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The Best Indian Spices for Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking

The Best Indian Spices for Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, Indian cuisine is your new best friend. With an abundance of spices, flavours, and plant-based ingredients, Indian food is a treasure trove for those who prefer a meatless diet. But with so many spices to choose from, where do you start? Let us help you! Here are some of the best Indian spices for vegetarian and vegan cooking.


Cumin is an earthy, smoky spice commonly used in Indian cuisine. And it’s a staple in vegetarian and vegan cooking because of its ability to add depth of flavor to dishes without overwhelming them. You can add it to your lentil soups, vegetable curries, and spice blends like garam masala.


Known for its vibrant yellow color and earthy, slightly bitter flavor, turmeric is a staple in Indian cuisine. It’s even a key ingredient in golden milk, a popular vegan beverage made with turmeric, coconut milk, and other spices.


Looking for a versatile spice that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes? Turn to coriander. With a citrusy, slightly sweet flavor, coriander is often used in Indian chutneys, curries, and marinades. Coriander is available in ground powder or premium whole seeds.


Cardamom is a sweet, aromatic spice commonly present in chai tea and Indian desserts. It has a warm, slightly spicy flavor that adds depth to rice dishes and curries. That’s enough reason to add cardamom to your list of go-to vegan spices.

Garam Masala

With ingredients like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, and coriander, garam masala is a powerhouse Indian spice blend. You can use it in a variety of Indian food, including curries, rice dishes, and even desserts. Best of all, it adds warmth and depth of flavor to any dish. No wonder it has become a must-have for any vegetarian or vegan pantry.


Fenugreek is an Indian herb that offers a slightly bitter taste, making it perfect for chutney, pudding, and other Indian dishes. You can use Fenugreek seeds or ground powder, depending on your preference.

Mustard Seeds

Do you want to explore preparing Indian pickles and chutneys? Get mustard seeds. They have a pungent, slightly spicy flavor and add a nice crunch to your spread or pickles. They are available in yellow and brown varieties.


Asafetida is a staple resin in Indian cooking. It has a pungent, sulfurous odor and is often used as a substitute for onions and garlic in recipes. It features a strong flavor that will mellow after cooking your dish (so don’t worry!).

Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are often used in Indian cooking to add a sweet, licorice-like flavor to dishes. So if you’re looking to elevate your vegan or vegetarian cooking, start exploring fennel seeds. They are also a good source of fiber. Not a fan of seeds? You can use fennel ground powder.


Want to try making Indian desserts for your vegetarian or vegan diet? Stock up on nutmeg. It is a sweet, aromatic spice often used in Indian desserts and chai tea. It offers a warm, slightly spicy flavor and can be used to add depth of flavor to savory dishes like curries.
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