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Sharing my vegan twist on a classic Indian dish with this Indian Coconut Butter Cauliflower. I’ve swapped the chicken for nutrient packed cauliflower, and replaced the heavy cream and butter with rich and creamy coconut milk and coconut oil. This coconut butter cauliflower is the perfect healthy, but still delicious, alternative to the traditional heavier version. It has a quick 30 minute cooking time and uses pantry staple ingredients. Making this recipe perfect for any night of the week.

overhead photo of Indian Coconut Butter Cauliflower

My favorite thing to do is to cook for others. Creating a recipe that I know someone is going to love is such a fulfilling thing for me. It’s one of the reasons I love cooking so much. When my family was in town over Christmas, I knew that I would have to make Indian Butter Chicken. Butter Chicken is one of my brother Creighton’s favorite dishes. The rest of the crew loves a good Indian dish too.

That being said, there are a few people in the family who prefer a vegan/vegetarian diet. Enter this coconut butter cauliflower. It has all the same flavors and creamy sauce as classic butter chicken. However, it omits the chicken and replaces it with cauliflower, and is made vegan by using of creamy coconut milk.

It also happens to be much easier to prepare with just a 30 minute cooking time. So basically, it’s the perfect recipe for January.

Indian Coconut Butter Cauliflower in skillet

I wanted to keep the dish as authentic as possible. So I first “marinated” the cauliflower in a mix of coconut milk, garlic, and ginger. It’s just a quick marinade to help the cauliflower soak up the garlic and ginger flavors. Once the cauliflower has marinated for 10 minutes or so, it’s time to broil. I like to do this to give the cauliflower a head start on cooking. it also gives it a nice little char before being added to the coconut butter sauce.

While the cauliflower is “marinating”, I make the coconut butter sauce to keep the recipe moving right along. The key to any good Indian butter sauce is all in the spices. I used a mix of garlic, ginger, garam masala, yellow curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne pepper for a very well spiced sauce. It’s warming and spicy, but not in an overpowering way. If you’re sensitive to heat, just adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to your liking.

My real secret to a delicious Indian sauce, whether vegan or not, is coconut milk. I adore using coconut milk in place of cream in any Indian style sauce I make. I find it not only to be creamier and healthier, but also every bit as delicious (if not more so) than what you might get at Indian restaurant. The coconut pairs so well with the Indian sauce seasonings. It’s always my go-to when making Indian inspired food.

By the time you have the sauce together, the cauliflower should be ready to go. Just slide it right into the sauce to finish cooking.

overhead photo of Indian Coconut Butter Cauliflower

As you can probably guess, my favorite way to serve this is over steamed rice with a side of my homemade naan (which I’ve been making almost every other day as of late). If you’d like something a little more nutrient dense than white rice, try using steamed brown rice or quinoa.

I ended up serving this with a little mango salsa on top (just a simple mix of diced mango, jalapeño, lime, and cilantro) and it was truly delicious. I would highly recommend if you love a fruity touch of sweetness, which you know I do.

side angle photo of Indian Coconut Butter Cauliflower

So, what was the family’s verdict?

Let’s just put it this way, all of the coconut butter cauliflower was eaten before the chicken version was touched. Trust me, I’m shocked that everyone, even the meat eaters in the family, went for the vegan version. This dish is truly loved by all. In fact, some of my harshest critics said this was some of the best Indian food they’ve eaten. Even one family member who has been to India several times.

I think it’s safe to say the recipe is a true hit. I’m sure I’ll be making it over and over again, especially since it’s so easy.

overhead close up photo of Indian Coconut Butter Cauliflower

If you make this Indian coconut butter cauliflower, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

30 Minute Indian Coconut Butter Cauliflower

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 312 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the broiler to high. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, 1/3 cup coconut milk, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, and a pinch of salt. Let sit 10 minutes to "marinate". Spread the cauliflower in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and broil for 3-4 minutes, until the cauliflower is just beginning to char on the edges. 
    3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the remaining garlic and ginger, cooking another 5 minutes. Stir in the garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    4. Add the tomato paste and remaining 2 cups coconut milk. Stir to combine, bring the sauce to a boil, cook 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in coconut oil. If the sauce seems thick, thin with 1/2 to 1/2 additional coconut milk or water. Add the cauliflower and any juices on the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
    5. Serve the cauliflower and sauce over bowls of rice with fresh naan and mango chutney, if desired. Enjoy!
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious! Loved all the flavors melding together, and the mango chutney put it over the top! Long story short, we had to cook the whole thing on the BBQ, but it worked out perfectly. Thanks Tieghan for another super tasty dinner.

    1. Hey Molly,
      Happy Friday!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it!! ☀️xxT

  2. 5 stars
    This has become one of our staple meals! One alteration we made was dicing up half a sweet potato and tossing that in with the cauliflower. We found it adds a great sweetness and texture!

    1. Hey Clara,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so glad it was enjoyed!! Have the best week:) xTieghan

  3. I have made this three times now, follow the recipe exactly, and it is awesome. Honestly one of the best curries. Tried just adding cauliflower to a different curry and it was good but there is something about this combination that is just money.

    Thanks Tieghan!

    1. Hi James,
      Happy Friday!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a bunch for making it! xxT

    1. Hi MJ,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thank you so much for giving it a try!! Have the best day:) xx

  4. Made this last night and it was AMAZING. Shared it with several friends/co-workers. I did make a few modifications based on what I had in the kitchen and comments prior by others:
    -no garam masala (didn’t have any)

    -Used only 1 can of lite coconut milk (didn’t want to open two cans and it was nice and creamy)

    -Added 1/2 tsp ground coriander

    -1.5 TBSP of tomato past vs. 6 oz.

    -1/2 tsp cayenne (added perfect amount of heat)

    -1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

    -4 tsp of ginger (I pre-grate mine and keep them in a silicone ice tray in the freezer)

    1. Hi Lindsay,
      Happy Wednesday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a go! xx

  5. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was delicious! Only had half a head of cauliflower so I added a can of chickpeas too. Great flavour and comes together really quick. Thanks!

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback! Love to hear that it was enjoyed!! xTieghan

    1. Hey Kaylen,
      Awesome!! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! Sorry, I’ve not tried freezing this, the cauliflower could definitely be soggy. Have a great week:) xx

  6. 5 stars
    This was incredible and super easy! After reading the comments, I used less tomato paste (heaping tablespoon) and was heavy handed on ginger, garlic and spices. I also added 1/4 tsp of tandoori masala since i typically have used for butter chicken recipes prior. It was delicious and the kids ate it up! Thank you so much for the recipe! It is nice to have an easy non meat recipe on hand!

  7. Hi Tieghan, im going to try your Indian coconut butter cauliflower recipe using paneer and had a couple of questions.

    You call for 2 inches fresh ginger, grated and in the directions you specify 1 tablespoon of the ginger be used to marinate the cauliflower and the remaining ginger be used to make the sauce. How much ginger do you estimate that remaining amount is?

    Do you have a recommendation in place of the 2 Tbsp coconut oil in the sauce?

    Do you recommend broiling the paneer like you do w the cailoflower?

    Im going to make this in the instant pot ahead of time – do you have any modifications you suggest?

    Lastly, you have a typo in instruction 4 – it says to thin with 1/2 to 1/2 additional coconut milk or water.

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hey Jessica,
      Sorry, I am not sure the exact amount that will be leftover, just be sure to use 1 tablespoon of the grated ginger in the marinate.

      You can use another neutral oil in place of the coconut oil.

      Yes, I would broil the paneer.

      I would follow the recipe as is, no modifications needed for the instant pot.

      That is 1/2 cup coconut milk or water.

      I hope you love this recipe! xTieghan

  8. Amazing recipe! So flavorful, and great as leftovers too. I ended up adding in two full cans of coconut milk so I did not waste any and it worked great!

  9. This was delicious and spicy! Another recipe for my new recipe box. You are so creative and talent. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Next time I try this recipe will use 1/3 of the tomato paste. It was more like pizza than a butter chicken. I tripled the other ingredients and it was fine.