and fermented.
Traditional dosa is probiotic, gluten-free, and vegan!
Just a little effort and prep work to make the batter and you will be sorted out for the next 3-4 days’ breakfast or dinner.
Sona Masoori Rice, Idli/Dosa Rice, Urad dal, Chana dal, Mung dal, Toor dal, Flattened Rice, Fenugreek Seeds, Salt, Oil.
- Use only Sona Masoori white rice if you do not have Idli/Dosa Rice.
- You can use Masoor Dal (split red lentils) in place of Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas).
This is a super easy and a beginner-friendly vegan recipe you can make with green gram.
An hour to soak the green gram and the next 20-25 minutes to cook it and add the rest of the ingredients to make the curry.
Green gram (Mung Beans) being very high in nutrition, this curry makes a wholesome and a healthy meal along with chapati or rice.
Green Gram, Oil, Indian Spices, Salt.
- You can use red chili powder/paprika powder instead of green chilies.
- You can use amchur (dry mango) powder, or tamarind juice instead of tomatoes, or canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones.
- Onion powder can be used instead of fresh onion. However, onions can be stored in the pantry for a month at least.
Curry leaves, Cilantro.
Khichdi is THE ultimate comfort food for most Indians.
It is vegan and a perfect balance of carbohydrates and protein.
This Gujarati khichdi is a one-pot meal made of foxtail millet and lentils that needs only 15 minutes to cook.
Foxtail Millet, Toor Dal, Moong Dal, Peanuts, Oil/Ghee, Salt, Indian Spices.
- Any other millet like Kodo millet or Little Millet can be used instead of Foxtail millet.
- You can also make this with rice or broken wheat instead of millet.
- You can use the dry ginger powder in place of fresh ginger.
Super soft roti (phulka) made with finger millet flour which is gluten-free and nutrient-dense.
Ragi Flour, Salt, Oil/Ghee.
Dal Makhani is a high protein vegan curry made with Kidney Beans and Black Lentils.
Legumes being a class of vegetables and extremely nutritious, it is advised to have these regularly, especially now as a substitute for fresh vegetables.
Make this delicious and healthy dal makhani to serve with rice or any Indian flatbread variety.
Truly one of the best healthy Indian recipes you can make!
Dry Black Lentils (Urad Dal), Dry Kidney Beans (Rajma), Indian Spices, Butter, Tomato Puree or Tomato, Milk, Salt.
- Canned black lentils and kidney beans instead of the dried ones.
- Ghee or oil in place of butter.
- Store-bought ginger garlic paste or dry ginger & garlic powders instead of fresh ginger and garlic.
Milk, Onion, Cilantro.
Akki Usli is a one-pot dish made with rice, moong dal, and vegetables that comes together in under 15 minutes.
It is a gluten-free, vegan, healthy, light on the tummy kind of meal that uses very minimal spices.
You can make this dish without vegetables as well and it can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Rice, Mung Dal (Split Yellow Lentil), Salt, Oil/Ghee.
- Frozen Coconut or Dry Coconut (Copra) instead of freshly grated coconut.
- Red chili powder/ Paprika powder in place of green chilies.
- Store-bought bottled lime juice in place of fresh juice.
Vegetables, Curry leaves, Cilantro, Lime Juice.
Neer dosa is a traditional variety of instant dosa from the coastal Karnataka region.
It is made with only two main ingredients- rice and coconut.
In this recipe, I have used brown rice in place of white rice making this more wholesome.
Neer dosa is a quick healthy breakfast dish that tastes great with coconut chutney or any other curry of choice.
Brown Rice (Sona Masoori), Grated Coconut, Salt, Oil.
- White raw rice (Sona Masoori) in place of brown rice.
- Frozen grated coconut in place of fresh grated coconut. You will have to thaw to bring it to room temperature before using.
An easy vegan curry made with green gram, coconut milk, and Indian spices that comes together in under 30 minutes.
If you like coconut milk-based curries, this is definitely for you. This curry turns out creamy and delicious and can be served with rice or roti.
Green gram, Coconut Milk, Indian Spices, Salt, Oil.
- You can use canned green gram in place of dried green gram.
- Use canned coconut milk in place of fresh coconut milk.
- Tomato Puree can be used instead of fresh tomatoes. You will need about 1/4 cup tomato puree.
- Or dry mango powder (amchur) in place of tomatoes for the tang.
Horse gram is a power-packed legume, super-rich in protein, fiber, and all the dietary nutrients. It is also known to be great for weight-loss.
This delicious horse gram rasam (soup) is indeed one of the best pantry friendly healthy Indian recipes you can ever make!
You can serve this with rice, or ragi mudde, or can also be had as a soup.
Horse Gram, Indian Spices, Coconut, Oil, Salt.
You can use frozen grated coconut or copra (dry coconut) in place of freshly grated coconut.
Onion, Curry leaves, Cilantro.
Horse gram Usli is an extended recipe of horse gram rasam, made using the cooked horse gram.
This horse gram Usli (stir-fry) can be made in 10 minutes and served along with horse gram rasam and rice or ragi mudde to make it a complete healthy meal.
Although this dish is part of the previous recipe, I am listing this as a separate recipe for those who want to make just this stir-fry.
Horse gram, Onion, Grated Coconut, Indian spices, Oil, Salt.
- Frozen grated coconut or grated dry coconut instead of fresh coconut can be used. However, it tastes great with fresh or frozen coconut only.
- Store bought bottled lime juice instead of the fresh one.
- Honestly, this dish tastes amazing with a lot of onion. But sadly, you can skip it if you don’t have it in hand.
- Curry leaves and Cilantro.
Ragi Mudde is simply a cooked ball of ragi (finger millet) flour, that is dipped in rasam or sambar and swallowed.
It is a super healthy, traditional recipe from Karnataka, probably, one of my best picks from this list of healthy Indian recipes.
Ragi Mudde is very good for weight loss, is diabetic-friendly, and can be served for lunch, dinner, or also for breakfast.
The recipe includes all the tips to make soft, lump-free ragi mudde.
Ragi Flour, Salt, Oil/Ghee.
A dosa recipe that can be made with quinoa for a healthy, protein-rich breakfast or dinner.
Quinoa dosa can be made instantly without the need for fermentation.
In this recipe, I have used a cucumber as the other main ingredient along with soaked quinoa.
However, a plain quinoa dosa would also be good, in case you don’t have cucumber in hand.
Quinoa (white or red), Salt, Cumin Seeds, Oil, Coconut.
- Frozen grated coconut, or frozen sliced coconut in place of freshly grated coconut.
- Quinoa might not be an Indian pantry staple for a lot of you. In case you don’t have it, you can make this dosa with a millet like Foxtail, Kodo, Little Millet, etc.
- I have not tried this dosa exclusively with millet, but I use it in other dosa recipes, and I guess it should work.
Cucumber, Green chilies, Coriander leaves.
I hope this roundup post gives you an idea of the possible vegetarian and vegan pantry meals you can make during this time and later too!