This vegan Keema Masala or Kheema Masala is a taste of India’s delicious street food, but my version is not only vegan, it is very healthy with tons of veggies, loads of protein, and no added oils. Keema is ground beef or goat in India, but for this meatless version I used beefless ground beef and trust me, even a meat-lover won’t miss a beat.
This vegan Keema Masala is my favorite dish to take to potluck parties, and it’s usually the first thing to disappear from the table, it’s that good.
If you like complex Indian food without having to spend a whole lot of time and effort making it, this is the perfect recipe. If you have a meat-eater around who thinks vegan food is all salads and quinoa, and you want to rub their nose in it, this is the perfect recipe. If you want a dish that’s healthy, nutritious, but delicious too, this is the perfect recipe.
Keema masala is usually made with ground beef or mutton, but for my divinely vegan version I’ve used TVP granules in the past. It’s important to use a meat substitute in this dish because it really won’t work without the right texture. This time, I used beefless “beef” that is sold at Trader Joe’s. I really like it here because unlike some other ground meat substitutes it crumbles easily and doesn’t clump together, which is really important in this dish. If you use another ground meat substitute, and you certainly can, take the time to saute it for a while in the pan so it separates.
This dish is rich and flavorful without any added oils, and to achieve that I came up with a clever trick: use coconut milk to saute your onions and herbs and spices. The fat in the coconut milk helps cook the ingredients and draws out their flavors, and since you do need a small amount of coconut milk in this recipe anyway, it works perfectly. Use the canned coconut milk here, not the one in a carton.
It takes no more than 30 minutes to make this recipe, from start to finish. Serve the vegan keema with roti or naan or rice or even with a crusty French or Italian bread. You can add more water or vegetable stock to make it saucy — I like mine with just a little sauce to scoop up with a piece of bread.
More delicious and meatless Indian vegan recipes:
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1-2 green chili peppers, like jalapeno or serrano. Deseed for less heat. (chopped)
- 2 tbsp coriander or cilantro leaves
- 1-inch piece of ginger (chopped)
- 2 large tomatoes (chopped)
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 12 oz meatless ground meat (Trader Joe's Beefless Ground Beef or Gimme Lean's Ground Veggie Beef are both fine here )
- 1 large carrot (finely diced)
- 3 medium potatoes (finely diced)
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime
In a mortar and pestle, or using a food processor, crush the ginger, garlic and green chili peppers into a coarse paste.
Place 2 tbsp of the coconut milk in a large saucepan and once it becomes frothy, add the onions and the ginger-garlic-chili paste and coriander leaves. Season with salt and ground black pepper and saute until the onions start to turn transparent.
Add the tomatoes and the garam masala. Saute until the tomatoes begin to break down.
Add the meatless meat and continue to saute for a couple of minutes, then add the carrots and potatoes. Mix well, add 2 cups of water, cover, and let the keema masala cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
Add the frozen green peas and the remaining coconut milk. Bring back to a boil, then turn off the heat. Check for salt and add more if needed.
Squeeze in lemon or lime juice and mix. Serve hot.
*Nutrition info below calculated with Gimme Lean's Veggie Protein Ground Beef Style.