Here’s a hearty, vegan cauliflower rice biryani loaded with masala tofu and spiced chickpeas. This recipe is bursting with spices and flavors. Even better, it is full of protein and fiber!!
While I have used my Cuisinart Air Fryer (which I am beginning to love) for this recipe; please do not fret if you don’t have one. You can absolutely do the same steps over the stovetop or the oven and get similar results. The air fryer just helps with batch processing the ingredients. So don’t worry, if you don’t have one!!
This is a straightforward recipe.
- Air fry the cauliflower (or oven roast or pan roast)
Roasting the cauliflower gives it a good caramelized flavor and eliminates the raw, gassy taste. I have used this method of pre-roasting the cauliflower in other cauliflower rice recipes and have got great results from this process.
In this recipe, I placed 4 cups of shredded cauliflower in the air fryer tray @350F for 10 minutes. I open the air fryer once in between to stir the cauliflower rice and ensure uniform roasting.
- Marinate the tofu with spices and air fry (or oven roast or pan roast)
I flavored the tofu with turmeric, chili, salt and amchur (dried mango for the tang) and placed the tofu pieces in the air fryer – 350F for 10 minutes, stirring once in between.
You can use a regular oven or pan roast it with a little oil for similar results. But, I must say – Daaayymmm, I was impressed!! The air fryer did such a good job with the tofu – Delicious!!
- Coat chickpeas with spices and air fry (or oven roast or pan roast)
To cooked chickpeas, add olive oil, salt and chana masala (which is like a tangy garam masala) and place in air fryer 350 F for 10 minutes, stirring once in between.
The chickpeas come out nice and crunchy and are a flavorful snack by themselves in addition to making the biryani full of plant based protein.
- Stir fry everything together with biryani spices
Biryani also usually comes with fried onions on top. Instead of spending time chopping and waiting a long time for them to fry – I used dried onion flakes instead. They fry beautifully in the oil in just a few seconds. Time saved!!
After frying the onion and making them crunchy, I drained the oil on to a pan and used the oil for making the biryani. Oil saved!!
Whole spices are used when flavoring dishes like biryani. They impart both taste and add fragrance to the dish. Fry the whole spices.
Now add chili powder, the roasted cauliflower rice, air fried tofu, roasted chickpeas, coriander leaves one by one. Stir fry on high heat. Switch off the heat and add lemon juice at the end.
Cauliflower Rice Biryani with Masala Tofu and Spiced ChickpeasCourse: RecipesCuisine: Indian
Here’s a hearty, vegan cauliflower rice biryani loaded with masala tofu and spiced chickpeas. This healthy recipe is bursting with spices and flavors. Even better, it is full of protein and fiber!!
Cauliflower Rice – 4 cups (shredded cauliflower)
- Spicy Chickpeas
Cooked Chickpeas – 1 cup
Oil – 1 Tbsp
Chole Masala* – 1/2 tsp
- Masala Tofu
Firm Tofu – 1lb
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Chili Powder – 1/4 tsp
Amchur Powder (Dry Mango)* – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp or to taste
- Biryani Spices
Oil – 2 Tbsp
Ginger paste – 1/2 tsp
Garlic paste – 1/2 tsp
Bay Leaf – 1
Fennel Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Stick – 2 in piece
Cloves – 2
Cardamom Pod – 1 large
Dried Onion Flakes – 2 Tbsp
Chopped Coriander leaves – 1/4 cup
Lemon juice – from 1/2 lemon
- Prep Cauliflower Rice, Tofu and Chickpeas
- Cauliflower Rice – Using a hand grater or food processor; make cauliflower rice out of cauliflower. Next, roast the cauliflower. Place 4 cups of shredded cauliflower in the air fryer tray @350F for 10 minutes, stirring once in between.
- Tofu – Drain tofu out of the packet and cube them. Mix tofu with turmeric, chili, salt and amchur powder. Place the tofu pieces in the air fryer – 350F for 10 minutes, stirring once in between.
- Chickpeas – To 1 cup cooked chickpeas, add olive oil, salt and chana masala. Mix well and place in air fryer 350 F for 10 minutes*, stirring once in between.
- Biryani Process
- Fry 2 Tbsp onion flakes in oil. Once they get crunchy, drain the oil out and keep the fried onion aside.
- To the drained oil (from step 1), add ginger paste, garlic paste, fennel seeds, bay leaf, cinammon, cardamom and cloves and stir fry on high heat.
- Add chili powder and stir fry for a few seconds. Now start adding the roasted riced cauliflower, roasted chickpeas and roasted tofu. Stir well.
- Top with chopped coriander, fried onions. Stir well. Switch off heat. Add lemon juice, stir and serve.
- Ingredient Substitutions: Instead of Chole Masala, use Garam Masala. Instead of Amchur powder, you can sprinkle 2tsp lemon juice.
- I use frozen ginger and garlic cubes from Trader Joes. You can use fresh paste.
- Chickpeas (while air frying): At 10 minutes, the air fryer makes the chickpeas crunchy, but a little dry. But the kids liked it. Start taking them out at 8 minutes and assess based on your personal taste.
- Air Fryer not essential: The air frying process can be easily replaced by pan roasting the tofu, chickpeas and cauliflower rice on the stove or baking in the oven instead.
The problem with traditional biryani filled with rice, protein and fats is that it is often calorie-loaded and makes you want to take a nap after eating them. This cauliflower rice version makes this dish so much healthier than the carb+fat feast-fest with the traditional method.
I hope you enjoyed this “Cauliflower Rice Biryani loaded with Masala Tofu and Spiced Chickpeas” recipe. Do try it and post your thoughts and comments below. I look forward to reading them.
If you are interested in other cauliflower-rice dishes (Indian style), check out:
- Lemon Rice (made with cauliflower rice)
- Coconut Rice (made with cauliflower rice)
- Sesame Rice (made with cauliflower rice)
Stay safe, stay Positive and sending my love to all of you!!
Here’s the amazon affiliate link for the Cuisinart Air Fryer I have.