Indian Butter Cauliflower (Vegan)

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

This Indian Butter Cauliflower is even better than takeout! The cauliflower is marinated  in spices and coconut milk, then pan charred before being added to the Indian butter sauce. It’s a healthier version of the classic, bursting with flavour and is rich and creamy! 

indian butter cauliflower in a plate with white rice and limes

Indian Butter Cauliflower. This was one of those “duh!” recipes that ended up being even better tasting than I could’ve possibly thought. If you know, then you knowwwww I love cauliflower. Like it’s a top tier vegetable for me. It’s a versatility beast. It’s also texture transforming, flavour absorbing, all around wonder veggie. I *still* shudder at raw cauliflower on crudités platters but that I absolutely adore when it’s cooked. That’s probably why I have so many cauliflower wings,  and I’ve used it in a variety of recipes including hummus, veggie meatballs soup and so much more.

cauliflower marinated in a bowl

How to Make Indian Butter Cauliflower

Sorry, I fell down a bit of a cauliflower rabbit hole. BACK to this dish. It’s my favourite healthier Indian butter sauce, except this time with a few ingredient swaps and featuring this beautiful charred cauliflower. First, the cauliflower is marinated in some coconut milk and some seasonings. I wanted to treat it like I treated the tofu in my Tofu Butter Chicken. This time, with a little coconut milk to help the seasonings soak into the cauliflower. Trust me, this makes such a phenomenal difference. Let it soak for at least 15 minutes, but if you have an hour, definitely do that.

Then, just pan char the cauliflower on all its sides in a hot pan. You could also roast it into the oven for 15 minutes, but I wanted to prevent you having to turn that on too. This helps to infuse the flavour and adds a new flavour and texture element to the cauliflower so it’s a bit crispy, too. 

cauliflower in an indian butter sauce in a pan with limes and chopped parsley

Add it to the buttery tomato sauce and let it simmer for about 15 minutes so the flavours are infused. Again, if you have more time, let it simmer for even more. We tasted this the next day and man the flavours were even more developed! 

Okay, no more talking. Eat up and enjoy friends!

Indian Butter Cauliflower (Vegan)

This Indian Butter Cauliflower is even better than takeout! The cauliflower is marinated  in spices and coconut milk, then pan charred before being added to the Indian butter sauce. It's a healthier version of the classic, bursting with flavour and is rich and creamy! 
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course 30 Minute Meals, Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword butter cauliflower, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, indian butter cauliflower, Low Carb, Soy Free, vegan

Marinated Cauliflower

  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • Medium head of cauliflower about 3 to 4 cups florets, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk Just take from the can before you pour it in
  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil

Indian Butter Sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 14 ounce coconut milk (1 can of full-fat coconut milk) minus the 2 tablespoons for the marinated cauliflower
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • juice of one lime about 1 tablespoon


Marinated Cauliflower

  • Add the cauliflower florets and all the ingredients (except the oil) into a bowl and toss to combine, until all pieces are coated. Set aside or cover and marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  • In a pan over high heat, heat the oil. Once hot, add in the marinated cauliflower and pan char on all "sides", until all cauliflower is essentially evenly browned and crisped up, about 5 minutes. Remove the cauliflower and set aside.

Indian Butter Sauce

  • While the cauliflower is marinating, heat the rest of the coconut oil. Add the onions and sauté for about 4 minutes until translucent.
  • Add in the the garam masala, chili powder, sea salt, ground black pepper and the curry powder. Stir together and let the seasonings cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and tomato paste, stirring for about 15 seconds to incorporate everything. You can use a whisk or just stir thoroughly to combine the tomato paste completely.
  • Bring the mixture to a slight boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook together for about 5 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken.
  • Add in the cauliflower, combined gently to cover it with the sauce.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking for another 5-10 minutes to allow the cauliflower to soak up some flavours and to marinate. Squeeze the lime over the mixture and stir to combine it into it. Taste and season with more salt if you'd like.
  • Remove the dish from the heat. Garnish with parsley and serve optionally with basmati rice and naan bread.
by Jessica

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  1. Martie says:

    This recipe is so Delicious. It is very easy to make and I had
    All the ingredients on hand. I did roast the cauliflower
    In the oven but followed the recipe for everything else.
    Looking forward to the leftovers for lunch!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      That’s amazing Martie! We’re so happy that you enjoyed it!

  2. Natasha Wilkinson says:

    Had this tonight. It was very tasty and a big hit in the family. The chilli was the perfect heat. Thanks again for another brilliant recipe.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thanks so much Natasha we’re glad that both you and your family enjoyed this recipe!

  3. Helen Rochecouste says:

    Can you freeze this recipe?

  4. Dilnaz Upadhyay says:

    5 stars
    Amazingly easy & delicious recipe. Thank you 😊

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      You’re so welcome Dilnaz! We’re so happy that you enjoyed it! Thank you for your kind words.

  5. Jessica Brown says:

    5 stars
    Omar and I had this for dinner tonight – SO GOOD! We haven’t had Indian food at all since moving to New Hampshire (even though it’s our favorite). We absolutely loved this dish!! It was surprisingly filling, probably because of the coconut milk and coconut oil. We almost finished it all and will probably make it again later this week haha. Miss you both, Jess and Gavin! Lots of love.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hey Jess! I’m so happy that you and Omar got to eat some Indian food via our website. I can’t wait to see you guys again!

  6. Suzanne says:

    5 stars
    Another winner of a recipe! I am always looking for new things to do with one of my favorite veggies, cauliflower, and here it was. This was delicious and I was really intrigued by the marinating part. It really imparted some great flavors. Overall a super easy and fabulous dish. I will make this again soon. Thanks!

  7. Joanna Henke-Brown says:

    5 stars
    My husband and I made this last week and it was so easy and delicious. We forgot to get tomato paste so we used tomato pasta sauce instead and it still tasted amazing. But we made sure to buy tomato paste for next time :).

    PS My husband (who is all about meat) surprisingly couldn’t get enough and absolutely loved it. Yay for small wins 🙂

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thank you so much for trying it and leaving a good review Joanna! Also yes yay for small wins lol!

  8. Paige says:

    Hi there! I am about to make this and looking very forward to it! One question is, would it be ok to make a few hours ahead of eating? Do you have suggestions for prepping ahead?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Paige! Thank you so much for reading! This curry is so robust that you can make it ahead and it stands up well to multiple forms of reheating. Stovetop or microwave works great.

      • Paige says:

        5 stars
        This recipe came out incredible. The whole family enjoyed (not all vegan eaters) Saving to my recipe book for good! Also, I did make a few house ahead of time and it reheated just fine as recommended 🙂 thank you!

        • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

          Awesome I’m so happy to hear this Paige. Thanks so much for the review!

  9. Jill says:

    5 stars
    Wow!! This is incredible! I love all of your recipes that I have tried (made your bang bang broccoli last week and it was delicious!) I have never been let down by anything I have tried from your website!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thank you so much Jill! We’re really happy that you made more than one of our recipes and you’re happy with them! Thank you so much for your kind words!

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