Plant-Powered Thali

Plant-Powered Thali recipe served on a plate and in bowls.

Devouring this simple, plant-powered thali. A “Thali” is a platter that is made up of several dishes to create a perfectly balanced meal, like a sampler meal, usually with rice, flatbread, dal, curries, yogurt, & dessert.

I don’t think that there is any right or wrong when it comes to what to serve in a thali, as long as it is balanced in terms of taste & nutrition. Here’s a mini everyday-thali, sans dessert – nothing fancy – just rice, dal, aloo gobi (stir-fried potato & cauliflower), eggplant-almond curry, paratha (whole wheat flat bread), salad & poppadoms

Plant-Powered Thali recipe served on a plate and in bowls.

Plant-Powered Thali

Here’s a mini everyday-thali, sans dessert - nothing fancy - just rice, dal, aloo gobi (stir-fried potato & cauliflower), eggplant-almond curry, paratha (whole wheat flat bread), salad & poppadoms.
5 from 4 votes
Total Time: 2 hours
Course: Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian-Inspired
Keyword: Plant-Based, Vegan Thali
Author: Anusha
Servings: 4


Eggplant-almond curry

Potato-cauliflower stir fry

  • 1 large russet potato washed, peeled & cubed
  • 1 small cauliflower washed & cut into florets
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp cayenne or as needed
  • cilantro freshly chopped, as needed


  • 1/2 cup split yellow dal mung dal
  • 1/2 cup split red lentils masoor dal
  • 1/4 cup split pigeon peas toor dal
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp oil any variety
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1 serrano chili or any variety, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • cayenne a pinch

Tempering (dal)


Eggplant-almond curry

  • In a large skillet, add olive oil. Add in the eggplant & salt, sauté on medium heat for 15 minutes or until they wilt & shrink in size, stirring occasionally
  • Add the diced tomatoes, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, coriander, 1/2 cup water and let it simmer covered for 10 minutes on med-high heat.
  • Check for seasoning and doneness. You may add some hot water to adjust consistency
  • Turn off heat
  • Stir in the toasted almonds & cilantro

Potato-cauliflower stir fry

  • Heat a non-stick skillet & add cumin seeds & toast them for about a minute.
  • Add garlic & stir to combine
  • Add potato and cauliflower
  • Sprinkle some water & season with salt.
  • Add ground turmeric, ground cayenne, stir to combine
  • Cover & cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Check if the potatoes & cauliflower are cooked through (make sure the cauliflower stems are tender & cooked too). If not, sprinkle some more water, cover & continue to cook for few more minutes


  • Combine the lentils in a large saucepan, rinse them & set aside
  • Add ground turmeric & about 5 cups water to the lentils & bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat & simmer, partly covered, until the lentils are soft & tender, about 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a traditional pressure cooker or an electric one, like the Instant Pot, to cook them faster. Once cooked, beat the lentils with a whisk for a minute
  • The consistency should not be too thin or thick. If too thick, add more water. If too thin, continue to simmer a little longer.
  • Season lentils with salt
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add cinnamon & cardamom, & sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add garlic & sauté until light brown, followed by onions & cook for 5-7 minutes
  • Add the chili peppers & tomatoes & cook until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 4-5 minutes
  • Add the onion-tomato mixture to the lentils & stir well to combine. Cover & reduce heat to the lowest setting, while you prepare the tempering

Tempering (tadka) (just before serving)

  • Heat a small pan & melt vegan butter, add cumin seeds & dried chilies, fry for 20 seconds, turn off heat, add the asafetida, & pour this mixture over the lentils
  • Garnish with cilantro leaves & ground cayenne
  • Turn off heat & serve hot

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