7 Indian Menu Ideas for Vegetarians

23 Sep

It is one thing to know how to cook individual Indian dishes, quite another to combine the dishes harmoniously into an appetizing meal. Rajma masala and chhole masala are fantastic house party food, but would you serve them together? Not if you have a modest number of items on the menu. You love pooris as much as you love kadhi, but you would pair them with each other? Not if you want to kill the essence of both.

There are flavors that cohere and flavors that clash. You wouldn’t put multiple items of the same genre – such as gourds or dals – in the same meal. Pooris would possibly go with potato curry, kadhi would most definitely get served with plain rice.

If you are new to Indian cooking, planning a meal might seem like a gargantuan task. It isn’t really. I’ll help you with some tips to  make the right decisions while creating an Indian menu for vegetarians. And I’ll give you sample Indian meal menus that work.

Tips for Planning an Indian Menu

Indian Menu Ideas

Here are food combinations that I like and recommend. Feel free to mix and match – do keep note of the tips above when you do!

Day 1:

Baby eggplant in poppy seed sauce
Tomato toor dal
Spinach raita
Sweet mango chutney
Parathas / Steamed rice

Day 2:

Rajma masala
Okra stir fry
Brussels sprouts sautéed in butter
Bottle gourd raita
Coriander chutney
Steamed rice

Day 3:

Gobi masala
Potatoes in mustard sauce
Crispy green eggplant slices
Moong and onion raita
Aamras
Pooris

Day 4:

Bhindi do pyaza
Chana dal with raisins
Pickled carrots
Mint raita
Chapatis / Jeera rice

Day 5:

Ridge gourd moong dal
Crispy plaintain fry
Mixed vegetable raita
Tomato ginger peanut chutney
Chapatis / Steamed rice

Day 6:

Paneer kasoori methi
Aloo tamatar curry with nigella seeds
Carrot onion raita 
Parathas
Mint and cashew pulao

Day 7:

Methi chhole
Cheesy zucchini
Pineapple raita
Tamarind jaggery chutney
Flatbread spiced Indian-style
Jeera rice

I hope these tips will help with planning Indian menus for vegetarians. Have fun and eat well!

 Indian menu ideas

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11 Responses to “7 Indian Menu Ideas for Vegetarians”

  1. Tadka Pasta September 23, 2012 at 9:54 PM #

    Hey! Lovely post. So many nice ideas and combinations. Will definitely look this up the next time I’m planning a more elaborate meal than my usual dal-roti-sabzi :))

    • S September 29, 2012 at 9:52 PM #

      Thank you :-)

      PS: I’m sure your meals are very creative without having to look anything up :-) :-)

      • Tadka Pasta October 10, 2012 at 2:40 PM #

        Haha, not really. My 2 at home have very standard tastes..so I end up cooking the same stuff over and over. And then I have this standard list of dishes that I make when people come over. So..good to mix it up a little :)

  2. Uma @ Centsible Indian December 18, 2014 at 1:59 AM #

    Never gave much thought to the colors of the dishes. I mostly cook similar dishes throughout the week and add 1-2 special dishes. Weekend cooking is much colorful as I have more time. Good information. Thanks..

  3. Madiha April 19, 2015 at 3:31 PM #

    Hi there,

    Thank you for this lovely blog. I am not a vegetarian myself so really needed help on how to organise a mix of vege dishes. I had a direct question:
    If I’m making
    sarson and methi saag (where the dominant taste is sarson) with
    Makai roti and
    Kheer for dessert,
    then what other items can I keep to go along.

    I had initially thought methi aaloo but then thought too much methi… I could make potatoe and Rosemary cutlets (or rosti) that I’ll serve with a green chutni; and was thinking about Bharey huay baigan. What do you recommend?

    I hope to hear from you soon! 😊

    • S April 19, 2015 at 4:05 PM #

      Hi Madiha,

      Interesting question! Traditionally, “makke ki roti and sarson ka saag” is a complete combo meal by itself (much like pao bhaji or bisi bele bhath) – other accompaniments if any are kept minimal. You could serve these on the side:

      1. Indian-style salad: sticks of carrot + radish + cucumber + fresh green chilies, mixed with lime juice and black salt
      2. Cubes of butter
      3. Lassi, raita or buttermilk
      4. Jaggery (yes – it’s beautiful to bite into this blob of brown goodness between mouthfuls of saag)
      5. Green chutney/mango pickle

      I like your idea of cutlets/rosti with chutney, which could be had as a course independent the makki roti and sarson saag main.

      All the best :-)

  4. Shyolive May 27, 2015 at 10:30 AM #

    I am looking for a easy and quick to make recipe to make Dhai Bhendi and green chutney stuffed brinjals [baby brinjals with potatoes.

    Also please can you share a dal which is light and with raw mango
    Looking forward to an early reply.

  5. varsha desai September 13, 2015 at 12:41 PM #

    thats great 7 day menu,,,but could we have
    recipies too,,,especially chutneys

    • S September 13, 2015 at 8:21 PM #

      Hi Varsha,

      Glad you like the 7-day menu.

      All the dish names in the menu link to their recipes. Just click on the name to get the recipe!

  6. Sia May 27, 2016 at 1:50 AM #

    Hi there,
    thank you for such a nice blog! These are very good combo meal plans. I haven’t checked all the recipes but I’m sure those must be great and would definitely like to plan for such varieties in my meals. I also liked your tips for planning a menu.

    I just wanted to ask, if you want to elaborate this menu for a party,(means 1 starter/appetizer, 1 gravy subzi, 1 dry subzi, 1 side dish, salad / raita / chutney, rice &/ daal , chapati / paratha / poori & 1 dessert)
    then what would be the remaining items (starter/ side & dessert) to be paired with all of these meal plans?
    I’m not very good in desserts so I end up making same selected items every time.
    Can you give some more tips for house party organization, like how to welcome the guests, how to arrange the dinner table, presentation etc.
    Hope to hear from you upon this soon.

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