Vegetable biryani: Jamie Oliver's take is tasty AND healthy

Get the family eating plenty of veg with Jamie’s take on a classic vegetable biryani dish. It’s tasty and good for you

Tesco and Jamie Oliver Veggie Biriyani
(Image credit: Tesco)

Got a craving for curry, but thinking healthy? We’ve found the solution for you in this take on vegetable biryani from one of our favourite chefs, Jamie Oliver. And while it may be a good-for-you version of the dish, it doesn’t stint on flavour: you can take our word for it that you won’t feel like you’ve missed out on the real deal.

This curry also wins points for sneaking a whole lot of vegetables past picky kids (and adults) and, because it’s a vegetarian curry, it’s great for families that include non meat-eaters, or if you’re trying to boost the number of meat-free meals you eat per week. 

Discover how to make this fab curry, below, and visit our food hub for plenty more great recipes and cooking inspiration.

  • Special thanks to Tesco (opens in new tab) for sharing this recipe with us

Jamie Oliver’s vegetable biryani

(Image credit: Tesco)

Want to get prepped to make Jamie Oliver’s kinda veggie biryani? You will need:

  • 450g basmati rice
  • 3 onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 600g ripe tomatoes on the vine, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped and deseeded, if preferred
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 200g paneer, diced
  • 250g frozen spinach
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped including stalks
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • Ground turmeric, for dusting
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF/GM6. Cook rice according to packet instructions, drain, and leave to cool.

2. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a large, shallow ovenproof pan over a medium heat, and add the onions, garlic and ginger, plus the curry powder. Cook, stirring, for 15 minutes or until golden.

3. Add the roughly chopped tomatoes and chilli to the pan, and stir in the tomato purée. Cook for around 5 minutes until softened, breaking up the tomatoes as you go.

4. To prepare the cauliflower, break it into bite-size florets, and trim and finely chop the stalk. If there are any good leaves, roughly chop these, too. Add to the pan with the diced paneer, and spinach, plus 100ml of water. Stir to combine, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

5. Take the pan off the heat and stir the yoghurt through the mixture. Season. Set aside half the mixture. Sprinkle half the chopped coriander over the remaining mixture in the pan, and half the cooled rice, and dust with turmeric. Add the set-aside mixture on top, then another layer of coriander, then the remaining rice, and dust again with turmeric.

6. Drizzle with a little olive oil, then put the pan into the lowest part of the oven for 25 minutes or until the curry is golden and crisp. Jamie suggests serving with poppadoms and mango chutney. Us? We like a naan, too.

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Sarah Warwick
Freelance Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.