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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: 523 kcal

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



  • 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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  1. 5 stars
    This is a wonderful recipe! I’ve spent so much time making your meals I haven’t taken the time to properly review them. I’m working on that now!

    My husband and I both loved this. The combination of flavors, the perfectly cooked cauliflower, the yumminess of the coconut milk- it was all divine.

    The ONLY thing I changed was chopping up arugula instead of cilantro to toss over the cooked meal. I served on basmati rice with freshly made naan, and it was one of the best meals I’ve had, and worthy of gourmet status.

  2. I made this the second time and i still loooooove it. I adjust the soices a little. I needed more garam masala and i added a little freh lime juice.
    The dish makes smile, thank you for inspiring me to make it ?

    1. Hey Amanda,
      Happy Friday!! I so appreciate you giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    As a fan of butter chicken, I decided to try this vegetarian version and it is absolutely delicious! The flavors in the sauce are perfect. I roasted the cauliflower for 15 minutes, then broiled for 5 and it was perfectly cooked. I also used more coconut milk than the recipe called for probably because I used 2 heads of cauliflower. The next time I make this, I will add chickpeas for protein and/or some mushrooms. I served this dish over Vigo Coconut/Ginger rice and it really enhanced the flavor of the sauce. This dish is terrific!

  4. 5 stars
    This dish is amazing!! I didn’t add the full 6oz. of tomato paste (instead used about 4oz), added some petite peas at the end, and roasted the cauliflower first before putting it under the broiler. Creamy and delicious!!

    1. Hey Debra,
      Happy Friday! I am delighted to hear that this recipe was enjoyed! Thanks a lot for making it. xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and have made it several times, but wondering where can you get protein from this? What (veg) protein can you add?

    1. Hey Sue,
      Awesome! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! You could add chickpeas. Have a wonderful weekend☀️ xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    Such a simple and flavorful meal! I made it for my vegan son who was visiting. The whole family loved it. Definitely will be making it again. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

    1. Hey Linda,
      Awesome! So great to hear that this recipe was enjoyed and thanks for making it! Have the best week! xTieghan

        1. Hey Wendy,
          Sure, that would be fine to use, I would just thaw and drain first. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    This is so amazing. Very flavorful. And, as a bonus, super easy. This will be a staple recipe in our house. Thank you!

    1. Hey Diane,
      Awesome! I am so glad that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! xxTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    This is so amazing. Very flavorful. And, as a bonus, super easy. This will be a staple recipe in our house.

    1. Hey Diane,
      Awesome! I am so glad that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! xxTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    I love the idea of this recipe! I felt my version was lacking a certain creaminess (maybe the Rooster coconut milk was the issue, despite being full fat?) so I served it with greek yogurt and I think that was perfect.

    1. Hey Amanda,
      Wonderful! Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a go, I am so glad it was enjoyed. Have the best weekend:) xTieghan

    2. I am not a fan of Rooster coconut milk as I find it has none of the solid cream fats so that could be the issue!

  10. 5 stars
    My husband and I LOVE this dish! It’s super flavorful, and our go to recipe throughout the year. To cut down the prep time we usually make a bunch of ziplock baggies with the spices so it’s easy to dump into the skillet after work. We also like to add shredded chicken thighs for a little more protein. Highly recommend! The leftovers are even better :). Thank you Tieghan!

    1. Hey Kelsey,
      Fantastic! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xxTieghan

  11. My oven is not working! I have made this twice but this time I am wondering if I can do this totally on the stove. Thank you!

    1. Hey Jordy,
      Sure, you could definitely cook this in a skillet on the stove top. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  12. This was amazing! My family loved it and one of them took leftovers to work and had co-workers salivating when they walked in the lunch room! So simple and easy too!

    1. Hey Rosemary,
      Happy Friday! I’m so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a try! xTieghan

  13. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorites. It is a classic in our family and I make it often. I love how simple it is and how quickly I can whip it up! Thank you!

    1. Hey Katie,
      I am so so glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed and I appreciate you giving it a try!! xxTieghan

  14. 5 stars
    I just finished having the most delightful taste bud experience. Nice light flavors. I did add chopped red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes cut in half just for color. My wife even liked the flavor. I’ll make this recipe again and am sending to a couple for recipe friends. Thank You so much It is delicious.

    1. Hey Charles,
      Happy Friday!! I am so excited that this recipe was enjoyed, I appreciate you giving it a try!! xTieghan