Mixed veg curry is so easy to make and versatile too. That means it can be made with whatever you have in the fridge, to reduce food waste! This recipe is similar to a vegan balti recipe in flavour, as it uses a spice mix that would be found in a veg balti. Other than that, you can choose whatever veg you’d like to go in it, that’s why we like to call this curry a fridge raider! So if you’re interested in more zero waste recipes, try this Veg Jalfrezi too.
🌟 Why this recipe works
- Tried and tested – we started recipe testing this one a few months ago. At first, it was too watery, then not saucy enough and now it’s perfect. As approved by VP family members!
- Versatile – we’ve purposefully kept this mixed veg curry simple so that the flavours work well with whatever veggies you have in the fridge. Therefore it’s perfect if you get to the end of the week and there’s some veg leftover and you’re not sure what to do with it. That’s where this vegan balti recipe comes in!
- Reduces food waste – as environmentalists, we’re always trying to lower our carbon footprints. Minimising food waste is a great way to do that. There’s often a pepper or two left over from a 4-pack, so they can get straight in this curry, and the same goes for mushrooms. And according to Treehugger, Bell Peppers are amongst some of the most wasted foods. Let’s end that. Whatever veg you’ve got left in the fridge, we assure you, it will go in this curry! In addition, once you’ve finished the cauliflower, pop the leaves in the oven to roast as a tasty snack. We don’t make the rules for this one – you do.
- Simplicity – by making sure the curry base is similar to a vegan balti recipe, it uses spices that most people have in the cupboard, tinned tomatoes (another staple) and tomato puree. That means you shouldn’t have to go hunting down new ingredients in the supermarket just to make this recipe.
🍽 Equipment Needed
As we like to keep it simple, you don’t need any fancy ingredients to make this mixed veg curry. Just use a wok or large sauté pan to cook it in, a set of measuring spoons to make sure the spice mix is spot on and a sharp knife to cut the peppers (and other veg) into thin strips.
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Vegetables – did we mention that this curry is great for using up odds and ends of veg from the fridge? While we’ve used peppers, mushrooms and cauliflower, you can use whatever veg you have left in the fridge.
- Onion – a great curry always starts with sweating down a chopped onion until it’s golden. This can take up to 20 minutes. So it’s up to you if you want to do this. Frying them off in oil until golden does make a big difference to the flavour. However, if you’re short on time, you can trim this down to 5 minutes. It won’t be the same, but it will still taste great!
- Spice mix – the spice mix contains specific spices in certain quantities to make that well-known balti style flavoured sauce. Cinnamon is needed. If not, it won’t quite be the same. We recommend using measuring spoons to make sure the spices are bang on the right measurements. It won’t be the same if you’re measuring by eye.
- Tinned tomatoes – we tried this recipe with fresh tomatoes before landing on using tinned tomatoes. As we wanted to make a balti style curry sauce for this mixed veg curry, but also wanted to keep it simple, we decided to use a tin of tomatoes to achieve this. While a balti isn’t very saucy (it should have quite a thick sauce) this mixed veg curry recipe finds a good balance between a saucy curry and a dry one.
🔪 Step by step instructions
1. Start by sweating down the chopped onions. Optionally, place a tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan or wok (alternatively use a few sprays of Fry Light or similar) over a medium heat and then pop the onions in. Then stir and cook for 5 minutes, or if you have time, and want to wait for the onions to go golden brown, sweat them down for up to 20 minutes.
2. Next, add the garlic and ginger, stir, and then pop in the bird’s eye chilli.
3. Sprinkle in all of the powdered spices and stir well.
4. Once it’s all combined into something that looks like the image above, add in the tomato puree and again, give it all a good stir.
5. After a couple of minutes, pour in the tinned chopped tomatoes.
6. Now add in the quartered mushrooms and stir until they are coated in the delicious sauce. By now the kitchen should smell awesome. Simmer for 5-7 mins, the mushrooms should release water and the sauce will look thinner.
7. Add in the sliced peppers.
8. Pop in the cauliflower and simmer for 10-15 minutes, uncovered. The cauliflower will cook in the sauce and the sauce will thicken up.
9. Squeeze in the lime juice and stir well.
10. Take off the heat and stir through the chopped coriander. Season with salt and serve the mixed veg curry with pilau rice and naan.
👩🍳 Expert tips
- Mix up the veg – this curry is great for using up whatever is leftover in the fridge at the end of the week. So although we have used cauliflower, mushrooms and peppers (ingredients that are often left in the fridge) you can use whatever you have on hand. That means you can try other great vegetables in this curry. For example okra, carrots, courgettes, spinach or broccoli. Try to stick to vegetables that don’t need a long simmer time. So steer away from potatoes, pumpkin or aubergine. If you do want to use these vegetables, you can bake them for 20 minutes in the oven first, then add them to the curry with the cauliflower.
- Brown the onions – we recommend browning off the onions for up to 20 minutes, until they are golden. This is to create a fantastic base for the curry. If you’re short on time, cut this down to 5 minutes. The mixed veg curry will still taste amazing, but browning them off for longer will mean the finished curry will be even better.
- Tinned tomatoes vs passata vs fresh tomatoes – we tried this curry with fresh tomatoes, but we found that the sauce was too watery. We also often recommend using passata instead of tinned tomatoes. This is an occasion where we think that chopped tinned tomatoes are the best option. That's because they helped to create the best consistency for the sauce, quite thick and not too watery, and it didn’t need to be simmered for a long time to get to that consistency.
- Timing – to make sure the peppers stay crunchy and the cauliflower is cooked well, try to stick to the timings mentioned in the instructions. Also, make sure the cauliflower is submerged in the liquid otherwise it will take longer to cook.
- Measure everything in advance – one of our biggest top tips is to measure out the spices in advance. Before you start cooking, grab a bowl or ramekin and use a set of measuring spoons to portion out the spices that you need. As they all go into the pan at the same time in this recipe, you’ll only need one bowl or ramekin.
- Keep in the fridge for 3 days – if you have leftovers or want to make the mixed veg curry in advance, it will keep in the fridge for three days.
- Freeze for 3 months – mixed vegetable curry can be frozen for three months. If you use mushrooms in the curry, just be aware that they don’t reheat well after freezing. They go leathery and we don’t think that’s very enjoyable.
Mixed vegetables! We’ve gone with peppers (one of the most wasted vegetables ever), mushrooms and cauliflower. You can use a mix of whatever you have in the fridge. Just make sure they don’t need a longer simmer time. If you want to use potatoes, aubergine or pumpkin they should be baked in the oven and then added to the curry.
Yes, for up to 3 months. Mushrooms don’t reheat well. Therefore we’d recommend eating the curry fresh if you use the mushrooms too.
Yes! It can easily be made in advance, up to three days early. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container.
Would you believe it? The Balti comes from Birmingham in the UK! While our mixed veg curry is only based on the classic Birmingham Balti, we wanted to fit this uncommonly known fact in here somewhere! To be a proper Balti, it should be served in a kerahi dish, contain fenugreek, garam masala, turmeric powder and fresh ginger.
🍛 What to serve it with
More Indian inspired recipes
If you love trying Indian recipes, check out this huge list of over 60 Vegan Indian Dishes, including these delicious curries:
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Mixed Veg Curry [Zero Waste]
- 2 onion – finely sliced
- 4 cloves garlic – crushed
- 1 inch fresh ginger – chopped finely
- 2 bird's eye chillies – chopped finely
- 1 tbsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- 4 tbsp tomato puree
- 800 g tinned tomatoes
- 2 peppers – sliced finely
- 250 g chestnut mushrooms
- 250 g cauliflower – chopped into bitesize pieces
- 4 tbsp fresh coriander – chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- First, sweat down the onions. Optionally, place a tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan or wok (or a few sprays of Fry Light or similar) over a medium heat. Add the onions in, stir and cook for 5 minutes, or if you have time, cook until golden brown, which will take around 20 minutes.2 onion
- Add in the garlic and ginger, stir, and then pop in the bird’s eye chilli.4 cloves garlic, 1 inch fresh ginger, 2 bird's eye chillies
- Now, sprinkle in the powdered spices and stir well until everything is coated. Be careful it doesn’t burn, so only stir for 1-2 minutes.1 tbsp garam masala powder, 1 tsp paprika powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, ⅛ tsp ground black pepper, ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- Once the onion is well coated, add in the tomato puree and give it all a good stir.4 tbsp tomato puree
- After a couple of minutes, pour in the tinned chopped tomatoes and stir well.800 g tinned tomatoes
- Next put the quartered mushrooms in and stir until they’re coated in the sauce. Simmer for 5-7 mins, as the mushrooms release water, the sauce will thin out a little.250 g chestnut mushrooms
- Add in the sliced peppers.2 peppers
- Pop in the cauliflower then simmer for 10-15 minutes, uncovered. Make sure the cauliflower is submerged in the sauce.250 g cauliflower
- The sauce should have now thickened up. Squeeze in the lime juice and stir well.1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- Take off the heat and add in the chopped coriander, stir again, then season with salt. Serve with veg curry with pilau rice, naan and raita.4 tbsp fresh coriander
- Mix up the vegetables for whatever you have in the fridge.
- If you have aubergine, potato or pumpkin to use up, bake in the oven for 20 minutes (gas mark 5) before adding to the curry at the same time as the cauliflower.
- If you have time, browning the onions for 20 minutes (until golden) helps to create a deeply flavoured base for the curry.
- It will keep in the fridge for 3 days in an airtight container.
- It will keep in the freezer for 3 months, but be aware that mushrooms don’t reheat well from frozen. They will be perfectly edible but will turn a bit leathery.