This quick and delicious bean vindaloo recipe is my answer to cravings for Indian curry take out. Sweet onions, warming ginger, spices, crushed tomato and splashes of vinegar and lemon infuse the creamy kidney beans with so much flavour. Low in fat but high in protein, iron, complex carbohydrates and fiber, this vegan vindaloo is much healthier than the meaty versions and can be made in 30 minutes! Click here for the printable recipe.
Video tutorial for Vegan Vindaloo
After watching too many episodes of Red Dwarf in one sitting, I just had to have some spicy Indian curry. Lister, one of the main characters, had a particular affection for chicken vindaloo so after that marathon, I had vindaloo stuck in my brain. So I was compelled to create a vegan version. Fortunately, I found that it wasn’t difficult to round up all the spices and other ingredients. And kidney beans turned out to be an amazing substitute for the meat since they absorbed all the flavours easily and take less time, especially since I always have a batch of cooked beans in the fridge or freezer these days.
Making Vegan Bean Vindaloo
I find it easiest and quickest to assemble all my ingredients before starting to cook. Especially when dealing with several spices. Don’t be intimidated by the list of spices though; I found them easily at my local supermarket and you just dump them into this recipe. If you prefer to use a vindaloo spice mix, go ahead. Every spice mix is a bit different but you’ll probably need about two tablespoons of spice mix.
Start by sautéing sliced onions in a deep heavy pot over medium high heat. I prefer to use red onions both for flavour and for the extra phytonutrients that come with purple vegetables but you can use any onions you like. Cook the onions until they are quite soft, lose much of their purple color (if yours were purple to begin with) and start to turn golden. This takes about 12 minutes for me.
Then add your spices: cumin seeds and mustard first. I only had ground mustard but if you have mustard seeds that would be great. It will take a few seconds for the cumin seeds and mustard to become fragrant, then add ginger, garlic, ground coriander, cloves, black pepper, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, and crushed red chilli peppers. I used half a teaspoon of crushed red chillies and turned out to be a pleasant medium spicy heat level for me. Use your discretion though; I love spice! When in doubt, use half as much. You can always make food spicier; it’s much more difficult to make it milder. The garlic in my photo has turned blue because I crushed it and stored it in the fridge for a day. FYI, that blue colour is totally normal and safe to eat. Cook for an additional minute, stirring every so often so the garlic and ginger don’t burn.
Then add cooked and drained kidney beans, crushed tomato, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and salt. Usually, vindaloo uses white vinegar and/or tamarind paste for the tangy flavour. I didn’t have those things and I really really like balsamic vinegar so that’s why I used balsamic. You use what you like. This is your vegan bean vindaloo and there are no rules!
I chose kidney beans in particular for this recipe just because I really like them. I like their size and colour for this type of dish. The creaminess. And the flavour. Even though beans mostly taste similar to me. I’m not that much of a bean connoisseur. Plus, back in the days when I was all about knowing all the protein counts of stuff in stuff, I picked kidney beans as one of the most nutritious. Black beans are up there too, but I prefer the look, taste and texture of kidney beans. But you can use any bean you like for this recipe. Or even use tofu!
You can save the bean liquid as aquafaba! Aquafaba makes a fabulous egg replacer in many baked recipes. It’s even used for vegan meringue!
Turn the heat up, cover, and let this simmer for 10 – 15 minutes so everything gets hot and the flavours mingle together. Afterwards, taste. Then add some lemon juice. Taste again and adjust. You might want to add more lemon, balsamic vinegar, salt, or spice. This recipe ‘as is’ is perfect for me but taste is so personal. It’s up to you! I served this bean vindaloo with turmeric coconut rice (literally rice cooked on the stove with a dollop of coconut cream and a 1/2 teaspoon or so of ground turmeric) for the photos. But throughout the week, I have had it by itself, on top of macaroni noodles, or with bread.
Please let me know if you try this recipe and share your experience in the comments. Also, if you want to support this blog, please share the recipes on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or wherever you hang out online. It would really help me out.
Printable recipe for Vegan Vindaloo / Kidney Bean Vindaloo
- 1 cup sliced red onion (about 1/2 medium sized onion)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilies
- 1" knob of ginger, peeled + crushed
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6 cups cooked kidney beans (about 2 large cans drained)
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
- Saute onions over medium-medium high heat for 10 minutes or until golden. Add cumin seeds and mustard and cook 30 seconds. Add the rest of the spices, garlic, and ginger and cook 1 more minute.
- Add crushed tomatoes, beans, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and salt. Turn the heat up and cook until bubbling; about 6 minutes. Turn down to a simmer and cook ten more minutes.
- Taste, then add lemon juice. Stir and taste again. Adjust acid/sweet/salt/spicy heat to your preference. Keep in mind that it will get more spicy hot as it rests. Enjoy!