Cauliflower curry is a tasty and easy one-pot recipe you can make in 30 minutes for a delicious weeknight dinner.
This is a wholesome and nutritious meal packed with flavors and aromas. It’s excellent for both omnivores and vegetarians and works well for meal prep, too.
Table of Contents
This recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet.
Our cauliflower curry is an Indian-inspired recipe in which tender cauliflower florets simmer in a rich, aromatic tomato and coconut milk sauce.
You can customize the intensity of this curry by adding more or less spices. Our recipe is mild, suitable for most palates, and an excellent starting point.
Thanks to its simplicity – it’s ready in 30 minutes in one pot – you can make cauliflower curry for a weeknight family dinner.
And because it stores well, the recipe is also excellent for meal prep. Leftovers are even tastier as the flavors have time to meld.
Ingredients & Substitutions
We use a large cauliflower head that we cut into florets. Fresh cauliflower is best because it keeps more bite. However, frozen cauliflower works too.
Substitute diced potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkin, and eggplant for cauliflower.
Canned chickpeas allow you to make this recipe in less than 30 minutes. In addition, they add a pleasant nutty taste and wholesome plant protein that makes the dish more fulfilling and nutritious.
If you use dry chickpeas, soak them overnight first, then boil them for about 2 hours (or until tender) in a pot with plenty of lightly salted water.
Substitute any lentils, beans, and peas for the chickpeas.
Onion, Garlic, and Ginger
Gently fried in a little olive oil, garlic, onion, and ginger are the flavor base of this cauliflower curry and add a ton of flavor to the dish.
We use white or yellow onion, freshly grated garlic, and freshly grated ginger.
Substitute garlic and ginger paste for fresh garlic and ginger.
Although this is an Indian-inspired curry, we use extra virgin olive oil because that’s the healthiest oil with the most antioxidants and because it tastes delicious here.
Substitute avocado oil, coconut oil, or any other vegetable oil for olive oil.
You can use canned crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato puree, or whole peeled tomatoes.
Substitute fresh tomatoes, but it’s best if they are ripe and in season.
We love full-fat coconut milk in a curry. It adds a creamy, velvety, and slightly coconutty taste that is irresistible with cauliflower, chickpeas, and spices.
Substitute reduced-fat coconut milk or vegetable broth for full-fat coconut milk.
If you decide not to use coconut milk, we recommend reducing the spices in the curry.
Spices, Salt, Sugar
The combination of spices is what makes this curry special. To make a basic curry, we recommend:
- Curry powder
- Ground cumin or cumin seeds
- Red pepper flakes
- Ground coriander
- Garam masala
We also add sea salt and black pepper to make the flavor of the spices pop.
A tablespoon of sugar is optional. It mellows the spices and makes the other flavors pop.
Note: add garam masala at the end, with the heat off, and not at the beginning with the other spices.
We use vegetable broth to cook the cauliflower and produce a more flavorful curry than if you used water.
Fresh herbs and lemon
Fresh herbs are optional; however, you can top your cauliflower curry with cilantro (fresh coriander leaves) or fresh flat-leaf parsley.
We recommend adding a squeeze of lemon juice (or lime juice) on top of your curry just before eating it and a dollop of yogurt or plant-based yogurt.
The acidity is a welcome flavor booster and prepares your taste buds for the beautiful symphony of spices.
How to make cauliflower curry
Cut the cauliflower into small bite-size florets of the same size. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet, pot, or Dutch oven then add chopped onion and fry it on medium-low heat for 3 minutes.
Add grated garlic and ginger and fry for another minute.
Now, add curry powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, ground coriander, and turmeric powder, and toast the spices while stirring for about a minute until you can smell their fragrant aroma.
Add vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, cauliflower florets, rinsed chickpeas, and coconut milk.
Season with salt and black pepper, then simmer on medium heat for about 20-25 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork-tender.
Tip: simmer a few minutes longer for a thicker cauliflower curry.
When you’ve reached your desired consistency, turn the heat off and stir in the optional sugar and garam masala. Taste and adjust for salt and spices.
You can serve cauliflower curry as a main dish on basmati rice, with naan, or with roti. Quinoa or whole-grain rice are good options too.
Top it with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lemon or lime, and a dollop of yogurt.
If you want to add a side dish, pair it with a salad or spread:
- Tomato cucumber salad: an easy side dish that brings crispiness and freshness to your curry
- Shirazi salad: this Mediterranean salad is beautifully paired with curry and flatbread
- Mango salad with bell pepper and red onion.
- Cucumber yogurt sauce with grated garlic, a quick and light white condiment to soften the curry spices
- Avocado spread: a surprisingly strong pairing with its green color and fresh flavor!
Other condiments that go well with curry are mango chutney, jeera rice, Indian yogurt sauces such as Raita, and mint or onion paste.
Cauliflower curry with spinach
Want to add more greens to this delicious curry recipe?
You can easily add your favorite frozen or fresh veggies such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, green peas, and more.
Stir them in 5 minutes before the curry is done cooking.
Tofu curry with cauliflower
Want to add even more plant protein to the curry?
Try adding bite-size cubes of firm or extra-firm tofu. That’s one of our favorite ways to incorporate this wholesome and healthy food into our diet.
Lentil curry with cauliflower
Red lentils are another great source of protein, fiber, and minerals and are an excellent substitute for chickpeas.
In addition, they produce an even creamier curry that is reminiscent of a Nepalese Dal.
Check out our recipe for red lentil curry with cauliflower.
If you don’t have cauliflower or other veggies, you can still make a creamy, tasty, and wholesome curry with chickpeas.
Check out our creamy chickpea curry recipe.
This one’s an even simpler curry from Indian cuisine, made with potatoes and cauliflower.
Check out our aloo gobi recipe.
Spices: if your spices are old, they might have lost some of their aroma. In this case, taste the curry and add spices more if necessary.
Cauliflower: if you want a bolder cauliflower flavor, you can season the cauliflower florets with salt and olive oil and roast them in the oven at 400°F or 200°C for 30 minutes. Add them to the curry for 5 minutes before it’s done simmering.
Make ahead: cauliflower curry is an excellent meal prep recipe as its flavor improves as the curry sits in the fridge.
Refrigerator: keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for three days.
Freezer: let the curry cool down completely, then transfer it into a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw and reheat: let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight or microwave with a thawing function. Reheat in a small pot with a dash of water or in the microwave for 2 minutes.
- 1½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin ground
- ⅓ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander ground
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
- 1 large cauliflower 2½ pounds or 1.2 kg, cut into florets
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 2 twists black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garam masala + 1 tablespoon sugar are optional
- Heat 1½ tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add 1 medium onion (chopped) and fry it on medium-low heat for 3 minutes.Add 3 cloves garlic and 1 teaspoon ginger (both grated) and fry for another minute.
- Add 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, ⅓ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, and 1 teaspoon coriander and cook while stirring for 1 minute.
- Add 1 cup vegetable stock, 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes, 2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk, and 1 large cauliflower cut into florets. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 twists black pepper, then simmer on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is fork-tender and you reach your desired consistency.
- Turn the heat off then optionally add 1 teaspoon garam masala and 1 tablespoon sugar.
- Serve on basmati rice or with naan or roti.Optionally, top with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and a dollop of yogurt or non-dairy yogurt.
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