Vegan Butter Cauliflower

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

This Vegan Butter Cauliflower is a great take on takeout at home! The cauliflower is marinated  in spices and coconut milk, then pan charred before being added to the creamy 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.

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 Vegan Butter Cauliflower

Sorry, I fell down a bit of a cauliflower rabbit hole. BACK to this dish. It’s my favourite healthier butter sauce, except this time with a few ingredient swaps and featuring this beautiful charred cauliflower. This isn’t an authentic Indian butter cauliflower, but I love the flavours so much. 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!

A fork digging into indian butter cauliflower.

Top down shot of indian butter cauliflower on a plate.

Vegan Butter Cauliflower (Vegan)

This Vegan 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 Indian 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

Vegan Butter Sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon Indian 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.

Vegan 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. Alexandra Mankar says:

    5 stars
    12/10 recommend this vegan take on a decadent dish. (Also, way less work than the original dish)
    Super delicious, not heavy, but filling.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      12/10 yes! We’re so happy that you enjoyed this recipe Alexandra! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!

  2. Anna says:

    5 stars
    Made this last night and we loved it!!! So flavorful and filling. We added some sautéed green beans on the side for some added color and texture and it was the perfect meal. Can’t wait to make again!

  3. Simone says:

    5 stars
    Jessica, you are amazing! Once again, thank you for this wonderful, tasty, deliciouls recipe. Easy to follow, even I (not a very good cook hahaha) can be proud of what I make when I follow your fool proof recipes. Well done!

  4. Katy says:

    5 stars
    This was definitely a hit! I added some chickpeas for a little more protein and would consider roasting the cauliflower in the oven next time. Overall, tasty and a breeze to put together!

  5. CeCe says:

    5 stars
    This dish was SO delicious and so easy to make! We added some fresh cilantro to top it all off! 10/10 recommend this dish 🙂

  6. Marianne says:

    5 stars
    For someone who is transitioning to veganism but loves Indian food, this recipe was a great way to savor all of the delicious flavors I was missing. The directions were simple and easy to follow. Thanks, Jessica, for sharing!

  7. Alex Lister says:

    5 stars
    I’ve never been a huge fan of Indian food, but Jessica has changed that. This is BOMB. The only suggestion I have is to marinate the cauliflower for as long as possible, as well as simmer the sauce for a while too if you can once you add in the cauliflower. It really melds all the flavors together so nicely, and is even better the next day!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

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

  8. Julia Jamieson says:

    5 stars
    This was a great, simple and fun recipe!!

  9. Alyssa says:

    Looks delicious! Is the nutrition information per serving (1/4 of the meal) or for the whole meal?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Alyssa thanks so much for reading! The nutritional information is for a quarter of the recipe I would say that it serves more than 4 (closer to 6-7) we were being generous lol. I hope this helps.

  10. Ceric Keck says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is phenomenal! I can’t get over how good it is and it’s so easy!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

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

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