Vegan Naan with Spelt Flour

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Closeup on vegan naan

I thought I had given up naan bread when I became vegan. Luckily this classic Indian flatbread is easily veganized and can be made at home. It’s so good you may want to take some with you next time you eat at an Indian restaurant. Pack enough to share because this vegan naan is perfectly fluffy, chewy, light, and buttery. Ready to scoop up some goodness?

Jenné tearing hot vegan naan

With just a few simple ingredients you can make your own pillowy vegan naan at home. Enjoy it whenever you’re eating curry for an authentic-tasting treat. Though it’s easy to make this yummy flatbread it does take time––like all flatbreads and yeasted foods, up to 90 minutes for for the dough to rise. So double the recipe and freeze the extras. It’s so worth the wait! You’re going to love the fluffy chewy texture and buttery taste of this vegan naan.

What is naan?

Naan is an Indian flatbread. If you’ve ever eaten at an Indian restaurant you’ve likely had this fluffy flatbread served alongside your main dish. Because naan is thick and pillowy it’s the perfect flatbread for scooping curries and sauces. Naan is thick and fluffy like pita. But unlike the middle eastern flatbread naan is made with yogurt or cream and butter, giving it an even softer texture.

closeup of vegan naan topped with garlic and herbs

Isn’t naan already vegan?

Nope, most naan is not vegan. Traditionally naan is made with yogurt or cream, and butter. The typical substitute for naan in Indian restaurants is another flatbread called roti. Roti is unleavened and thinner like a flour tortilla. In my opinion, naan is better; and now you can make it vegan!

Choose your flour wisely

I am a huge fan of wholesome nutty spelt flour so I chose to add some to this vegan naan recipe. While it isn’t authentic, spelt flour adds a subtle earthy flavor and a little extra fiber and nutrition. For the rest of the flour use all-purpose flour. Lately I’m only using organic all purpose flour which is very easy to find and not enriched. Whole wheat flour can be used as a replacement flour, but you will have to change the water measurement, and I haven’t tried that yet. I have never tried naan made with gluten free flour, but I did see a recipe for it on Minimalist Baker. Gluten-intolerant folks, check that out here.

There are steps to this vegan naan

While the ingredients are simple it can be a little intimidating to make naan for the first time if you aren’t already comfortable working with leavened breads and dough. Follow my instructions for this dairy-free naan recipe and you won’t have an issue. Please note the time it takes to rise the dough, at least 90 minutes of letting the dough sit. The total cooking time is just short of 2 hours. Plan accordingly.

Cutting dough with dough scraper

How to make vegan naan bread

Step one: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS

The first step is to read through all of the steps and ingredients. If you must, read them a few times before you get started. And watch the video for clarity.

Step two: ACTIVATE THE YEAST

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cane sugar in 2/3 cup of hot water (between 100°-110°F). Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast. Stir gently. The water temperature must be between 100°-110°F when you add the yeast. Any cooler and the yeast may not activate, any warmer and it may die. Set it aside for 15 minutes to “bloom”. The yeast will look like foam on the surface of the water. If there is no foamy activity you are using bad yeast and will need to try this step again.

Step three: MELT VEGAN BUTTER

Melt 1 tablespoon of vegan butter in the microwave. Microwave for 30 seconds to melt.

Step four: SIFT & STIR THE FLOUR

Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl, then add salt and baking powder. Stir well.

Step five: MIX THE WET AND DRY

Once the yeast mixture has become bubbly and foamy, pour it into the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter. Stir with a fork or wooden spoon. The dough will be sticky and slightly dry. Once it’s all sticking together transfer the dough to a lightly floured workspace and knead.

4 step by step photos of how to make vegan naan

Step six: KNEAD THE DOUGH

Grease your hands with a little of the vegan butter residue or cooking oil. Knead the dough for a few minutes, until it is a smooth ball. You may need to grease your hands again during this process to keep the dough from sticking to them. To knead dough use your palm to slightly flatten the dough, and your fingers to fold it back over itself. You can use one or both hands. Repeat the process of kneading until the dough forms into a smooth ball.

Step seven: LET IT RISE

Transfer the dough ball to a greased bowl and cover with a clean cotton kitchen towel. Place it in a warm area and let it rise for 60-90 minutes. If your kitchen is cold today place it in the oven with just the oven light on.

Step eight: SECOND RISE

After an hour the dough should have expanded to double its size. Press down on the dough to release air and transfer it to a floured workspace and use a pastry cutter or knife to cut the round ball into eight pieces. Form those eight pieces into smaller dough balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat. Cover with the kitchen towel and let rise for another 15 minutes.

Overhead of vegan naan dough resting

Step nine: PREP TO COOK

Preheat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Set a small bowl of water next to your workspace. Melt another 3 tablespoons of vegan butter and set next to a serving platter by the stove. Place a kitchen brush next to the vegan butter.

Step ten: MAKE THE NAAN

The dough balls should have expanded once again. Flour a workspace and one by one use a rolling pin to roll the dough flat oval shape (about 1/5″ thick). Gently pick up the flattened dough, dampen your fingers, and rub a bit of water onto one side of it. Place it, wet side down, onto the pan. Cook for about a minute, until air bubbles form on top of the flatbread. Flip and cover. Reduce to medium-high heat or medium heat (depending on your stove). Cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and transfer the naan to a plate or platter. Brush with vegan butter.

Repeat this step with the remaining balls of dough. Sprinkle the finished naan with some flaky sea salt and minced cilantro. To make garlic naan add minced garlic to the butter before brushing onto the flatbreads.

overhead of buttery vegan naan

Enjoy your vegan naan with these yummy Indian-inspired recipes:

Vegan Butter Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms

Black Eyed Pea Curry

Sweet Potato Red Lentil Curry

Closeup on vegan naan

Vegan Naan with Spelt Flour

This vegan naan recipe is inspired by Rainbow Plant Life’s recipe. The largest change is the addition of spelt flour giving this fluffy flatbread an earthier taste.

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Course Side Dish

Cuisine Indian

Ingredients  

  • 2/3 cup warm water use a kitchen themometer to guarantee that it is between 100°-110°F
  • 2 tsp cane sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter + 3 tbsp for topping the naan
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced

Instructions 

  • The first step is to read through all of the steps and ingredients. If you must, read them a few times before you get started. And watch the video for clarity.

  • Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cane sugar in 2/3 cup of hot water (between 100°-110°F). Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast. Stir gently. The water temperature must be between 100°-110°F when you add the yeast. Any cooler and the yeast may not activate, any warmer and it may die. Set it aside for 15 minutes to “bloom”. The yeast will look like foam on the surface of the water. If there is no foamy activity you are using bad yeast and will need to try this step again.

  • Melt 1 tablespoon of vegan butter in the microwave. Microwave for 30 seconds to melt.

  • Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl, then add salt and baking powder. Stir well.

  • Once the yeast mixture has become bubbly and foamy, pour it into the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter. Stir with a fork or wooden spoon. The dough will be sticky and slightly dry. Once it’s all sticking together transfer the dough to a lightly floured workspace and knead.

  • Grease your hands with a little of the vegan butter residue or cooking oil. Knead the dough for a few minutes, until it is a smooth ball. You may need to grease your hands again during this process to keep the dough from sticking to them. To knead dough use your palm to slightly flatten the dough, and your fingers to fold it back over itself. You can use one or both hands. Repeat the process of kneading until the dough forms into a smooth ball.

  • Transfer the dough ball to a greased bowl and cover with a clean cotton kitchen towel. Place it in a warm area and let it rise for 60-90 minutes. If your kitchen is cold today place it in the oven with just the oven light on.

  • After an hour the dough should have expanded to double its size. Press down on the dough to release air and transfer it to a floured workspace and use a pastry cutter or knife to cut the round ball into eight pieces. Form those eight pieces into smaller dough balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat. Cover with the kitchen towel and let rise for another 15 minutes.

  • Preheat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Set a small bowl of water next to your workspace. Melt another 3 tablespoons of vegan butter and set next to a serving platter by the stove. Place a kitchen brush next to the vegan butter.

  • The dough balls should have expanded once again. Flour a workspace and one by one use a rolling pin to roll the dough flat oval shape (about 1/5″ thick). Gently pick up the flattened dough, dampen your fingers, and rub a bit of water onto one side of it. Place it, wet side down, onto the pan. Cook for about a minute, until air bubbles form on top of the flatbread. Flip and cover. Reduce to medium-high heat or medium heat (depending on your stove). Cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and transfer the naan to a plate or platter. Brush with vegan butter.

  • Repeat this step with the remaining balls of dough. Sprinkle the finished naan with some flaky sea salt and minced cilantro. To make garlic naan add minced garlic to the butter before brushing onto the flatbreads.





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