Cooler weather calls for cozier meals, and not many things will make you feel as warm and fuzzy as a good curry. Cauliflower Curry with Sweet Potatoes is a vegan one-pot-wonder the whole family (kids included) can feast on. Veggies simmered in creamy coconut milk and tangy tomato with an aromatic blend of spices are like a hug for your tummy.
Look at that curry. Look at it! Don’t you just want a matching sweater, scarf, and afghan in that color? And don’t you just want to be wrapped in all three of those while holding a bowl of this vegan curry up to your face and inhaling it like it’s aromatherapy? And then don’t you want to gobble it down and not worry if you dribble any because it’s the same color as your sweater?
You know you do. So why don’t you? Probably for the same reason other people don’t, so let’s dispel a few myths:
- Cooking curry at home one time does not mean your whole house will smell like curry forever and ever. Kitchen odors linger because of food particles sticking to grease buildup. (Eww.) It happens to the best of us. Don’t be ashamed. Get yourself some vinegar and go to town with a warm, wet rag, cause if it’s a problem you have, I guarantee curry isn’t the only food odor you should be worried about.
- “It’s too haaaaaard.” Nope. It’s not. You might look at the recipe and think “Danielle, that is easily 25x the number of ingredients I normally find in your recipes…” and you would be hyperbolic, but figuratively correct. Curry is complex, but it’s not difficult. Most of the heavy lifting is getting the blend of spices right. There’s no more seasoning in this recipe than you’d find in a good Sunday Sauce. So, dig deep into that spice cabinet or get to the store and expand your cache – the results are glorious. You got this!
- Children do, in fact, like curry. Kids-these-days will eat stuff you never dreamed of when you were growing up. A friend of mine is regularly shamed by her child for not eating salmon roe when they get sushi. (“Frankly, I can’t even honestly say ‘I don’t like it’ because I don’t think I’ve ever even tried it in 40+ years… and I never will cause it’s grody to the max,” she tells me.) Also, I get that spice can be an issue for the young’uns – even for some grownups, poor dears – but this recipe is mild and fragrant, not hot. “Spiced, not spicy,” as I like to say. Just remember – there’s over a billion people in the world who were weaned on authentic, non-Westernized curries so, stick that in your tandoor and cook it.
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Use high-quality curry powder, and make sure it’s fresh! Rub a bit of the spices between your fingers – if the aroma is strong, the spices are fresh. Madras curry powder is as close to an all-purpose Indian inspired curry powder as you can get, and what we always use.
- Peel the sweet potatoes. I don’t typically recommend peeling potatoes, but for a soup, stew, or curry, peeled sweet potatoes are going to have a much more satisfying texture.
- Dice the cauliflower and sweet potatoes into small florets and bite-sized pieces to grab a bit of each in every spoonful.
- Shake the coconut milk well so that it’s smooth. If it’s still too grainy you can run it through your blender for a few seconds. That graininess will not even out during cooking, so start with smooth coconut milk for a smooth sauce.
How to make cauliflower curry
Get that dutch oven out of hibernation – you’re gonna need it! (And only it, for this hearty vegan curry.) Using a savory blend of garlic, onion, and spices, you’ll create an aromatic base for a creamy coconut and tomato sauce to be simmered with mellow cauliflower and sweet potato. Healthy and filling, this vegan dinner is also extremely flexible so use the suggestions below – or your own – and adjust to your preference.
- Step 1: Brown the cauliflower over medium high heat in a Dutch oven or soup pot. You can skip this step, but it adds depth and more flavor to the cauliflower florets themselves (instead of relying on the sauce to season the cauliflower).
- Step 2: Sauté onion until translucent, then add garlic and ginger and sauté one minute more. Pro-tip: grate the garlic and ginger with a microplane for a super fine mince.
- Step 3: Add the spices and toast with the onions. Add tomato paste and work into the vegetables, then deglaze the pot with a splash of water to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot (those bits are packed with flavor!).
- Step 4: Add full fat coconut milk and pureed tomatoes. Return the cauliflower to the pot, along with one large peeled and diced sweet potato. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until the sweet potato is cooked through.
- Step 5: Add a cornstarch slurry to the curry and simmer 5 minutes more, or until thick. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, and/or lime juice until the flavor sings. Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice or with naan.
What to serve with cauliflower curry
- Steamed white or brown rice
- Naan or chapati; pita bread works in a pinch
Is this curry spicy?
Nope! This is a sweeter curry recipe, per um, “feedback” from the kids. That being said, you can easily spice this up from the beginning, or to taste at the end:
- Use “hot” instead of mild curry powder.
- Add 1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne pepper along with the spices.
- Add 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (or to taste) along with the tomato paste.
- Garnish with spicy pickles – you can purchase these at an Indian grocer.
- Add a dollop of spicy chutney.
Vegan curry add-ins
This curry is very forgiving, and easily modified to suit your tastes and dietary needs.
- Chickpeas: add one can drained and rinses chickpeas with the potatoes for more protein.
- Butternut Squash: substitute cubed butternut squash instead of potatoes for a lower carb, but equally filling meal.
- White Potatoes: this is a straightforward substitution; use an equal amount of white potatoes instead of sweet potatoes. We like the cooked flavor and consistency of Yukon Gold potatoes best.
- Peas: add 1 cup frozen peas after Step 5 and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until warmed through, for some green.
Is cauliflower curry healthy?
This curry is loaded with lots of healthy fats from olive oil and full-fat coconut milk and it’s veritable vitamin rainbow. It clocks in higher carbs from the sweet potato, but packs tons of fiber. Substitute butternut squash for a lower carb (net 25g) option.
The curry itself is vegan/vegetarian, gluten/grain free, and Whole30 too! To keep it Whole30, simply serve as is – it’s very hearty and filling.
More comfort food vegan dinner recipes
Did you make this cauliflower curry? I’d love to know how they turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
While you’re at it, let’s be friends – follow me on Pinterest and Instagram for the latest and greatest.
Cauliflower Curry with Sweet PotatoesPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 head cauliflower, sliced into small florets
- 1 large onion, diced to ½”
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 tbsp Madras curry powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 14- oz can pureed tomatoes
- 1 14- oz can full fat coconut milk
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into ½” cubes
- 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- Lime juice, to taste
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Steamed rice, for serving
- Naan, for serving
- Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the cauliflower florets, toss to coat in the fat, then saute, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower starts to brown in places, 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. (You can skip this step, but it adds depth).
- Add the remaining olive oil, then the onions. Toss to coat in the fat, then saute until onions soften and turn translucent, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the curry powder, salt, garam masala, and turmeric. Work the spices into the vegetables until toasted and fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and work into the vegetables. Deglaze the pot with 2 tbsp water and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Pour in the pureed tomatoes and coconut milk. Return the cauliflower florets to the pot, along with the diced sweet potato. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, then decrease to medium low and simmer until the sweet potatoes and cauliflower are cooked through, 15 minutes.
- Make the slurry. Combine the cornstarch and arrowroot with 1 tbsp water in a small jar or bowl; whisk until smooth. Pour the slurry into the curry and stir to combine. Simmer 5 minutes more, or until the sauce thickens. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, or lime juice to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately.
- Store leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in-between.
- Store in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then rewarm over medium heat on the stove.
- Use "hot" instead of mild curry powder.
- Add 1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper along with the spices.
- Add 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (or to taste) along with the tomato paste.
- Garnish with spicy pickles or a dollop of spicy chutney.
- Use arrowroot in place of cornstarch to make this recipe Whole30
- Add one can drained and rinsed chickpeas with the potatoes.
- Substitute cubed butternut squash instead of potatoes for a lower carb option.
- Substitute an equal amount of white potatoes instead of sweet potatoes.
- Add 1 cup frozen peas after Step 5 and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until warmed through.