This Indian-style butter cauliflower recipe is a terrific vegan alternative to the well-loved dish of butter chicken. You can cook the cauliflower florets in the air fryer or oven — whatever is easier for you! This dish is a plate based curry that’s quick to make — ready within just 25 minutes! And absolutely full with flavor.
My love affair with Indian food continues. This amazingly comforting and delicious vegan cauliflower curry was inspired by a reader who loved my Chicken Tikka Masala, but wanted a plant based Vegan option. I am more than happy to test out an abundance of Indian recipes with cauliflower in my kitchen. Whether it be my Indian Biryani with Cauliflower Rice or even my Chicken Vindaloo, I can’t get enough of all the Indian food!
I also am committed to creating recipes that are less than 30 minute meals! So I set to work to make you all the most flavorful Indian Butter Cauliflower your taste buds can possibly handle, in only 25 minutes. The depth of authentic flavors of Indian food are unmatched, and more and more deliciousness is revealed with each bite. And you can do Indian cauliflower recipe without spending all day in the kitchen!
What are the health benefits of cauliflower?
As a nutritionist, I am always looking for ways to add in more vegetables to our dinner routine. Especially gut healthy cruciferous veggies like cauliflower! Cauliflower packs in fiber, making us feel fuller longer and feeds our healthy gut microbiota. Cauliflower is also a fantastic source of vitamin C! It’s such a fun idea to include it as a main course.
What is Indian Butter Cauliflower?
Indian Butter Chicken is a common Indian dish that consists of a creamy, flavorful, tomato sauce with rich flavors like ginger, garam masala, and coriander. The cream portion is usually from butter and heavy cream or coconut milk. It’s basically a vegan cauliflower curry recipe.
In this version, we’re omitting the butter and using ghee or coconut oil, and using cauliflower in place of chicken. Although, feel free to add in some chicken for protein!
What do I need to make Indian Butter Cauliflower?
For this recipe we’ll gather up the following ingredients:
- coconut milk
- garlic cloves
- arrowroot starch
- diced tomatoes
- garam masala
- curry powder
- ghee or coconut oil (Vegan version)
- cilantro for garnish
How to make Indian Butter Cauliflower:
I actually started this recipe with a quick marinade of the cauliflower, ginger, and coconut milk. After the mixture marinades for at least 15 minutes, cover the cauliflower in some arrowroot starch. This helps to give it a “sticky” texture!
At this point, you can roast in the oven at 450, or use my favorite method of roasting cauliflower: the Air Fryer!!! The cauliflower will need to look browned and roasted to give it the best texture. Either method won’t take long!
Meanwhile, we will make the most delicious sauce. Heat up a large saucepan or skillet to medium high, add in the ghee or coconut oil, and saute the onion. After a few minutes, add in the garlic.
Once they are both fragrant, we add in the coconut milk marinade (plus a bit more coconut milk), spices, and diced tomatoes. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, and add in some more ghee or coconut oil to the mixture. We will then blend the sauce so it’s beautifully smooth and creamy.
Add the roasted cauliflower to the skillet, and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes before serving.
Here are a few variations that I know many of you may be thinking about or may ask about:
- Chicken: You can either add chicken to this recipe, or use chicken in place of the cauliflower. I prefer to add it so that I have both!
- Butter: Feel free to use butter in place of the ghee or coconut oil
- Starch: I use arrowroot starch in this recipe as a grain-free thickening agent, and one that helps to give that sticky texture. You can use tapioca starch or even corn starch in its place.
Serve this delicious recipe over rice, or Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice. That sounds funny to serve cauliflower over cauliflower, but I promise it’s amazing! Just getting in extra fiber 🙂
This recipe will hold up well in the fridge for up to a week, and tastes even better after 1-2 days. You can also freeze!
25 Minute Indian-Style Butter Cauliflower (Vegan)
This Indian-style Butter Cauliflower recipe is a terrific vegan alternative to the well loved dish of butter chicken. You can cook the cauliflower florets in the air fryer or in the oven — whatever is easiest for you. This dish is a healthy plant-based curry that's quick to make — ready within just 25 minutes and packed with flavor!
- 2 large heads of cauliflower
- 2 cups Full fat canned coconut milk* divided
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1 tsp kosher salt divided
- 3 tbsp coconut oil or ghee divided
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Begin by prepping the cauliflower. Chop into florets, place in a large bowl. Add 1 cup coconut milk, lime juice, and ginger. Let sit and marinate for at least 15 minutes. If using the oven, heat to 450 degrees. You can also use the air fryer.
After marinating, pour the liquid in a separate cup and save. Toss the cauliflower with the arrowroot and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. If using the oven, place the cauliflower on a baking sheet and spread out (be sure to use a non-stick spray or parchment paper so the cauliflower doesn't stick). Bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden and cripy. If using the air fryer, fill the basket in one even layer (may need to do 2 separate batches). Set the air fryer to 390 and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway to ensure even cooking.
Meanwhile, make the butter sauce. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Once hot, add 1 tbsp of the coconut oil or ghee, then add the onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add the minced garlic. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
While onion is cooking, mix together the spices: garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt.
Pour in the reserved marinade to the onion mixture, then add the remaining 1 cup coconut milk. Stir in the spices, and finally add in the diced tomatoes with their juices. Let simmer over medium low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, then melt the remaining ghee or coconut oil. Remove from heat.
Pour the sauce into a blender or food proccessor, and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the sauce back into the skillet, and add the cauliflower. Cook for few minutes, coating the cauliflower with the sauce.
Serve hot over rice or cauliflower rice with chopped fresh cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste.
*2 cups of full fat coconut milk will require 1 can, plus some more of a 2nd can. Purchase 2 cans for this recipe.