5 Meat-Free Curry Recipes to Enjoy

Curries are a popular feature within Indian cuisine but there are meat-free versions which taste just as great. Here are five recipes to try.

5 Meat-Free Curry Recipes to Enjoy f

a meat-free alternative is to use tempeh

A hearty curry can pack a lot of flavours, however, there are meat-free alternatives that will taste just as delicious.

Many people are turning to plant-based diets for numerous reasons, be it for health purposes or ethical purposes.

While it does mean forfeiting foods which we are used to, thankfully there is a range of substitutes which have a convincingly similar texture to meat.

The most popular one is soya products such as tofu.

Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness.

When tofu and other meat substitutes are combined with intense spices, the result is wonderful and flavourful meals.

This is the same for curries. Here are five meat-free curry recipes to try out.

Tempeh Dopiaza

5 Meat-Free Curry Recipes to Enjoy f

A dopiaza is a rich curry which makes onions the highlight and when combined with chicken or lamb, it makes for a delicious meal.

However, a meat-free alternative is to use tempeh which is cooked soya beans, fermented and made into patties.

For vegetarians, vegans and those who want to try something new, this tempeh dopiaza is one to try.


  • 1 tbsp organic canola oil
  • 1 tsp vegan butter
  • 2 Green chillies
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp pomegranate seeds or ½ tsp dry mango powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Onions, sliced into rings
  • 1-inch ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp raw sugar or agave syrup
  • ½ tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 cup tempeh, cubed
  • Water


  1. Chop one green chilli and thinly slice the other one.
  2. Add two teaspoons of oil to a pan and cook a third of the onion rings, sliced green chilli, and a tablespoon of coriander leaves. Cook for around four minutes then set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add the remaining oil, onions, chopped green chilli, and spices. Cook on medium heat stirring occasionally until the onions turn golden brown.
  4. Add the ginger and mint leaves and cook for a further minute.
  5. Remove from the heat and blend the mixture with a little lemon juice or water to make a thick puree.
  6. Add the vegan butter, onion puree, salt and sugar to taste.
  7. Stir in the chopped tempeh and mix well to coat evenly. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Serve piping hot topped with fried onion rings, coriander and green chilli. Serve with any Indian flatbread or basmati rice.

Tofu Makhani

5 Meat-Free Curry Recipes to Enjoy - makhani

This recipe is ideal for those who love the flavours of butter chicken but cannot eat meat.

The rich and creamy sauce lends itself nicely to the tofu to create a wonderfully aromatic and fabulous dish.

Soya is a healthy substitute and the creaminess of this meat-free curry is down to the vegan butter.


  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 3 Cloves
  • 10 Peppercorns
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • ½ tbsp garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 tsp jaggery, grated
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Fresh coriander (to garnish)

For the Tofu

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 400g extra firm tofu – place the tofu in a piece of cheesecloth and put it into a sieve. Place a heavy weight on top for at least an hour to drain all the liquid out of it. Then cut it in half down the middle and halve again crosswise so you have 4 slices.
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper to taste
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a bowl, mix all the tofu ingredients except the tofu. Cover the tofu with the marinade and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a non-stick griddle pan with oil then place the tofu and cook until golden brown.
  3. Remove from the pan and allow to cool before cutting into ¾-inch cubes. Set aside.
  4. To make the curry, heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they start to sizzle, add the cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon. Saute for one minute over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the onions and a little salt. Saute for five minutes. Add the ginger and garlic paste, fenugreek leaves and cashew nuts. Cook for a further minute.
  6. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Cook until the tomatoes turn into a paste.
  7. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  8. Pour the cooled mixture into a blender and add a cup of vegetable stock. Blend into a smooth paste.
  9. Add the paste to the saucepan and turn on the heat. Add the remaining vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.
  10. Add the tofu cubes and stir in to completely cover with the paste. Simmer for about 10 minutes and add salt to taste.
  11. Add the vegan butter, lemon juice, and sugar. Mix well and garnish with coriander to serve.

This recipe was adapted from Holy Cow.

Seitan Vindaloo

5 Meat-Free Curry Recipes to Enjoy - vindaloo

Vindaloo is a spicy dish that is a hit among curry lovers.

But those who cannot eat meat do not need to worry, as a meat-free alternative uses seitan.

Seitan is made from wheat gluten and while it is suitable for vegans, those with coeliac disease cannot eat it.

The look and texture of seitan is very similar to that of meat when cooked which makes it a popular curry for those following a meat-free diet.


  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1-inch stick cinnamon
  • 5 Cardamom pods
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 225g pack seitan, drained and cut into bitesize pieces
  • 425g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

For the Vindaloo Paste

  • 1 small onion
  • 3 (ideally serrano) hot peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1-inch ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup vinegar (cider or white wine)
  • 2 dried hot red chillies, soaked in water for 15 minutes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Place the vindaloo paste ingredients into a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. In a large skillet, heat some oil then add mustard seeds, cinnamon and cardamom pods.
  3. When the mustard seeds start to crackle, add the carrots, green peppers and seitan. Cook for three minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the vindaloo paste and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, lemon juice, sugar and salt to taste.
  5. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add more water if necessary. The curry should not be too dry.

Keema Curry

5 Meat-Free Curry Recipes to Enjoy - keema

keema (mince) curry explodes with traditional Indian flavours and aromas.

Instead of chicken or lamb mince, this particular recipe uses Quorn mince which uses a meat substitute called mycoprotein, derived from a natural fungus.

Compared to chicken and lamb mince, Quorn mince is high in protein and low in saturated fat.

This makes for a delicious and nutritious meat-free curry.


  • 350g Quorn mince
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Red pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp korma paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 50g peas
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions for four minutes.
  2. Add the peppers and cook until softened.
  3. Add the garlic and the korma paste. Cook for a further two minutes.
  4. Stir in the Quorn mince, tomato puree and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Once it starts to boil, gently simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the peas and coriander then continue to simmer for a further five minutes until the peas are cooked.
  6. Serve with basmati rice or naan bread.

Tofu Palak Paneer

5 Curry Recipes to Enjoy - paneer

Palak paneer is a popular dish among vegetarians, however, this dish is the vegan alternative as it uses tofu instead of cheese.

When incorporated into this dish, tofu has a similar texture to paneer and as it is cooked with various spices, vegans will hardly taste the difference.

What makes it even more appealing is that it is an excellent source of calcium and iron.

It also has more fibre, magnesium, zinc and folate than paneer and meat products.


  • 2 tsp oil
  • 200g block of firm tofu
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • A generous pinch of black salt (optional)
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

For the Spinach Curry

  • 60g spinach, washed and chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup almond or coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp soaked cashew nuts (15 minutes)
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1-inch ginger
  • 1 Serrano chilli pepper to taste
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • ¼-½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp raw sugar or maple syrup
  • ¼-½ tsp garam masala
  • Cashew cream
  • Chilli flakes (optional)


  1. Add the oil to a pan and place on medium heat.
  2. Cut the tofu into cubes and add to the oil. Cook for three minutes, stirring gently. Add all the spices for spiced tofu and stir to coat evenly.
  3. Partially cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes on low to medium heat.
  4. Meanwhile, wash the spinach and add it to a blender. Add all the ingredients for spinach curry to the blender except the garam masala. Blend until smooth. Add the puree to the tofu and mix well.
  5. Add garam masala to taste. Cover and cook on low to medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Taste and add more salt and spices as needed.
  7. Drizzle the cashew cream over the dish, add the chilli flakes and serve with naan, roti or other flatbread.
  8. Add pepper flakes for extra heat.

This recipe was inspired by Vegan Richa.

These are a selection of meat-free curries to make at home.

Whether they are for vegetarians, vegans, or even for those wanting to try something new, these meat-free curry recipes are convincingly similar to their meat counterparts.

Many of these are fairly simple to make so what are you waiting for, try them out!

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

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