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

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
  • 6 ounce 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.


Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Sodium: 982mg | Potassium: 1136mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 760IU | Vitamin C: 82mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 6mg
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating


  1. Lea says:

    5 stars
    AMAZING!!! Didn’t have curry powder but didn’t seem to miss it. So delicious cant wait to make again!!

  2. Made this tonight and will definitely make it again! I did omit the coconut oil and used vegetable broth instead and I also added a can of diced tomatoes and a bag of frozen peas and my husband loved it enough to have seconds!

  3. Hannah says:

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner last night. It was very hot where I live so I actually ended up adding the marinated cauliflower into the sauce & cooking it that way. It turned out delicious! When it cools off some, I’ll try roasting the cauliflower first but we were definitely not disappointed despite skipping that step.
    I also added a can of chickpeas for the extra fibre & protein. Ate leftovers for lunch today & it was even better. Will be keeping this one in the rotation for sure. 🙂

  4. Anna says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! I didn’t have on hand the full amount of cauliflower called for in the recipe, so I tossed in some green beans, peas, tofu, and it turned out great. The texture & flavors were even better the second day. Thank you, Jessica!

  5. Emily says:

    5 stars
    This was SO delicious! I scaled up the sauce amounts a little bit and added a can of chickpeas for a heartier curry to go with my rice and roasted veggies. The perfect dinner! My next mission: cook a “30 minute” meal in less than an hour ahahah

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We’re so happy that you enjoyed this recipe, Emily! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!

  6. Jennifer says:

    5 stars
    The problem with this recipe is IT’S ADDICTIVE!!!! I made the first batch last week and had to make a second batch this week. It is so rich and tasty, and it’s even better reheated. Thank you for sharing this wonderful creation!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Haha sounds like a not too bad problem Jenifer. Thank you so much for this review!

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