Our Easy Vegan Vindaloo is a Goan inspired curry that can be prepared on the stove-top or slow cooker for a deliciously easy family meal. No food processor required! Just simple family friendly tasty food that's perfect for vegans, vegetarians, plant-based diets, no-oil diets, gluten-free diets, omnivores, and anyone and everyone who loves good meat-free family meals prepared with tasty veggies!
Each bite of our Vegan Vindaloo is sweet, spicy, tangy, savoury, and topped with a home-made plant-based raita its also deliciously fresh and creamy.
History of Vindaloo curry
Vindaloo dates back to the 1400s and is a mix of cooking traditions from both Portugal and India. Vindaloo evolved from The Portuguese traditional meal called "Carne de Vinha d'Alhos," which in essence was a dish of meat that had been marinaded in garlic and wine. Portuguese sailors during their voyages to India in the 15th century used the wine and garlic to help preserve the meat during the long sea journeys.
When vindaloo made its way to Goa, a state in India that was a Portuguese colony until 1961, it was adapted to suit local tastes. Palm vinegar, local spices and chilli peppers were added to the dish to create a spicy and tangy Vindaloo. Vindaloo is usually made with pork, but chicken, lamb, or beef are also common, and meat-free versions are becoming increasingly popular.
Vindaloo is now a traditional favourite of Goan cooking, and due to Kashmiri chilli powder it is famous for its bright red colour. Although, the traditional Goan Vindaloo is not as spicy as its British curry house counterpart, which is often amped up to suit a different palate that expects Vindaloo to be extremely spicy. So, a home-cooked Vindaloo can be as spicy or as mild as you like!
Our Vegan Vindaloo Curry is not an authentic Indian vindaloo curry rather it is inspired from the delicious flavours of the Goan curry and it is our family adaptation on the tasty meal. You can prepare this meat-free vindaloo either on the stove-top or the slow-cooker, and as its a quick and easy vindaloo you won't need a food processor to prepare the curry paste.
How to prepare easy vegan vindaloo
It's easy to prepare this vegan version of a vindaloo, there is no need to blend up any spices, and while it is not claiming to be an authentic vindaloo it is a delicious meat-free version that is perfect for at home budget-friendly Take-Outs or Fake-Aways.
We use coconut oil to cook the marinaded spices, onions, garlic, and no-pork plant-based pieces, but for a no-oil vindaloo you can easily use vegetable broth or stock instead.
Also, you can replace the meat-free pieces with cooked butter beans [lima beans], mushrooms, tofu, tempeh, seitan, jack fruit, vegan Quorn pieces, or even small cauliflower or broccoli florets]
1. First gather all your ingredients - vegan meat-free pieces [or an alternative], sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, canned kidney beans, canned chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, curry powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, paprika powder, coconut oil, sugar, salt & black pepper.
2. Add the meat-free pieces to a bowl and add the marinade ingredients -
tomato paste, fine chopped garlic and diced onion, red wine vinegar, curry powder, chilli powder, paprika powder, turmeric powder, sugar, salt and black pepper.
3. Stir well and leave to marinade.
4. This step is best done in advance, such as a few hours before cooking, or even better the day before.
5. Melt the coconut oil in a pan. Or for an oil-free curry heat up a half cup [120mililitres] of veggie stock.
6. Add the marinade and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
7. Next add the sweet potato chunks, kidney beans, canned tomatoes and vegetable stock.
8. Give it a good stir, pop a lid over the pan, and cook for 8-10 minutes until the potatoes are nice and soft.
9. Remove the lid and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with coriander. A squeeze of lemon juice and a few pinches of sugar can be stirred through to balance the flavours if necessary.
10. A few spoonfuls of home-made cucumber raita is a nice addition, as is a sprinkle of chilli flakes or paprika flakes.
11. Rice and naan breads are the perfect side-dishes.
Optional garnish - vegan raita
Preparing a home-made vegan raita is very quick and easy, and only 3 ingredients are required - plant-based yogurt, fresh mint leaves, and cucumber. If you really don't like fresh mint then you can always omit this ingredient, and if dried mint is all that you have then just stick that in!
1. You don't really need a recipe to make up a raita as all you do is dice up some cucumber and finely chop some mint leaves.
2. The exact amounts are personal preference and you can choose to pack lots into the yogurt or just a few tablespoons.
3. The amount of yogurt you need will depend on how many will be eating it but on average go for 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt per person.
Variation: How to prepare vegan vindaloo in the slow cooker
You can use the exact same ingredients for the stove-top vindaloo for the slow cooker variation.
However, we choose to make a few changes - dried soya chunks or textured vegetable protein [TVP] instead of vegan meat-free chunks, and onion powder & garlic powder instead of their fresh counterparts. We also replaced the canned chopped tomatoes with tomato passata.
We used 100 grams of TVP chunks, 1 tablespoon of onion powder and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, and 300 millilitres of passata.
1. Before using the soya chunks they will need to be rehydrated - add the chunks to a heat-proof bowl and cover with 600 milliliters [2 ½ cups] of boiling or hot water.
2. Stir through a few vegetable stock or bouillon cubes. We used two OXO meat-free beef flavour cubes.
3. Leave the chunks to soak for at least 30 minutes.
4. Once soaked drain the liquid into a jug as you will use some of it for the curry.
5. Place the soya chunks and sweet potato into the slow cooker.
6. Next, add the curry powder, turmeric powder, paprika powder, chilli powder, onion powder, garlic powder, tomato paste, coconut oil, red wine vinegar, kidney beans, sugar, salt & pepper.
7. Pour in the chopped tomatoes or passata and 240 millilitres or 1 cup of the drained soaking liquid.
8. Give it all a good stir, turn the heat setting to high, and leave to cook for 4 hours. Stir through fresh coriander and season to taste.
Fresh coriander (also known as cilantro) is a tasty garnish for most curries. Interestingly, some individuals may have a natural aversion to the herb, describing its taste as 'soapy.' This perception is actually linked to genetics, specifically the OR6A2 gene, which makes them sensitive to certain aldehyde chemicals found in coriander. So, if you find that you're not a fan of this herb, don't worry! You can easily substitute it with alternatives like sliced spring onions (also known as green onions), fresh parsley, mint, sweet basil or Thai basil, chives, or thin slices of red onion.
Store leftovers within a refrigerator for 3 days. Or freeze leftovers for 2-3 months. The uncooked marinade can be prepped and stored within the refrigerator up to 2 days before cooking.
Reheat by adding leftovers to a non-stick pan and add a small amount of vegetable stock or perhaps some coconut milk to loosen up the sauce if it has become very thick. Over a medium heat, stir and heat through for a few minutes until piping hot.
Yes, however you will need to use a gluten-free vegetable stock and check that your curry spices are free from gluten ingredients. Although red wine vinegar is usually gluten-free its always best to check for gluten ingredients on all packaged ingredients just to be 100% certain, and if you are using meat-free pieces then choose a gluten-free variety.
Preparing the marinade in advance is a great time saver but it will also allow the flavours to develop and become even more tasty. The marinade can be prepared a few hours in advance or 1-2 days in advance and stored within the refrigerator.
Yes, you can easily make this curry oil-free. If you're cooking on the stovetop, simply replace the coconut oil with vegetable stock to sauté the marinated ingredients.
For the slow cooker version, there's no need for either the coconut oil or the vegetable stock, as the marinated ingredients do not need to be sautéed beforehand. However, for those who want to keep the coconut oil it can still be added along with the rest of the ingredients as it can provide extra flavours and richness.
Tofu, tempeh, seitan, vegan Quorn pieces, or canned jackfruit can be used instead of vegan meat-free pieces or chunks. Alternatively, soya curls, or dried soya chunks or textured vegetable protein [TVP] could be used but do rehydrate these before using in the recipe. Or go with mushrooms or cooked butterbeans [lima beans] or chickpeas, or a vegetable such as broccoli or cauliflower.
Yes, you can replace the sweet potato with butternut squash, acorn squash, cauliflower, eggplant [aubergine] ordinary potatoes, or parsnips.
Chickpeas are a good alternative but any cooked pulse or bean can be used.
Yes, you can definitely use a vindaloo curry paste or spice mix as a convenient alternative to the individual spices in our recipe. Pre-made pastes and mixes often contain a blend of spices commonly used in vindaloo, such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, and red chilli. Although, be sure and check the ingredients for any animal-based ones.
If you're using a curry paste, you can add it to the marinade as per the recipe and omit the individual spices and garlic. Although, the garlic can be kept if preferred. Depending on the intensity of the paste, you may need to adjust the quantity to get the desired level of spiciness and flavour.
For a dry spice mix, you can add it to the marinade instead of the spice powders, and you can either keep or omit the garlic. Use the instructions on the package to gauge how much spice mix to use.
A vindaloo is traditionally considered one of the spicier Indian curries. It originated in the Goa region of India and is known for its combination of vinegar, garlic, and a generous amount of chilli peppers. However, the level of spiciness can vary depending on how it's made and the first Goan vindaloos may not have been as spicy compared to western restaurant versions!
In Western adaptations of vindaloo, especially in Indian restaurants in the UK, US, and Australia, the heat level can often be adjusted to suit individual preferences. Some restaurants will ask you how spicy you'd like your vindaloo, offering options ranging from mild to very hot.
We only add one teaspoon of hot chilli powder to our vindaloo recipe as our family members are light-weights when it comes to spiciness! Also our chilli powder that we source in the UK supermarkets is quite hot as its not a blend of spices rather just ground chilli's.
However, if your family love spiciness then do add extra chilli powder until its at the spice level you prefer. Additionally, fresh red chilli's can be added to the marinade as well as used as a garnish. Or perhaps add some dried chilli flakes to the curry either during cooking or as a garnish.
Yes, the term "chilli powder" can mean different things in the UK and the US.
In the UK, Chilli powder usually refers to pure ground dried red chilies. The heat level can vary and the powder can be labelled as - mild, medium or hot.
In the US, Chili powder (often spelled with one "l") is generally a blend of ground chili peppers and other spices like cumin, garlic powder, and sometimes oregano. It is milder compared to the British version due to the addition of these other spices so American recipes usually call for a lot more chili powder compared to British recipes.
Many traditional recipes use Kashmiri chilli powder as it gives the vindaloo a bright red colour. Kashmiri chilli powder is a type of chilli powder that is made from a specific variety of red chilli peppers grown in the Kashmir region of India and as it has a moderate heat level its a good choice for those who like less spicy curries.
The best vinegars to use are either malt vinegar or red wine vinegar, but white distilled vinegar or even balsamic vinegar are also good choices.
Rice, noodles, naan breads, chapati's, flatbreads, pakoras, samosas, potato chips or fries, lentil dahl, Chana chat [spicy chickpeas], Saag aloo [potato and spinach], cucumber raita or plant-based yogurt, vegan sour cream or creme fraiche, mango chutney, mint chutney, onion chutney, are all tasty accompaniments.
Yes, our vegan vindaloo is delicious prepared in the slow cooker. See the recipe below this question for a detailed method.
More vegan curry recipes
Here are a few more deliciously easy vegan curry meals that are our family's favourites - this Vegan Thai Red Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Chickpea Curry, Aloo Gobi, Red Lentil & kale Dahl, and for a tasty soup this Curried Chickpea & Parsnip always goes down a treat.
For more meat-free and veggie packed curry meals do check out our Vegan Curry Recipes collection. More recipes added all the time as home-made curry is one of our family's favourite meals.
- Vegan Thai Red Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Chickpea Curry55 Minutes
- Aloo Gobi [Cauliflower and Potato Curry]1 Hours 5 Minutes
- Easy Budget-Friendly Red Lentil And Kale Dahl40 Minutes
- Curried Chickpea and Parsnip Soup50 Minutes
The spicy, tangy, and sweet notes of our vegan vindaloo are beautifully complimented by a tasty dollop of home-made cucumber raita - which is simply plant-based yogurt, diced cucumber and shredded mint stirred together!
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Easy Vegan Vindaloo
- Non-stick large skillet, deep fry pan, Wok, or similar with a lid, or use a heat-proof plate
- Mixing bowl
- 280 grams vegan meat-free chunks [or an alternative see recipe notes]
- 6 large garlic cloves [fine diced or minced, or replace with 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, or 1-2 tablespoons garlic puree]
- 1 medium-large onion [diced, or 1 tablespoon of onion powder]
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar [or balsamic vinegar]
- 2 tablespoons curry powder [such as Madras]
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder [use mild, medium or hot depending on preferences, and use more chilli powder to taste]
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper [either powder or freshly ground]
- 1 teaspoon sugar [use your regular sugar, we used granulated]
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil [or replace with ¼ cup vegetable broth, adding more as required]
- 1 can kidney beans [400grams/ 14oz, drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked beans]
- 2 medium sweet potatoes [sliced into 1 inch pieces]
- 1 can chopped tomatoes [diced tomatoes] [400g/14oz can, or replace with passata]
- 240 millilitres vegetable stock
- fresh coriander [cilantro], sliced spring onions [green onions], fresh sliced red chilli's or chilli flakes
- home-made raita easy method in recipe notes
- To a bowl add the chilli powder, curry powder, paprika powder, garlic, red wine vinegar, black pepper, and meat-free chunks or an alternative. Give it all a good mix and place a cover or a plate over the bowl.This step can be prepped a day in advance, or at least a few hours before cooking.280 grams vegan meat-free chunks, 6 large garlic cloves, 1 medium-large onion, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon chilli powder, 1 teaspoon paprika powder, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Prepare the curry:
- Melt the coconut oil [or heat the vegetable broth] in a non-stick pan over a medium heat.2 tablespoon coconut oil
- Once hot add the marinade, scraping all the sauce into the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, while stirring frequently.
- Next, add the sweet potato chunks, kidney beans, canned tomatoes, and vegetable stock, give it all a good stir, pop a lid over the pan, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.1 can kidney beans, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 1 can chopped tomatoes [diced tomatoes], 240 millilitres vegetable stock
- Remove the lid and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- The curry will be ready once the sweet potato is nice and soft, so depending on the size of the chunks your curry may require a few more minutes. Add a little extra vegetable stock if required to the curry and pop a lid over the pan so that the sweet potato can cook through.
- Once cooked, season with salt and pepper. A small squeeze of fresh lemon can also be added if liked and a few pinches of sugar stirred through to balance the flavours if necessary.
- Sprinkle fresh coriander [cilantro], fresh chilli's and sliced spring onions [green onions] over each serving and add a few tablespoons of a simple home-made vegan raita. See recipe notes below for how to prepare raita.Sides of rice and naan breads are a delicious accompaniment.
Slow cooker variation:
- We used a 3.5 litre slow cooker which has a ceramic cooking pot. Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker. However, reduce the amount of canned tomatoes to ¾ of the can so just use 300grams [10 ½ oz]. Also, if preferred the coconut oil can be omitted and if you were replacing the oil with vegetable stock omit this as the extra liquid is not required in the slow cooker.280 grams vegan meat-free chunks, 6 large garlic cloves, 1 medium-large onion, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon chilli powder, 1 teaspoon paprika powder, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, 2 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 can kidney beans, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 1 can chopped tomatoes [diced tomatoes], 240 millilitres vegetable stock
- Switch to the high setting and cook for 4 hours. Once cooked the sweet potato will be soft and the curry sauce nice and thick. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Some chopped coriander stirred through the curry is a tasty addition as is some sliced spring onions [green onions] as a garnish.
- Please note: For our slow cooker vindaloo we made a few optional changes to the ingredients: we used 1 tablespoon of onion powder and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder instead of their fresh counterparts. And we replaced the canned tomatoes with tomato passata. We also replaced the meat-free chunks with 100grams of dried soya chunks or textured vegetable protein [TVP] and before adding to the slow cooker we rehydrated those in 600 millilitres of hot vegetable stock that we prepared with 2 OXO meat free beef flavour stock cubes. After 30 minutes of soaking, drain the liquid but keep it to use as the stock required for the recipe.
- Nutritional data is estimates only and is not an exact calculation as ingredients can vary.
- Store leftovers for 3 days within the refrigerator.
- Or freeze for 2-3 months.
- Reheat by adding to a non-stick pan and over a medium heat stir and heat until piping hot. A small amount of vegetable stock or coconut milk can be used to thin the sauce down in necessary.
- Instead of the individual spice powders - curry, chilli, turmeric, and paprika, - replace these with a few tablespoons of a vindaloo spice mix or paste. However, check the package instructions for guidance on how much to add to recipes especially if you are looking to moderate the spicy-heat level!
- Chilli powder in the US is often a blend of spices whereas in the UK chilli powder is ground red chilli's that vary in heat - mild, medium & hot.
- Adjust the chilli powder to taste - so add more if liked.
- If Kashmiri chilli powder is used you can add extra as it can be on the milder spice level - start with 2 tablespoons and add more to taste.
- We used plant-based Dopsu No-Pork pieces for our stove-top version and dried soya chunks for our slow cooker version.
- Meat-free chunks alternatives:
- rehydrated dried soya curls or soya chunks/textured vegetable protein chunks [TVP], tofu, seitan, tempeh, vegan Quorn pieces, butterbeans, chickpeas, or mushrooms]. For rehydrating soya chunks see the recipe above for the slow cooker variation.
- Easy home-made raita: [optional garnish]
- Add about 2-3 tablespoons of plain plant-based yogurt, per person, to a bowl and stir through diced cucumber and shredded mint leaves. The exact amounts will be personal preference so add as much as you like. If preferred omit the mint or use dried mint, or stir through a small amount of mint pickle.
- If you're having a side of rice you might like this optional garnish that we like to sprinkle over our cooked rice:
- Toasted coconut:
- Heat a small pan over a high heat, add a layer of desiccated coconut, along with some salt and pepper, and shake the pan back and forth. Turn the heat down to medium and once the coconut begins to brown remove the pan from the heat and shake or stir constantly until the coconut is a nice toasty brown colour. Instead of coconut use chopped cashews or peanuts, flaked almonds, or sunflower seeds.
- For more useful information do have a look at our recipe notes and FAQ section above this recipe card.
Prepared our Easy Vegan Vindaloo? We would love to know how you got on with the recipe so do pop back and let us know how you got on with the recipe, and click the star ratings. Thanks so much, Jacq x