Vegan cauliflower curry is loaded with protein-rich red lentils, tender cauliflower florets, spinach, and the most flavorful yellow curry sauce! This vibrant gluten-free meal is easy to make in one pan and it's ready to eat in 1 hour!
Red curry, green curry, yellow curry...I love them all! I don't think I have a favorite, do you? It all depends on if I'm in the mood for something spicy like red curry cauliflower soup or something a little milder like green curry lentils with rice.
However, if you want a vegetable curry that's flavored with lemongrass, turmeric, and just a touch of sweetness, you should give this vegan cauliflower curry recipe a try! It features an entire head of cauliflower, protein-rich red lentils, spinach, and creamy coconut milk, and it's easy to make in just 1 hour!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This recipe is made using a combination of fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables, and pantry staples. It's very simple to assemble in one pan. Let's go over the most important ingredients and substitutions if you need them.
- Thai Yellow Curry Paste - I used this Thai yellow curry paste. It's delicious! You can use store-bought or make your own. You could also substitute red or green curry paste if you prefer.
- Turmeric Powder - A little bit of turmeric powder gives this dish a color boost and it adds flavor.
- Coconut Milk - I used full-fat canned coconut milk because it makes the curry so rich and creamy. You can also use low-fat coconut milk or any unsweetened and unflavored plant milk.
- Vegan Soy-Free Fish Sauce - I missed using fish sauce for the longest time! I was so excited when I found this vegan version and it's delicious. It adds a wonderful umami flavor to any dish. However, you can omit it if you don't have it.
- Cauliflower - I love using cauliflower in this dish because it's mild in flavor so it really soaks up the flavor of the yellow curry! Plus, it's an easy way to eat more veggies. You could also use zucchini, broccoli, or mushrooms.
- Red Lentils - Lentils add a good amount of plant-based protein and texture to this recipe. I used red lentils because I love how soft they get when they break down as they cook, they practically melt into the sauce. You could also use green or brown lentils, chickpeas, or any beans you prefer.
How to Make Vegan Cauliflower Curry
In a large pan, saute the diced onion until it's soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic, turmeric powder, and yellow curry paste to the pan. Stir and saute for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant (Photos 1 & 2).
Add the rinsed and drained red lentils, cauliflower florets (plus the chopped up green leaves and stem) coconut milk, and vegetable broth (Photos 3 & 4).
Bring it to a low simmer and then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally (Photos 5 & 6).
Add the vegan fish sauce (optional), lime juice, and frozen spinach to the pan (Photos 7 & 8).
Stir to combine and let it cook for 5 more minutes or until the spinach has fully defrosted. Serve over brown rice and garnish with a slice of lime or cilantro.
This cauliflower curry recipe makes quite a big batch so we usually have leftovers for a few days. I normally serve the vegan cauliflower curry over brown rice (I get the big bag from Costco) on the first and second night, but after that, I like to switch it up and serve leftovers over baked sweet potatoes. It's a delicious combination!
You could also serve it over:
- Jasmine Rice
- Cauliflower Rice (low-carb option)
- Baked Potatoes
- Mashed Potatoes
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
I also like to make a tray of roasted veggies or a salad to enjoy on the side. Here are some of my favorites:
- Roasted Lemon Garlic Asparagus
- Roasted Garlic Dijon Brussels Sprouts
- Avocado Arugula Cherry Tomato Salad
How to store it
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
You can freeze any leftover vegan cauliflower curry. It freezes and defrosts perfectly! However, don't freeze the leftover curry and rice together in the same container. It's best to freeze them separately, or just freeze the cauliflower curry and make fresh rice to go with it. You can freeze leftovers for 2-3 months.
When you're ready to reheat it, remove the container from the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost for 24 hours. Then you can warm it up in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop. You may need to add extra vegetable broth or water if the consistency is too thick.
Frequently asked questions
Yellow thai curry paste isn't hot at all. In fact, it's very mild with hints of citrus and a touch of sweetness. If you'd like to add heat, you can add a ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.
You could also add mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, broccoli, eggplant, or cabbage.
Sure! If you prefer the flavor of roasted cauliflower, you can roast the cauliflower florets at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes before adding it to the curry. I prefer to cook the cauliflower in the same pan with everything else only because it's easier and one less tray to clean.
You can use (2) 14 oz cans of cookes lentils (rinsed and drained) instead of dried if that's what you have on hand. However, you will only need to use 1 cup of vegetable broth instead of the 4 cups that the recipe calls for.
The cauliflower leaves and stem are edible, don't discard them! Cut one inch off the bottom of the stem and then cut the rest into small pieces. The stem is a little bit tougher, but if you cut the leaves and stem small enough they will cook up perfectly soft with the rest of the cauliflower florets. Doing this is an easy way to reduce food waste, add more vitamins to your dinner, and bulk up your meal to make it stretch a little further!
- This is the vegan Thai yellow curry paste that I used. I love this one because it's so flavorful and convenient to keep on hand in the pantry.
- Adding turmeric really boosts the vibrant yellow color of this dish.
- Use canned full-fat coconut milk to make the sauce incredibly creamy. My favorite coconut milk is this one from Whole Foods.
- The vegan fish sauce is an optional ingredient, but I have found that it adds a delicious umami flavor to the vegan cauliflower curry. If you don't use it, you may need to add a little bit more salt.
- Don't throw out the cauliflower leaves or stem, you can dice them and add them to the curry. All parts of the cauliflower are delicious and edible.
Want More Vegan Lentil Recipes?
Vegan Yellow Cauliflower Lentil Curry
- Large Pan
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 4 medium garlic cloves
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 2.8 oz yellow curry paste (about 5 tbsp)
- 1 medium cauliflower roughly chopped (Plus, the leaves and stem!)
- 1 ½ cups uncooked red lentils
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 14 oz can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce (optional)
- 5 oz frozen spinach or fresh spinach
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- In a large pan, saute the diced onion for 10 minutes or until it's soft and translucent.
- Add the minced garlic, turmeric powder, and yellow curry paste to the pan. Stir and saute for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the rinsed and drained red lentils, cauliflower florets (plus the chopped up green leaves and stem) coconut milk, and vegetable broth. Bring it to a low simmer and then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the vegan fish sauce (optional), lime juice, and frozen spinach to the pan. Stir to combine and let it cook for 5 more minutes or until the spinach has fully defrosted.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over brown rice and garnish with a slice of lime.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or you can freeze it for 2-3 months.