Food & Nutrition

Finish Veganuary On A High With This Spinach, Sweet Potato And Raisin Biriyani

Biriyani works perfectly as a hearty and comforting winter dish – which is perhaps odd since its roots are in the Indian subcontinent, which does tend to differ in climate to the UK in the winter.

Its hearty comfort cannot be denied, though, and we thoroughly recommend making a load of this veggie biryani and feasting upon it for days to come. The recipe comes from Raisins South Africa, a body representing about 1,000 raisin producers in the Cape region, and naturally includes raisins of the South African variety along with sweet potatoes. The sweetness of those ingredients complements the Indian spices beautifully, and if you want an extra kick you can always add more chilli.

Ingredients (Serves Four)

  • 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 2tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 150g basmati rice
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 30g pine nuts
  • Generous pinch of garlic salt (or regular salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 80g South African raisins
  • 400g canned green lentils in water, rinsed and drained
  • 2tsp medium curry powder
  • 50g young spinach leaves

To serve

  • 4tbsp dairy-free yogurt
  • Fresh coriander sprigs
  • Thinly sliced red chilli


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.
  2. Put the sweet potatoes and red onion into a large, deep roasting tin. Add the oil and toss to coat. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to packet instructions, rinse with cold water and drain well.
  4. Add the cumin seeds, pine nuts and garlic salt to the sweet potato mixture. Season with black pepper and return to the oven for five minutes.
  5. Tip the raisins, cooked rice and lentils into the roasting tin and stir in the curry powder. Add the spinach leaves and stir them through the mixture. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes until heated through. Share between four serving plates and serve topped with yogurt, coriander sprigs and red chilli.

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