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Cauliflower rice biryani in dutch oven with slices of lemon and spoon.
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5 from 6 votes

Cauliflower Rice Biryani (Keto + Vegan)

Eating deliciously but healthfully can be so much easier when you can eat foods like this comforting Cauliflower Rice Biryani. It's got all the lavish flavors and textures you'd find in a regular biryani, but it's so much better for you because you're subbing white rice, a food loaded with carbs, for much healthier cauliflower rice. Tofu adds in good protein while keeping this keto-friendly, and veggies like green bell peppers and zucchini add more nourishing tastiness.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: gluten-free, Indian fusion, Soy-free, Vegan
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 124kcal


  • 1 microwave safe bowl
  • 1 Colander (if using frozen cauliflower rice), or
  • Food processor (if using fresh cauliflower)
  • 1 large dutch oven or pot with a tight fitting lid


For the marinated veggies

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium green bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon biryani masala
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon shahi jeera (black cumin or caraway seeds. Cumin seeds are a good replacement)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne (use more or less depending on how spicy your biryani masala and garam masala are)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mint
  • 1 teaspoon dry dill
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
  • ½ cup vegan yogurt (I used cashew. Use a nut-free, unsweetened yogurt if nut-free)
  • 1 heaping tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ cup fried onions
  • Salt to taste

For the cauliflower rice

  • 4 cups (2 pounds) cauliflower rice (Use fresh cauliflower or buy frozen cauliflower rice. If using a cauliflower, trim and separate it into florets. Process the cauliflower in a food processor until it breaks down into rice-size bits. Don't turn it into a mush-- use the "pulse" function on your processor in short bursts of five seconds each time until the deed is done)
  • 1 tablespoon biryani masala
  • 1 teaspoon dry mint
  • 1 teaspoon dry dill
  • ¼ cup fried onions
  • Salt to taste


Marinate the vegetables: 

  • Place the chopped veggies in a bowl. Add all of the marinade ingredients, including biryani masala, garam masala, black cumin/caraway (or regular cumin), cayenne, mint, dill, vegan yogurt, ginger garlic paste and salt to taste. Mix well and set aside.

Prep the cauliflower rice:

  •  Mix the cauliflower rice ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl: the rice, biryani masala, mint, dill, fried onions, and salt to taste. Add two tablespoons of water to the bowl and microwave the cauliflower rice for five minutes, then set aside.

Make the biryani:

  • Blend the tomato and onions into a smooth paste.
  • In a large pot heat the vegetable oil. Add the tomato onion paste and fry about five minutes or until it darkens a bit.
  • Add the marinated veggies to the pot and mix well. Add ½ cup water.
  • Cover and let the veggies cook about 5-7 minutes or until they are still firm but tender and the sauce has darkened and it shimmers. Stir a couple of times while cooking to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the air fried tofu and cashews, if using, to the pot and mix.
  • Layer the cauliflower rice over the veggie masala. Layer on the fried onions and saffron soaked in milk, if using.
  • Cover with a tight lid and cook the biryani for five minutes over medium-high heat. Then lower heat to the lowest setting and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
  • Let the biryani stand 10 more minutes, without peeking, before you serve. To serve, use a ladle to dig all the way to the bottom so you get some rice and some gravy with each serving.


  • If you don't have an air-fryer, bake the marinated tofu for 30 to 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven, flipping over the cubes halfway through. You can also just use the tofu in this recipe without air frying it first, but if you do that don't marinate it--just use the tofu as is.
  • To increase fat in this recipe, double the vegetable oil to 2 tablespoons or more.
  • You can sub the zucchini and bell peppers for other keto-friendly veggies like green beans, asparagus and mushrooms.
  • This biryani needs just a simple raita, like this vegan cucumber raita, to make a wholesome, amazing meal.
  • You can also serve this with a Mirch ka Salan, a spicy curry biryani is often served with in India, and which would work very well for a low-carb diet.
  • You can refrigerate the biryani for up to three days. It tastes even better the next day.
  • For longer storage freeze in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Thaw and reheat before eating.


Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Potassium: 458mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 450IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg