Allium-Free & Yummy: 8 Exquisite No Onion No Garlic Recipes

No onion? No problem! Try these delicious Indian recipes that you can make without any onion or garlic.

Published On Nov 28, 2023 | Updated On Feb 24, 2024

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The onion and the garlic (alliums) are a big part of the Indian culinary tradition. From Punjab to Kerala and Maharashtra to Assam, all cultures heavily use these aromatics to spice up their food preparations. However, certain communities in India, such as the Jain community, often prefer to have their food without any alliums. Moreover, people with gut and inflammation issues tend to avoid onions and garlic. So we are here to present 8 amazing no onion no garlic recipes that result in soulful and delicious dishes.

Paneer is a wonderful source of protein that holds a delectable place in the hearts of Indians. Any special event is incomplete without the presence of paneer. There are many ways you can enjoy paneer without onion or garlic. Here’s the no onion no garlic recipe for Paneer Tikka with Naan:

Ingredients:

250g paneer (cottage cheese), cut into cubes
1/2 cup thick yoghourt
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1/2 tablespoon ginger paste (for the marinade)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Skewers for grilling
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup dairy-free yoghurts (coconut or almond-based)
1/4 cup dairy-free milk (e.g., almond milk or soy milk)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions for making no onion no garlic paneer tikka:

In a mixing bowl, combine yoghurt, ginger paste, lemon juice, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, salt, and vegetable oil to make the marinade.
Add the paneer cubes to the marinade, ensuring they are well coated. Allow the paneer to marinate for at least 30 minutes, refrigerated.
Preheat your grill or broiler. If you're using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning.
Thread the marinated paneer cubes onto skewers.
Brush the skewers with vegetable oil and grill or broil them, turning occasionally until they are lightly charred and cooked through. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

Instructions for naan:

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.
Add vegetable oil, dairy-free yoghurts, and dairy-free milk to the dry ingredients. Mix to form a smooth dough.
Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes until it's soft and elastic. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little more flour.
Divide the dough into small portions and shape them into balls. Flatten each ball into a naan shape.
Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Place a flattened naan on the hot griddle and cook until it puffs up and gets brown spots on both sides.
Brush the cooked naan with a little dairy-free butter or oil for added flavour and enjoy your No Onion No Garlic Paneer Tikka and Naan!

Biryani is a timeless classic originating from the middle-eastern lands. It has made a name for itself worldwide due to its aromatic appeal and versatility to adapt to different diets. One way to make vegetable biryani is without adding any garlic or onion, as the ambrosiac spices in the biryani more than make up for the alliums with their diverse flavours.  Here’s the no onion no garlic recipe for vegetable biryani, to be enjoyed with a side of cucumber raita:

Ingredients:

1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
2-3 green cardamom pods
2-3 cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
2 cups mixed vegetables (e.g., carrots, peas, beans)
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup plain yoghourt (dairy-free if needed)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup grated cucumber
1 cup plain yoghourt (dairy-free if needed)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
Salt to taste
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Instructions for making no onion no garlic vegetable biryani:

Wash the Basmati rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for about 30 minutes, then drain.
In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the bay leaf, cardamom pods, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Sauté for a minute until fragrant.
Add the mixed vegetables, diced bell peppers, and sauté for a few minutes until they start to soften.
Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the plain yoghurt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, and salt. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the drained rice to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes, ensuring that the rice is coated with the spices and vegetables.
Pour in the water, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. You can also place a cloth or a tight-fitting lid on the pot to trap the steam.
Once the rice is cooked, fluff it gently with a fork. Remove the whole spices like bay leaf, cardamom pods, cloves, and cinnamon sticks.

Instructions for cucumber raita:

In a bowl, combine the grated cucumber and plain yoghurt.
Add cumin powder and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
Garnish the raita with fresh mint leaves.

With its origins in the South of India, tomato rasam is a decadent dish consisting of lentils and tomatoes that come together to form a delicious and nutritious medley. To be enjoyed with steamed rice, this dish can be made with no onions or garlic whatsoever. Here’s the detailed no onion no garlic recipe for tomato rasam:

Ingredients:

3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup toor dal (pigeon pea lentils), cooked and mashed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2-3 dried red chilies
1-2 green chilies, slit
A small piece of tamarind (about 1 inch)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon jaggery or sugar (optional)
Salt to taste
A few curry leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Steamed Basmati rice

Instructions for making no onion no garlic tomato rasam:

Soak the tamarind in a small bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes. After soaking, extract the tamarind juice and set it aside.
In a pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
Add cumin seeds, black pepper, dried red chilies, and green chilies. Sauté for a minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy, which takes about 5-7 minutes.
Add turmeric powder, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Mix well.
Pour the tamarind juice into the pan, along with jaggery (if using) and salt. Simmer for 5-7 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
Stir in the mashed toor dal (cooked pigeon pea lentils). Add water to achieve your desired consistency.
Bring the rasam to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for a few more minutes.


Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

Prepared and enjoyed throughout India and beyond, Pulao is yet another classic hit in the roster of Indian traditional preparations. With thousands of variations, pulao reigns as a supreme rice dish that can be enhanced to fit any palette, including the one that doesn’t or can’t enjoy onions or garlic. Add a healthy proportion of mushrooms to this dish and watch it transform into a wonderful fusion of western and desi diets. Here’s your no onion no garlic recipe for mushroom pulao:

Ingredients:

1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups water
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Instructions for making no onion no garlic mushroom pulao:

Wash the Basmati rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for about 30 minutes, then drain.
In a large pan or pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until they are lightly browned and any moisture released by the mushrooms evaporates. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until they soften.
Stir in the green peas and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the drained Basmati rice and stir to combine with the vegetables.
Add turmeric powder, garam masala, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well.
Pour in the water, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the water is absorbed.
Once the rice is cooked, fluff it gently with a fork.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

An unconventional mix is celebrated in the spinach and chickpea curry. The proteinaceous goodness of the chickpeas complements the fresh and fibrous nutrition of the spinach to create a curry that is fingerlicking awesome. What’s more, this scrumptious dish can be made without using any onions or garlic. So here’s your no onion no garlic recipe for the spinach and chickpea curry:

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and chopped
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tomatoes, chopped
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
2-3 green chilies, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Instructions for making no garlic no onion chickpea curry:

Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
Add grated ginger and chopped green chilies. Sauté for a minute until fragrant.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they turn soft and start to break down.
Stir in the ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes until the oil begins to separate from the spices.
Add the chopped spinach and sauté until it wilts and reduces in volume.
Add the chickpeas and stir to coat them with the spices.
Pour in the coconut milk and mix well. If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can add a little water at this stage.
Cover the pan and let the curry simmer for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld and the chickpeas to absorb the spices.
Stir in the garam masala and cook for a couple of minutes.

Gone are the days of having to worry about meat alternatives that also taste good. If you are someone who cannot have onions, garlic, or meat but crave mouth watering dishes nonetheless, try the Shahi Tofu Korma. It is not only extremely protein rich but also completely onion and garlic-free. Here’s the no onion no garlic recipe for Shahi Tofu Korma:

Ingredients:

1 block of firm tofu, cubed
1/4 cup yoghourt (dairy-free if needed)
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon green chilli paste
Salt to taste
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup cashews, soaked in warm water
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon green chilli paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Slivered almonds or cashews as garnish (optional)

Instructions for making no onion no garlic kofta:

In a mixing bowl, combine yoghurt, ginger paste, green chilli paste, and salt. Mix well.
Add the cubed tofu and marinate it in the yoghurt mixture. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible.
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the marinated tofu on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until it turns slightly brown and gets a firmer texture. You can also shallow fry the marinated tofu until it's golden brown if you prefer.
In a blender, combine the chopped tomatoes and soaked cashews. Blend them into a smooth paste.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add ginger paste and green chilli paste, and sauté for a minute.
Add the tomato-cashew paste and cook for 5-7 minutes until the mixture thickens and the oil begins to separate.
Stir in the turmeric powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, red chilli powder, and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the coconut milk and mix well. You can adjust the consistency with water if needed.
Simmer the sauce for about 5 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
Add the baked (or fried) tofu to the korma sauce and let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes, allowing the tofu to absorb the flavours.
Stir in the garam masala and cook for a couple of minutes.
Garnish with slivered almonds or cashews for a more appetising look.

Who doesn’t love a good plateful of delicious Thai food? But it can be difficult finding Thai preparations that contain no onion or garlic. Worry no more! We are here with a Tempeh Panang Curry recipe that is lip-smacking good and can be prepared without any onions or garlic. Here’s the no onion no garlic recipe for Panang Curry with Tempeh, another vegan bomb of flavour:

Ingredients:

8 oz tempeh, cubed
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
2-3 tablespoons Panang curry paste (ensure it doesn't contain garlic or onions)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free option)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste
Cooked rice or noodles for serving

Instructions for making no onion no garlic panang curry:

Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the cubed tempeh and cook until it's lightly browned on all sides. Remove the tempeh from the pan and set it aside.
In the same pan, add the Panang curry paste. Sauté the paste for a minute or two until it becomes fragrant.
Stir in the coconut milk and bring it to a gentle simmer.
Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, and salt. Mix well.
Add the tempeh, red bell pepper, carrot, and broccoli to the pan. Stir to combine.
Cover the pan and let the vegetables and tempeh simmer in the curry sauce for about 10-15 minutes or until they are tender.
Taste the curry and adjust the seasonings as needed, adding more soy sauce, sugar, or salt if desired.

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If there is an acceptable version of vegetarian steak then it is the eggplant parmesan. Made without any meat, garlic, or onions, this continental treat is an ingenious combination of everyone’s least favourite- Baingan and everyone’s most favourite- Parmesan cheese! Here’s the no onion and garlic recipe for Eggplant Parmesan:

Ingredients:

2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 cups breadcrumbs (ensure they don't contain garlic or onions)
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cans (28 oz each) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)

Instructions for making no onion no garlic eggplant parmesan:

In one bowl, place the flour. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a third bowl, place the breadcrumbs.
Dredge each eggplant slice in the flour, then dip it into the egg mixture, and finally coat it with breadcrumbs. Make sure each slice is evenly coated.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the breaded eggplant slices until they are golden brown on both sides, which should take about 2-3 minutes per side. Place them on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Next, iIn a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the crushed tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir well.
Simmer the sauce for about 15-20 minutes, allowing it to thicken and the flavours to meld.
Now preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce.
Place a layer of the fried eggplant slices on top of the sauce.
Sprinkle a layer of shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese over the eggplant.
Repeat the layers until you've used all the eggplant slices. Finish with a final layer of tomato sauce and cheese on top.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Flavours and dishes around the world can be easily replicated without the use of any alliums like onions and garlic. So go ahead and enjoy these no onion and no garlic recipes to your heart’s content and discover a world of delicious and Jain-friendly food.


Photo: Shutterstock

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