Travelling as a vegan or vegetarian isn’t always easy, depending on where you go. But that is decidedly not the case in Delhi, a city filled with plant-based options to satisfy every palate and budget. Here, our local guide gives you the lowdown on traditional local dishes that happen to be vegan along with recommendations for the top vegan restaurants, cafes, takeaways and shopping in the city. Happy eating!
There are a wide variety of vegan dishes to be found in Delhi, many of them on offer at street food stalls and carts, as well as in restaurants. But no matter what you’re ordering, be it from a food stall or a sit-down restaurant, always ask before you commit, to ensure that there are no sneaky dairy or other non-vegan ingredients to watch out for.
For starters, dosas, originating from the Indian subcontinent, are similar to a crepe in appearance. The main ingredients are rice and black gram, ground together in a fine, smooth batter with a dash of salt. Dosas are a typical part of the Southern Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil diets, but the dish is now popular all over India. Traditionally, dosas are served hot along with sambar, a stuffing of potatoes, and chutney.
A Masala dosa is a South Indian food wherein the dough is made of fermented rice and lentils, and the stuffing is prepared with potatoes. No animal products go into the making of this dish, making it suitable for vegans.
Bhelpuri is a popular street food snack all over India made with puffed rice, vegetables, and tamarind sauce. The crunchy, tangy dish makes for a great between-meal pick-me-up or just a simple snack to enjoy on the go.
Vegetable biryani is a fried rice dish made with an array of spices including nutmeg, cloves, coriander and mint, making for a savoury, fragrant plate of food. Just note that vegan travellers should ask for this dish to be made with oil rather than ghee.
Aloo gobi is a dry curry dish made with potatoes and cauliflower. The dish is flavoured with curry leaves and turmeric, giving it a golden yellow hue. Note that if the dish is served with a chapati, ask for no butter.
Pakoras are a tasty and addictive Indian snack that can usually be found in vegan form. The fritter-like dish is made with vegetables (and sometimes meat, so ask before you order), dipped in chickpea flour batter and deep fried. These tasty treats can be found at many street food stalls and markets, but just me sure to check they are meat and dairy-free before you dive in.
Bhutta is basically roasted corn on the cob, a popular summertime snack that can be found at many street food stalls for a healthy, vegan snack.
Vada pav is another street food staple that is often vegan and consists of a spicy potato patty sandwiched between pillowy bread. You’ll just need to ensure no milk solids went into either the bread or the potato patty.
The quaint Rose Cafe has an entire section of their menu dedicated to vegan dishes. Choose from salads (pumpkin or beetroot), open-face sandwiches, pasta, vegetarian shepherd’s pie and a bunch of desserts including vegan banana cake, apple cake and everyone’s favorite: dark chocolate gelato. The average price for one is around INR 500.
264, Westend Marg, Saiyad Ul Ajaib Extension, Sainik Farm, New Delhi
This popular spot recently launched a healthy menu made up of organic ingredients and superfoods. The menu here has several options for vegans, including soy-marinated tofu, spinach and millet soup, and quinoa salad – all good options for vegan travellers. They also have a selection of grab-and-go items. You can expect to pay around INR 800.
17, 1st Floor, Khan Market, New Delhi
This is a restaurant in Delhi that has an entirely vegetarian menu (with many vegan options). And the food is so good that you’ll legit forget about your chicken tikkas and mutton biryanis for some time. They also serve great bubble tea, which is actually one of the many reasons we keep going back to this restaurant. The average price for one is INR 900.
Select Citywalk, 2nd Floor, S-25, Saket, New Delhi
This place has to be the one restaurant that probably has the most vegan options on their menu. Even if there are things on their menu that aren’t vegan originally (like pizza), they offer vegan alternatives for an extra charge. You can expect to pay around INR 650 for one.
MR House, 4, Basant Lok Community Centre, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi
Those who love eating healthy swear by the food at Getafix, and no healthy menu is complete without vegan options. They offer vegan substitutes for their (delicious) smoothies, and the staff even makes a conscious effort to reduce the waste as much as possible (probably why you won’t be given straws at this restaurant). The average price for one is INR 600.
M-15, 1st Floor, Greater Kailash 1, New Delhi
Note that you can also get takeaway dishes at all of the establishments listed above if you’d rather take your vegan goodies to go.
Although India does not have any specific supermarkets that are specifically vegan, India is mostly known for its vegetarian food, meaning you can easily find vegan-friendly products at every market. Items like almond milk, olive oil, fresh produce, tofu and organic items are usually on offer. But when in doubt, ask before you buy.