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Your Guide to Deliciously Vegan South Indian Feasts & A 7-Day Meal Plan

South Indian food

Welcome, vegan food enthusiasts, to the vibrant world of South Indian cuisine! Did you know this culinary paradise hides a treasure trove of delicious vegan dishes? Indeed! South Indian cooking, with its focus on lentils, vegetables, and fragrant spices, naturally lends itself to plant-based adaptations. So, whether you’re a seasoned vegan or have just started on your journey, get ready to embark on a flavor adventure without straying from your ethical compass.

Here’s the structure of our blog: 

  • Part 1: Explore a comprehensive list of South Indian vegan breakfast and main course options, categorized for your convenience.
  • Part 2: Discover a sample 7-day meal plan featuring these delightful dishes.

Part 1: A South Indian Vegan Feast Awaits!

Savory Staples:

Fermented Delights:

  • Idli
  • Dosa
  • Neer Dosa
  • Uttapam
  • Punugulu

Lentil & Grain Sensations:

  • Upma
  • Khichdi
  • Rava Idli
  • Puliogare
  • Uggani Upma
  • Bhel Upma
  • Pongal

Regional Specialties:

Kerala:

  • Puttu
  • Appam
  • Idiyappam
  • Pathiri

Karnataka:

  • Mysore Masala Dosa
  • Davanagere Benne Dosa (make it with vegan ghee!)
  • Akki Roti (Rice flour Roti)
  • Mandakki Usli
  • Ragi Idli

Tamil Nadu:

  • Paruppu Vadai (Dal Vada)
  • Adai Dosa (Made of 3-4 varieties of lentils, rice and spices)
  • Paniyaram
  • Sevai Pongal

Andhra Pradesh & Telangana:

Dips & Condiments:

  • Coconut Chutney
  • Tomato Chutney
  • Mint Chutney
  • Peanut Chutney
  • Onion Kara
  • Sambar
  • Rasam

One-Bowl Wonders and Rice Items:

  • Bisi Bele Bath: This “hot, spicy rice” lives up to its name, a vibrant medley of rice, lentils, vegetables, and aromatic spices. Veganize it with coconut oil for a comforting, complete meal.
  • Puliogare: Tangy tamarind rice is a South Indian classic. Skip the traditional yogurt and embrace the citrusy zing of lemon juice or a dollop of vegan yogurt for a refreshing lunchbox staple.
  • Curd Rice: Vegan yogurt meets fluffy rice, seasoned with spices for a light and refreshing South Indian treat.
  • Vegetable Biryani: This fragrant layered rice dish can be enjoyed as a satisfying vegan feast. Use vegetable stock instead of ghee, pack it with your favorite veggies, and let the spices weave their magic for a celebratory meal.
  • Coconut Curry with Rice: Aromatic coconut milk, vibrant vegetables, and fragrant spices come together in this Kerala-style curry. Serve it with fluffy rice for a tropical twist on comfort food.
  • Tomato Rice: This simple yet flavorful dish is a pantry staple. Use coconut oil, add spices and chopped vegetables for extra punch, and enjoy it alongside raita or papad for a light and satisfying lunch.

Lentil Symphony – Protein Rich

  • Sambar and Rasam: The dynamic duo of South Indian cuisine, sambar (lentil and vegetable stew) and rasam (spicy lentil soup) offer a perfect balance of hearty warmth and tangy refreshment. 
  • Leafy Dals: Tur dal cooked with seasonal green leafy veggies and onion and tempered with spices. Serve it with roti, naan, or rice for a comforting and flavorful feast.
  • Kadala Curry: Chickpeas simmered in a fragrant gravy and coconut milk 

Chutneys and Pachadi:

  • Pachadi: Not just a chutney, it’s a flavor explosion! Imagine a spicy, tangy, nutty condiment made from fresh vegetables, fiery chilies, and aromatic spices. You can use tomatoes, green tomatoes, ridge gourd, brinjal, snake gourd, or leafy greens as the base. Whether served alongside steamed rice or used to dress up dosas and idlis, a good Pachadi adds a burst of vibrancy to any meal!

Vegetable Extravaganza:

  • Puli Kulambu (Tamarind Curry): Stir-fried vegetables are a vibrant canvas for your culinary creativity. Choose seasonal vegetables like okra, brinjal, or onion, and let the magic of coconut, spices, and a touch of tamarind in puliyal enchant your taste buds.
  • Aloo Gobi: This classic potato and cauliflower curry gets a vegan makeover with fragrant spices and coconut oil. Serve it with rice or roti.
  • Poriyal: From carrots to beans to cabbage, almost every vegetable shines in a Poriyal – Chopped, steamed veggies seasoned with aromatic spices and coconut, for a healthy and delicious side.

Part 2: 7-Day Vegan South Indian Meal Plan:

Day 1:

  • Breakfast: Idli with coconut chutney and tomato chutney
  • Lunch: Bisi Bele Bath with a side salad
  • Dinner: Carrot and beans Poriyal with roti

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: Dosa with onion karam and peanut chutney
  • Lunch: Veg Pulao with Kadala curry
  • Dinner: Aloo Gobi, sambhar with rice

Day 3:

  • Breakfast: Upma with sprouts and a drizzle of lemon juice
  • Lunch: Poriyal (mixed vegetable stir-fry) with rice and rasam
  • Dinner: Poori with potato masala

Day 4:

  • Breakfast: Uttapam with grated beetroot and carrot
  • Lunch: Salad with roasted chickpeas and lemon dressing
  • Dinner: Bhindi Fry (okra fry) with chapati and rice

Day 5:

  • Breakfast: Rava Idli with peanut chutney
  • Lunch: Boiled sweet corn, Masala Dosa with coconut potato filling
  • Dinner: Coconut Curry with rice and roasted eggplant

Day 6:

  • Breakfast: Quinoa Upma with chopped vegetables
  • Lunch: Boiled and tempered black-eyed peas, bise bille bath, and papad
  • Dinner: Beetroot Poriyal with vegan curd rice

Day 7:

  • Breakfast: Puliogare 
  • Lunch: Pachadi, rasam with rice
  • Dinner: Paniyaram with Onion Chutney (Kara Chutney)

Snacking choices:

  • Seasonal fruits
  • Roasted nuts
  • vegetable cutlets
  • coconut water
  • Vegan yogurt

There you have it – a comprehensive guide to mastering South Indian cuisine as a vegan!

This guide and meal plan was created by Sowndarya Ganeshan & Bhavya Vatrapu, who are on a mission to fight climate change with diet change through the Green Tuesday Initiative. True Queens!

Browse through our blogs to explore more vegan recipes. Sign up for our 10 Weeks to Vegan email challenge for everything you need to kickstart your vegan journey!

Join 10 Weeks to Vegan Instagram and Facebook groups and share your favorite vegan South Indian recipes with the community.

Be kind ❀

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