For as much Indian food as we eat in our home (takeout and homemade), it was about time I knew how to make a good vegan naan. I’ve been working on this recipe for a while now, and it’s finally ready to be released into the world!
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to throw together. Let’s do this!
Origins of Naan
Naan is believed to date as far back as 1300 AD when it was mentioned in the notes of an Indo-Persian poet. Then, around 1526 it became popular among royals of the Mughal era in India. Because naan contained yeast (which was very expensive), it was reserved for royalty. (source)
How much times can change! Once yeast became more readily available, naan’s popularity spread throughout India and to other parts of the world.
Our version strays a bit from traditional, but is inspired by the concept and texture. You can find an authentic recipe here.
How to Make Vegan Naan
This recipe is simple, requiring just 7 basic ingredients you likely have on hand right now. And the method is easier than baking a loaf of bread. There’s hardly any kneading; just mix, rise, roll, and cook on the stovetop.
You’re so close to having fresh naan at your fingertips. Can you feel it?
This recipe is plant-based but not gluten-free. I tested many gluten-free versions but couldn’t get them to where I wanted. But, if you give this recipe a try with gluten-free flours, let me know how it goes in the comments!
I hope you all LOVE this naan. It’s:
Easy to make
& So delicious
This would make the perfect snack or side to dishes like my Spicy Red Lentil Curry, Lentil Dal, Sweet Potato Kale Curry, or Chana Masala. I could also see this working well as a wrap with crispy chickpeas or as flatbread for a quick pizza. And I wouldn’t judge you if you just slathered it in peanut butter and jelly and went to town (Minimalist Baker approved).
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag any photos #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see what you came up with. Cheers, friends!
Easy Vegan Naan
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp active yeast (if using fast acting, cut rise time in half)
- 1 tsp organic cane sugar
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (sub up to 1/2 with spelt or see notes* for whole-grain blend)
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- 3 Tbsp plain dairy-free yogurt (coconut is best – I like COYO brand best or So Delicious)
- 2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
FOR SERVING optional
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter or coconut oil (melted)
- Sea salt
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- Fresh cilantro
- Measure out warm water (3/4 cup as original recipe is written // ~110 degrees F or 43 C to properly activate yeast) and add yeast and sugar. Stir and set aside until frothy and foamy – about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, add flour(s), salt, and baking powder to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Once the yeast mixture is foaming, add the vegan yogurt and oil* and stir to combine. Add to dry ingredients and use a fork to mix – the dough will be sticky.
- Turn onto a floured surface and add just enough flour to gently knead for 5 turns and form into a loose ball. Place back in mixing bowl and rub with a bit more oil and turn to coat. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place for at least 2 hours (up to 4 hours). (I like setting it in a sunny spot in the kitchen or in the laundry room.)
- Remove dough from bowl and turn onto a floured surface. Knead for 30 seconds (adding additional flour if sticky). Then divide into 6 even pieces with hands or a knife.
- Lightly knead each ball until it forms a loose ball (15 seconds) and set on a clean surface. Repeat until all dough is formed into balls. Then cover with plastic wrap again and let rest for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare any garnishes for topping (i.e. melted vegan butter or coconut oil, sea salt, minced garlic, or cilantro).
- Once the dough has rested, begin heating a cast-iron pan (not non-stick) over medium heat. Take a piece of dough and lay it on a floured surface. Then roll out into an oval or circle with a rolling pin. Carefully flip over and pat the dough with a bit of water so it doesn’t stick to the pan. At this time, press the garlic and cilantro onto one side so it sticks. Then place the wet-side down on the hot pan.
- Cook for 1 minute or until the edges of the dough look dry and it’s beginning to bubble. Then flip the dough with a spatula and cook until the underside is dark brown. If using a gas range, you can put the naan directly over the flame when cooking the second side, but be careful, as it goes fast and the naan can burn much more easily.
- Repeat until all naan is cooked. Then brush with melted vegan butter or coconut oil and sprinkle with cilantro, garlic, and sea salt (optional). Serve immediately.
- Cover leftovers and store at room temperature for about 2 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through.
*If omitting oil, sub additional vegan yogurt. I haven’t tested it this way but think this would be the best way to keep it oil-free.
*Recipe loosely adapted from Food Network.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.