Celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, With These Plant-Based Recipes
Monday, October 24, marks the festival of Diwali this year, and what better way to celebrate this five-day festival than with a celebratory vegan feast? Diwali is the largest and most celebrated holiday in India, and this year it begins on Saturday, October 22, and stretches until Wednesday, October 26.
Diwali, which means "row of light," is also known as the Festival of Lights, and is celebrated by millions of people around the globe. Diwali represents the symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil, according to the Hindu American Foundation. Diwali is honored over five days of festival, each holding its own significance and name.
The five days of Diwali are:
- Chhoti Diwali, Kalichaudas
- Annakut, Padwa, Govardhan Puja
- Bhai Duj, Bhai Bheej
Diwali comes from the Hindu tradition but many other religions have adopted it, including Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism –– and anyone of non-Indian heritage may honor the holiday as well. Diwali is celebrated at home, in mandirs (local temples), or in community centers. So feel free to cook up a storm and celebrate the triumph of light over darkness in your life.
Diwali celebrations vary and are unique to the traditions of each family or region, so you can make your own traditions. Most families light diyas or candles in their homes throughout the holidays.
Diwali is a time when people come together to enjoy each other's company and all the good that is in the world with sweets and signature Indian dishes, such as samosas and curries.
Eating and dancing are a huge part of Diwali so make a playlist and enjoy a turn on the living room floor or your available space –– since movement is as much a part of the celebration as light and food.
You don't have to eat meat or dairy to celebrate Diwali and any traditional recipes that contain meat and dairy are easily converted into plant-based delights. Enjoy lentil curry daal, curry hand pies, and tofu curry this Diwali.
For more recipes, including sweet treats, check out Vegan Richa.
Celebrate Diwali with 3 plant-based recipes
Easy Lentil Curry (Daal)
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 Min
Total Time: 40 Min
- 1 Cup Dry Lentils
- 1 Large Onion, chopped
- 1 Cup Carrots, finely diced
- 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
- 2 Tsp Ginger, minced
- 1 Red Chili Pepper, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp Tamari Sauce, Soy Sauce also works
- 1 ½ Tsp Cumin
- 1 Tsp Turmeric
- 1 Tbsp Curry Powder
- 3 Cups Water
- ½ of a 400ml Can of Coconut Milk
- 1 Tbsp Coriander, chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat about 2 Tbsp of oil in a pot over medium heat. Add in chopped onions and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to brown, stirring occasionally. Add your carrots, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper to the pot and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add your soy sauce, cumin, turmeric, and curry powder. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in your water and lentils into the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes covered. The lentils will absorb some of the water and expand just a bit.
- Pour in half the can of your coconut milk, you can use coconut milk lite if you want it to be lower in fat. Stir until well combined. Bring it back to a simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. If your curry isn’t thick enough you can simmer for a few more minutes. Or if your curry becomes too thick, stir in a splash of water until you get your desired consistency.
- Stir in your coriander. Add in your salt and pepper to taste. Taste for any other spices to add in as well.
- Serve with basmati rice, or rice of choice, and garnish with some fresh coriander. Have some naan on the side as well if you really want to take your Daal experience to another level! Enjoy!
Vegan Curry Hand Pies
Makes 8-10 pies
For the Dough:
- 2 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Vegan Butter, cold
- 3-6 Tbsp Water, cold
- 1 15oz Can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
- ½ Tsp Ginger Powder
- 1 Tbsp Curry Powder
- ½ Tsp Garam Masala
- ½ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Cup Yellow Potatoes, skinned and diced
- ¼ Cup Carrots, diced
- ½ Cup Frozen Peas
- 1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ Cup Veggie Broth
- Salt to taste
To Make Dough:
- In a large bowl, mix in your cold butter and flour together until you get a fine crumbly texture. Use either your hands or a pastry cutter.
- A couple of Tbsp at a time, add in your cold water. Mix it in until it starts to form a dough. Transfer over to a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough together, just to bring all the fall pieces together and until it’s not a crumbling mess. Add more water if needed. Form it into a ball, saran wraps it, and let it chill in the fridge.
To Make The Curry Filling:
- Heat some oil in a large non-stick pan, over medium heat. Add your onions and garlic to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until onions become soft and translucent.
- Add your ginger powder, curry powder, garam masala, and cayenne pepper to the pan.
- Mix it until the onions and garlic are all coated. Just cook for 30 seconds, to kind of waken up the spices.
- Add your chickpeas, potatoes, carrots, and frozen peas. Mix it all in until evenly combined. Cover the pan for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in 1 Tbsp of flour and stir until evenly mixed in. Then add in your veggie broth and stir until combined.
- Using a fork, gently mash your chickpeas. You don’t need to mash them all, just mash them to your preference.
- If your mixture is still looking dry, add in a splash of veggie broth.
- Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
Assembling the pies:
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- On a flour surface, roll out your chilled dough into a rough rectangle using a flour rolling pin. Roll your dough out until it’s about ½ cm thick.
- Using either a 3” cookie cutter or a cup (I used a ceramic ramekin), cut out circles. You should be able to cut about 6-8 circles and then another 2 with the leftover dough.
- Gently roll your circles into rough oval shapes. They don’t all have to be exactly the same, just big enough to hold the filling in.
- Spoon in about 1 heaping Tbsp of your curry filling onto one side of the oval dough.
- Gently fold it your dough over the filling and using a fork, press down the edges to seal it. Transfer to a baking tray Repeat with the rest. If your dough isn’t sealing, you can brush a bit over water on the edges to help it stick together.
- Cut some slits on ontop of the hand pies and brush some soy milk over it. Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes or until it becomes golden brown.
- Remove from oven, let it cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!
Easy Vegan Tofu Curry
Serving Size: 4-5 Helpings
- 1 16oz Block of Extra Firm Tofu
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Corn Starch
- 1 Pinch Salt
- 1/2 Cup Onions, finely diced
- 3 Cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tsp Ginger, grated
- 1 Chili Pepper, diced
- 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
- 1/4 Tsp Ground Cumin
- 2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2Tsp Turmeric
- 5 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 14oz Can Diced Tomatoes
- 1 14oz Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 1 Handful Fresh Coriander, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Press your tofu to remove extra liquid. Cut into small cubes. Transfer to a bowl and toss around in oil until they're all coated.
- Transfer Tofu cubes to a large resealable plastic bag. Add your cornstarch and salt into the bag. Close it up and shake it until tofu is evenly coated in cornstarch.
- Evenly spread tofu cubes on a tray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- To make the curry sauce by heating 2 Tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add your onions to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and chili pepper into the pan and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Mix in your garam masala, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and turmeric. Continue to stir and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add in your tomato paste and cook for 1 minute while stirring. Add in the diced tomatoes and coconut milk and stir until well combined.
- Simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until you get your desired thickness. Stir in your freshly chopped coriander and baked tofu.
- Serve with basmati rice and a wedge of lime.
Nutritional Notes per serving:
531 calories, 17g protein, 30g carbs, 6g fiber, 38g fat