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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 1/3 cups canned full fat coconut milk
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 2 inches fresh ginger, grated
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper ,more or less to taste
- 1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- steamed rice and naan, for serving
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- 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!