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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 was one of my favorites!! Even my non-vegan husband loved it. Thanks for more vegan options!!!
    I added tofu to increase the protein.

  2. 5 stars
    Love it! I made this for two teenagers, my Indian husband and his brother, and my sister in law. Rave reviews from everyone. I’m used to making butter chicken, but this dish is just as substantial. I made it exactly as outlined (maybe a little extra garlic). This was served with basmati rice and Stonefine brand naan (both garlic and original to provide options) that was buttered (with Smart Balance) and placed in a 350 degree oven for 7 minutes. I’m adding this one to our routine! Perfection!

  3. 5 stars
    HUGE FAN- used to make the butter chicken all the time but have recently switched to using less meat and this was definitely a delicious substitute!!

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is such a good one! We have never made Indian-inspired cuisine at home, but this one was simple (so long as you have the ingredients on hand) and so delicious. We didn’t have a few spices (like the garam masala or yellow curry powder) but used substitutes based on spices we already had, and it turned out so well! We will definitely be adding this one into our regular rotation. Thanks for helping us feed ourselves so well, Tieghan! ?

  5. This looks delicious!! Going to give it a try this week.
    Would it work to make ahead of time and then heat up later to eat?

    Or is it best fresh? 🙂

    1. Hey Amy,
      You could do either one:) I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

    1. Hi Veronica,
      Sure, that would probably work well for you, I would just follow the recipe as is. Please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  6. I made some this week and it was DELICIOUS. I love that it feels so healthy!

    Only change was that in my oven, broiling the cauliflower for 4 minutes left it still pretty raw — I had to additionally bake it at 425 for about 10-12 minutes to get the right consistency.

    The cayenne lent quite a kick — normally in a curry the dairy helps cut the heat, but this uses coconut milk which is a little thinner. So I just whipped up some yoghurt-based “magic white sauce” to top it off each bowl and that was perfect. 🙂

    1. Hey Karen,
      Happy Friday! Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! xTieghan

    1. Hey there,
      Awesome! Thanks a lot for making this recipe. I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Happy Thursday❄️ xxT

  7. 5 stars
    I am not usually a cauliflower fan but this was simple and delicious!! It was a little zippitydooda with the cayenne and everyone loved it!

    1. Hey Lisa,
      Awesome! Thanks a lot for making this recipe. I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Happy Thursday❄️ xxT

  8. 5 stars
    I made this tonight – the 1st savoury HBH dish I’ve tried. It was absolutely stunning! Because I’m in the UK, I do have to translate some of the measurements or ingredients but once that’s done, the recipe is really easy. It’s definitely one I’ll use again and again.

    1. Hey Karen,
      Awesome! Thanks a lot for making this recipe. I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Happy Thursday❄️ xxT

  9. 5 stars
    I never make or even eat Indian food but gave this a whirl. It had a good amount of heat and was incredibly flavorful. I added some roasted cashews because I like the different texture along with the cauliflower & rice. I will be making this again for sure!

    1. Hey Eleni,
      I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for testing it out! Have a great week! xTieghan

  10. I will be making this next week and bringing to a traditional Diwali celebration!
    But because the Indian culture runs deep? (Two 75 yr old Indian moms in the kitchen!) I will practice this recipe tomorrow and report back!!!

  11. 5 stars
    This cauliflower is wonderful! I served it over brown rice. The flavor is superb! I will be making this regularly! Thank you!!

    1. Hey! Thanks so much for trying out this recipe, I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Happy Halloween 🙂 xTieghan

  12. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was amazing. I added a little condensed sweetened coconut milk. This will be a regular in my home 🙂

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much for trying out this recipe, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Have a wonderful week! xTieghan