Makhana Bhel – Gluten & Soy Free Vegan Foxnut Indian Salad

Makhana Bhel or Bhelpuri - Gluten & Soy Free Vegan Foxnut Indian Salad

Makhana Bhel, an Indian snack that is sure to tantalize your taste buds! This low-calorie snack is light on tummy and tastes delicious to your palate. Makhanas are super nutritious food to incorporate in your daily diet. Makhana Bhel is the perfect healthy snack to include in your daily regime and get the most benefit of Makhanas. I like to indulge on this as a salad for lunch instead of snack, then I can have a bigger portion of this delicious Makhana Bhel. Dig into it with me!

Makhana Bhel or Bhelpuri - Gluten & Soy Free Vegan Foxnut Indian Salad

What is BhelPuri

Bhelpuri is a savory snack that falls under the popular category of ‘Street Food – Chaat’ originating from the Indian subcontinent. BhelPuri has an iconic status for its low-fat, nutritious, delicious yet spicy characteristics. Traditionally is made with puffed rice, deep fried flour crackers, sweet, sour and spicy chutneys, veggies and fruits like onions, tomatoes, cucumber, potatoes, green mango, pomegranate etc.

Ingredients for Makhana Bhel or Bhelpuri - Gluten & Soy Free Vegan Foxnut Indian Salad

What is Makhana

Makhanas are popularly known as Phool Makhana, Lotus Seeds, Fox Nuts, Euryale Ferox and Gorgon Nuts. Makhana is an aquatic crop and mostly cultivated in wet and marshy lands of Asian countries. India is the only country where makhana is cultivated as crop, mainly in the Northern Bihar and some parts of Assam and Manipur. Bihar accounts for more than 85 per cent of the makhana produced in the country.

Makhana for Makhana Bhel

The seeds grow on the leaf in a pond or ideally in stagnant water. Collected seeds are then washed and sun-dried for a couple of hours. After they dry up, they are roasted in a pan at high flame and then hit immediately so that the black shells are broken and white puff pops out.

Makhana Bhel or Bhelpuri served in a paer cone like indian street food chaat - Gluten & Soy Free Vegan Foxnut Indian Salad

Health Benefits of Makhana

Enriched with the goodness, Makhanas are packed with protein, potassium, phosphorus, fiber, magnesium, iron and zinc. Makhanas are low in cholesterol, fat, sodium as well as low in glycemic index. Makhanas make perfect snack for those suffering from high blood pressure, heart diseases and diabetes. Other than anti-aging enzymes, presence of natural flavonoid called kaempferol helps prevent inflammation and ageing. Makhanas are low in calories, make an ideal snack to satiate for in-between meal hunger pangs. So, binging on Makhana won’t harm your weight loss journey.

closeup of Makhana Bhel or Bhelpuri - Gluten & Soy Free Vegan Foxnut Indian Salad

Quick and Easy to Make

To make Makhana Bhel all you need is 15 minutes and everyday ingredients from your pantry. You’ll need some produce like onion, tomato, cucumber, boiled potato, sweet peppers, green mango and pomegranate arils. Produce selection may vary based on the season.

Ingredients for Makhana Bhel or Bhelpuri

Don’t forget to include the favorite chutneys! Most of us keep green chutneys and tamarind chutney in our refrigerator most of the time. If not, here is the recipe for green cilantro chutney I have used. It is really simple. Soon I’ll also share Tamarind and dates sweet chutney.

Chutney right next to Makhana Bhel

We’ll add some spices like salt, red chili powder and chaat masala. At the end few of your favorite crispy protein rich ingredients to add the crunch. Voilà! Your Makhana BhelPuri will be ready in no time.

Spices with Makhana Bhel or Bhelpuri - Gluten & Soy Free Vegan Foxnut Indian Salad

Tips and Tricks to make best Makhana Bhel

  1. Make sure Makhana are crispy – Either dry roast them on a stovetop on medium heat, or in microwave in the increments of 30 sec. For even roasting stir them in between.
  2. Roughly crush the makhanas –  Make sure they don’t fly away or roll out while mixing them with other ingredient.
  3. Spice level can be modified to individual’s choice. To make it spicier increased the quantity of green chutney as well as green chilis.
  4. Adding nuts and roasted chickpeas is a great idea to make it a protein rich snack.
  5. Stay green on health meter by avoiding adding deep fried tidbits.
Keep the Makhana Bhel healthy by avoiding fried additives
  1. Go wild with your imagination and topped with hempseeds and chia seeds.
  2. Here, in this recipe I chose to add roasted pumpkin seeds because of its high protein content.
  3. Go light on salt as we will be adding a lot of salt through other ingredients.
  4. To keep it crisp for longer period of time add roasted Makahana only when ready to eat.
  5. Mix all the ingredients except makhana in one bowl and keep it aside until ready to use.
  6. You can as well pack Makhana Bhel for light work lunch. Make sure you pack roasted Makahan in separate Ziploc or container.
Makhana Bhel or Bhelpuri - Gluten & Soy Free Vegan Foxnut Indian Salad

Makhana Bhel Ingredients

Makhana Bhel Ingredients


  • Cucumber: 1/2 cup /100 gms, peeled & diced.
  • Onion: 1/2 cup/100 gms, diced
  • Tomato: 1/2 cup/100 gms, diced
  • Potato: 1/2 cup boiled and diced
  • Pomegranate Arils: ½  cup
  • Fresh Cilantro: 2 tbs/10 gms, finely chopped
  • Fresh Mint: 2 tbs/8 gms, finely chopped
  • Green Chili: 1 tsp/3 gms, finely chopped
  • Lime or Lemon Juice: 2 tbs

Pantry / Protein:


Instructions for Makhana Bhel

  1. Dy roast makhanas on medium heat till crunchy. Keep stirring in between for even roasting. Makhana can be roasted in microwave as well. Makhana being roasted
  2. Once roasted, let the Makhana cool down a bit and then transfer in a gallon size Ziploc. Roasted Makhana in a ziploc
  3. Secure the Ziploc carefully and roughly crush the Makhanas using rolling pin.
    Roasted makhana in a ziploc being crushed using a rolling pin ROasted crushed makhana
  4. In a separate mixing bowl add all the chopped vegetables and stir.