Spicy Vegan ‘Kheema’ (Mince)

Vegan Meat Mince, Indian style
After going vegan, one of the happiest realizations I had was that it was not really the meat I missed in dishes I would no longer cook or eat: it was the spices.In fact, whenever I remember an old favorite, like a meat curry or biryani, I find that cooking the dish with vegetable substitutes and the same spices gives me the same satisfied feeling. In the past, I’ve shared recipes for such old favorites as My Dad’s “Not Mutton” Mushroom Curry and biryani. For these I used vegetables like mushrooms to substitute for the meat, but in today’s recipe I use a more common meat substitute: textured vegetable protein, or TVP.

Kheema, or mince, usually refers to lamb or goat meat mince in India. The TVP granules are made of soy and have a great, chewy texture besides loads of great protein. So you get all the joy of eating kheema without the fat and cruelty. What more could one ask for?

I make the vegan kheema almost exactly like I used to make the regular version: with lots of veggies and spices. As I almost always do, I made my own spice mix, but you can subsitute with garam masala powder if you happen to have it on hand. I also add some coconut milk to my kheema which takes the edge off the spices, while adding yet another layer of flavor and texture.

The end result is a highly nutritious, delicious dish that’s wonderful with chapatis and even rice. Trust me, you’ll never miss the meat. And it takes far less time to cook than meat would, which, in my book, makes it an all-round winner.

Kheema recipe, vegan

Spicy Vegan 'Kheema' (Mince)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Vegan "Kheema"
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup soya granules or textured vegetable protein (TVP), soaked in boiling water for at least 15 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess water.
  • 1 tbsp canola or any vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into a very small dice
  • 1 cup green peas (I used frozen)
  • ½ cup frozen corn kernels
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4-5 sprigs of mint, leaves removed from the stems, then chopped
  • Grind into a fine powder in a coffee/spice grinder:
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 3 cardamom cloves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 1-inch stick of cinnamon
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns (use less or skip if you don't want the kheema to be too spicy)
  1. Heat the oil in a wide saucepan.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute until fragrant but don't let it burn.
  3. On medium heat, add the spice powder and stir to toast, about a minute.
  4. Add the carrots and stir for a minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir. Cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes are broken down and the juices have evaporated.
  6. Add the peas, corn kernels and the textured vegetable protein. Add the salt.
  7. Cook for about 15 more minutes, until all the flavors have blended.
  8. Add the coconut milk, mix in, and turn off the heat. Add the mint and mix.
  9. Serve hot with chapatis or rice.


Here’s a lovely Dahlia from our yard. Have a nice weekend, everyone!

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  1. says

    This looks really delicious! I like how the ingredients aren’t too exotic for me. Also, I have a question. When you use cardamom in savory dishes do you use the black one or the green one? A while ago I bought a bag of black cardamom but haven’t used it at all due to the fact that I don’t know what to do with it.

  2. says

    Vaishali, I have tasted the faux meat in tacos… never thought about making a full dish with it. I have never tasted meat, so I am not sure if I can make a dish entirely with it.
    But this looks like something people who have given up meat will enjoy..
    Your dahlia is beautiful, bet you have a nice little yard.

  3. says

    TVP or vegetable protein is totally new to me ! But it looks exactely like minced meat! I would really love to taste ur dish right away!
    Pretty flower have a nice weekend too :)

  4. says

    Hi dear, how are you? hey, friends thinka like, huh? your keema is very like soya chunks topping i made for my Soya uthappam recipe :-)

    A gift for you on my blog, pick it up

  5. says

    I am not a fan of soy nuggets to veg protein substitutes, but I usually get by with substituting mushrooms in any of the meat dishes I fancy. For what’s life without biryani and spicy curries!

  6. says

    Thanks you for the wonderful and excellent recipe. My wife did the same with variation,
    Spices were put as such without grinding into powder. Since the carrots and corns were not available at the time of cooking she substituted cabbage, brussel sprout, mini potatoes. Wow at the end yummy gravy.
    Again Thanks a lot!

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