Indian Vegan Street Foods

Even though we’ve not been aware of this, a lot of the food items available on Indian streets are vegan. So if you’re a vegan, or if you’re looking to eat out but still eat healthy, then we’ve got you covered with this list of 35 street foods which are vegan. After reading the names on this list, you may be left questioning why people say that vegan options are limited, so we’d suggest that you brace yourselves and come with us on this journey, rediscovering some of your favourite, and some unknown street food items, all of which are equal parts vegan and equal parts mouth watering.

  1. Veg Momos - This is a dish which clearly doesn’t need an introduction, especially in the states up north, where it is extremely popular. While the northern, chicken loving population doesn’t really appreciate the chicken momo’s vegetarian avatar, these delicious dumplings of veggie and spice filled joy can be enjoyed steamed by the health conscious folks and fried by the people who’re out for the entire experience. These filling and generally cheap snacks are generally offered with a spicy sauce and a mayonnaise, and by now, you definitely know which of those you’d want to definitely avoid.
  2. Aloo Tikkis - The Indian twist to french fries, aloo tikkis are patties which are made with a filling of potatoes along with peas, paneer or chana dal. These are served with chana masala or chole. Aloo Chaats are basically what you’d get if the contents of a plain aloo tikki were liberated from their fried casing, and were then tossed in a mix of chutneys, peas, onions and spices. Once again, while these dishes too are vegan in their natural state, they might be offered with curd or butter, so just be mindful of this and let the vendors know your preferences.
  3. Sev Puri - Another type of chat, this delicious street food essentially consists of a flat puri that’s  loaded with diced potatoes, chickpeas, onions and various types of chutneys, finally topped with, you guessed it, sev. However, do keep in mind that some vendors might offer sev puri along with curd, so let them know that you’d prefer yours without the curd.
  4. Vada Pav - Enjoyed almost all over the country, this delicious yet extremely simple food item has become pretty much a staple in Maharashtra, thanks to its filling nature, cheap prices and ample availability. It consists of a spicy and slightly larger variation of the aloo pakoda, that’s served in between pavs, almost like a desi burger, with a variety of chutneys being spread on both the buns to add a punch of delicious flavours. However, it’s good to keep 2 things in mind. Firstly, do verify form the vendor that the buns used don’t contain milk solids and Secondly, it’s better to stick with the simpler, or explicitly non vegan varieties, as some of the slightly more complicated variants often have cheese, butter or other similar products added for a taste, that you definitely aren’t looking for if you’re going through this list. 
  5. Parathas - Parathas are a food which can be both vegan and non vegan, depending on what they’re served with and on the filling that’s used to make them. Vegans have a lot of filling options to choose from. Aloo, Mooli, Pyaaz, Gobi, and pretty much any other veggie under the sun can be used to make the filling for delicious vegan parathas. Just let the vendor know to not serve yours with butter or curd. These are also called Parotha in Karnataka, Paratha or Paronthey in Punjab and Porotha in Assam.
  6. Dabeli - Similar to Vada pav, this dish consists of a pav. However, the aloo vada in between is replaced with a spicy potato mixture, along with some sev and some pomegranate seeds for good measure. Again do not forget to check for milk solids in the pav, and do ask your vendor to serve yours without any butter.   
  7. Bhutta - Whether you’re looking for something spicy, sour or sweet, corn has you covered. Roasted corn being served on the cob, can be found in all corners of the country in its season. This delicious snack is also completely vegan and can be enjoyed in its traditional form or in its sweet corn avatar everywhere, on the streetside, or even in malls.
  8. Bhel Puri - Another dish that’s inherently vegan, Bhel Puri consists of puffed rice and sev, mixed with a variety of other ingredients such as onions, chutney, potatoes and spices. It can be had as is, or can be enjoyed with a flatbread or a chip, and can be enjoyed both hot and cold. It is also called Bhel in many other states and Churmuri in Karnataka. Truly a vegan dish for all seasons.
  9. Jhal Muri - A mainstay of the streets of Kolkata, Jhal Muri is basically Bhel Puri, if Bhel Puri was given a Kolkata makeover. It is a spicy puffed rice snack that consists of puffed rice, raw mustard oil and spices. It is both a safe and a healthy option for all you vegans out there.
  10. Chole Bhature - Extremely Popular in the North, especially in Punjab and Delhi, Cholle Bhature consist of a fried bread that’s usually made of maida, which is served with spicy white chickpeas with a side of pickle and onions. While these are evidently vegan, the lassi that they’re sometimes served with isn’t. So this dish can be a satisfying delight for vegan foodies if they avoid the lassi and stick with plain bhaturas, instead of going with their paneer based cousins.
  11. Dosas - These South Indian Delicacies are available with a wide variety of fillings and flavours, most of which are vegan. These are extremely filling, healthy, generally cheap, and pretty easily available in most parts of the country. Though they are a genuine vegan treat, do ensure that yours are made with oil and not with butter or ghee.
  12. Pav Bhaji - Another entrant from the club of pavs, Pav Bhaji is as simple as it sounds; a veggie gravy served with light pavs. The gravy is usually made spicy and in some states is paired with large amounts of butter to reduce the thickness of the gravy and add a bit of flavour to it. But since we’re perfectly fine with thicker gravys and the usual flavour, do let the vendor know about your preferences while you place your order.
  13. Samosas - As the Borosil ad puts it best, Samosas are a delicately crisp wrap with a savoury or spicy filling. While the outer wrap is generally made of atta that is deep fired, the filling is made with potatoes, veggies and spices. While this dish is vegan, some of its variations, such as samosa chaat or samosa pav, are offered with curd or with butter and pav, so depending on which dish you’re eating let the vendor know to hold the butter or curd, and let the rest of it keep coming.
  14. Kachoris - Usually served as a deep fried, flat ball of flour, Kachoris are generally filled on the inside with yellow moong dal or urad dal along with spices. Different variations of this dish found across the country are either served with different fillings, or are served as either sweet dishes or even as chats in Delhi. However this snack is vegan in practically all of its avatars, so you can enjoy it even with your eyes closed.
  15. Rajma Chawal - This dish, which is extremely popular in Northern and Central India, consists of 2 main ingredients, rice and red beans. The rice is cooked normally, while the red beans (rajma) are traditionally made with onions and tomato purée which act as a gravy for the red beans. They can also be flavoured with a wide variety of spices such as chili peppers, cinnamon, bay leaves, ginger, garlic, coriander, and cumin. This dish can be found abundantly in most of Northern India, is decently healthy, and is also pretty inexpensive, making it a great vegan snack. 
  16. Pani Puri - An inherently vegan dish, pani puri generally consists of a hollowed out vessel (puri) that’s usually made of atta or suji. These are filled with different flavoured waters that are usually savoury and/or spicy, along with a filling that generally consists of various spices, mashed potatoes and/or chickpeas, onions and chutney. It can be found in most states across the country and is known by different names in various states. 
    1. The Bombay sandwich - The Bombay sandwich is a grilled sandwich with veggies, spicy coriander chutney, dry masalas and other fillings, depending on the variant that you choose and the place where you choose to eat from. It is a pretty healthy, cheap and filling vegan snack but it might either be buttered up on the inside, or use milk bread, or both. So choose some other bread option if available and ask the vendor to serve you your Bombay special, unbuttered.
    2. Dhoklas - Dhokla are steamed and fermented cakes that are made from gram flour and spices. They are very light and fluffy, and have a mildly tangy and sweet flavour. They are often served with chilis or chutney, which elevate the taste of the dhoklas even further. These Gujarati inventions are light on the stomach which means that you can load up on more of them without feeling heavy.
    3. Onion Pakoras - Also known as Kanda Bajji in some parts of the country, these rings or discs of crunchy, crispy, spicy and oniony joy can be enjoyed on pretty much any occasion and can be found in most states in the country. They’re a cheap and vegan snack which you can load up on with your eyes closed.
    4. Veg Rolls - These convenient and delicious snacks are extremely popular, pretty much across the country and come in a large number of variations, both vegan and non vegan. While almost all of the vegetarian options will also be vegan, bar the paneer rolls, do ensure that the vendor makes your parathas with oil and not with butter.
    5. Poha is an extremely simple dish which consists of flattened rice flakes which are first boiled and then spiced up to make a light and healthy snack which is completely vegan. It can be had with a wide variety of additional toppings such as onions, potato, sev etc. depending on your taste preferences.
    6. Mirchi ke Pakode - Also known as Mirch ke pakore in Delhi, mirchi bhaji in Mumbai and mulagu bajji in Kerala, these simple looking but devilishly spicy snacks are also a variation of the regular pakoras, just like the onion pakore. They consist of whole chillies dipped in a chickpea flour batter and deep-fried. They are vegan and can be enjoyed with any chutneys.
    7. Banana Fritters - Also known as Pazham Pori, these delicious snacks are made from ripe banana slices which are dipped in maida and deep fried. They are then coated with different spices and are served with various chutneys, allowing you to enjoy a fruit in a manner which would’ve never seemed possible. These are generally found in Kerala.
    8. Misal Pav - Another member of the pav snack family, Misal Pav is a  Maharashtrian dish which consists of a curry made of sprouts, served with puffy pavs as a breakfast staple. It’s pretty healthy and contains no dairy or animal products.
    9. Poori Bhaji - An interplanetary variation of the Chole bhature, Poori Bhaji basically includes the pooris, deep fried rounds of flour, which are served with bhaji, a potato curry which is generally both spicy and tangy in flavour. This dish can be found in most states in India and is vegan, unlike the curd that it is served with, so just avoid the curd, and you’ll be good to go.
    10. Sabudana Vada - These are basically balls of tapioca pearls and potatoes, mixed together with a few simple spices. While these are generally served with spicy sauces, some vendors also serve them with curd, so let the vendor know your preferences as you place your order.
    11. Ragda Pattice - A Gujarati and Maharashtrian version of the aloo tikkis, this dish consists of ragda, a gravy made from dried white peas, and pattice,   potato patties. They are garnished with coriander and are served with a side of onions and chutneys. This snack is extremely filling and very delicious if made properly.
    12. Idlis - If Dosas were densely packed with the batter which they were made from, had none of the fillings, and were small in size, then they’d be idlis. Idlis are an extremely healthy vegan snack which can be enjoyed with sambars, chutneys and even with sauces if you’re into that flavour.
    13. Medu Vada - India’s answer to doughnuts, Medu Vadas are crispy, doughnut shaped fritters which are made with black lentils or urad dal, and can be eaten with sambar, chutneys, sauces or even as is.
    14. Ghughni Chaat - Ghughni Chaat is a delicious and predominantly Bengali street food. In this, a soupy curry that’s made of dried yellow peas is served with a side of bread or with other garnishes and chutneys. This dish is vegan and can be enjoyed without any hesitation. 
    15. Masala Mandaki - Found predominantly in Karnataka, this halfway snack between rice and bhel puri is basically a puffed rice snack which is made with onions, peanuts, curry leaves, cumin, coriander, cinamon, cloves, and, you guessed it, puffed rice, It is enjoyed with mirchi bajji and is basically South India’s Pakoda during rains. 
    16. Dal Pakore - These small, flavour rich, easily digestible balls of protein are generally made with lentil fillings, which are fried and converted into fritters which are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 
    17. Parippu Vadas - Similar to Medu Vada, Parippu Vadas are made from a combination of urad, moong and chana dal, and are served with coconut chutney. It has many variations such as rasam vada, where the vada is submerged in piping hot spicy rasam. This is also a vegan snack and is delicious in both of its variations.
    18. Unniyappam - Another snack from Kerala, Unniyappams are sweet fried dumplings that are made from banana, coconut, ground rice, jaggery and many spices. The Banana can even be replaced with Jackfruit if you’re looking for a different texture and flavour. 
    19. Jalebi - This delicious, extremely sweet and very popular sweet dish is basically made from flour that’s deep fried in circular or pretzel like shapes and is then soaked in sugar syrup. Imarti is a variation of Jalebi which is thicker than jalebi and is found in Varanasi. While this dish too is vegan, in some places it is served with rabdi which is definitely not vegan so be aware of the specific dish which you order to avoid any bitter sweet moments, just like the end of this list.