I’m so excited to share this warming, flavorful, and fairly easy spice-roasted cauliflower in coconut tomato sauce! I roast and caramelize the cauliflower with some spices to enhance the flavor. While the florets are roasted, I make a flavorful and slightly rich sauce that is enhanced with split red lentils.
Inspiration for this recipe:
- While working on this recipe I was inspired by the coconut milk curry that is popular in Southeast Asian cuisine. I try to balance those traditional flavors of spicy, sour, salty, sweet and bitter.
- Additionally, using split red lentils in sauces inspired by lentils (which generally refers to the lentils themselves/lentils but also to dishes that contain them), a lentil-based stew cooked in various ways across India. Dal Tadka Inn Plant based India We must go home! It is worth noting that coconut milk is also used in South Indian cooking. A great and delicious-sounding example of this can be found here from the Vegan Richa blog.
- All this to say: As far as I know, this recipe is not an authentic representation of any one cuisine or dish in particular, but it is certainly inspired by the traditions discussed above.
The base of the sauce is shallots, ginger, garlic, chilies, cumin, and spices like fenugreek, canned tomatoes, split red lentils, and full-fat coconut milk. It’s all cooked until the lentils break down and “melt” into the sauce. Once it’s done, you can leave it on for maximum comfort or blend it until it’s silky smooth. Then I added the fried cauliflower! From here, all you need to do is heat it up and garnish with fresh coriander, lime and nigella seeds.
I recommend serving this vegan dinner recipe with just some cooked rice (or another grain of your choice) or flatbread. You can make the sauce ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. From there, all you have to do is heat it up and roast the cauliflower.
If you like this recipe, I bet you’ll also like my Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Stew with Lentils and Kale, as well as my Seven Spice Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Coconut.
Spice-roasted cauliflower in coconut tomato sauce with lentils
Spiced Roasted Cauliflower in a Flavorful Coconut Tomato Sauce with Red Lentils is a simple vegetarian dinner recipe. Inspired by both the dal and coconut milk curries common in Southeast Asian cuisine, this dish cooks in about 40 minutes.
serving 4 (with sides)
- ¾ teaspoon The soil is yellow
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon Green chillies
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fenugreek
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
Cauliflower and Coconut Tomato Sauce
- 1 Cut a medium head of cauliflower into florets (about 6-7 cups flour)
- 4 table spoon Olive oil, split
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Spice mix (see above), divided
- 1 Finely dice large shallots (about ½ cup chopped shallots)
- 2-inch pieces Fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 3 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ the cup Split red lentils
- 1 the cup Crushed tomatoes (From a can!)
- 1 the cup Full fat coconut milk
- 3 the cup Vegetable extract
- 1 table spoon Lime juice, extra for serving
- the paw Chopped cilantro, for serving
- Nigella seeds for serving
- This recipe is inspired by the popular coconut milk curry in Southeast Asian cuisine. Additionally, the addition of split red lentils to the mix is inspired by dal (which refers to lentils/lentils in general but also to dishes containing them), a lentil-based stew cooked in various ways across India.
- I like to puree the coconut, lentil and tomato sauce mixture in a blender until it’s silky smooth. But if you’re feeling lazy, you don’t have to! Just add the roasted cauliflower to the pot sauce.
- Light coconut milk would also work well in this recipe. If you don’t like coconut milk or have an allergy, I recommend a super creamy milk like oat or cashew to replace it.
- I recommend measuring and preparing all your ingredients from the start. This works really well when roasting cauliflower and the sauce together!
Preheat oven to 425°F. Set a large baking sheet.
Blend the spices. Combine turmeric, cumin, green chilies, coriander, cinnamon, fenugreek and fennel seeds in a small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
Place all the cauliflower florets on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, half the spice mix, and some salt and pepper. Toss to coat the florets in the spice oil. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer and slide the baking sheet into the oven. Roast until the cauliflower is deeply caramelized, about 40 minutes, flipping and tossing the florets at the halfway point.
While the cauliflower is roasting, make the coconut tomato sauce. Heat the remaining oil in a large, deep skillet or braiser over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the shallots. Saute until the shallots are very soft and translucent, about 5-6 minutes. If the edges start to brown, reduce the heat.
Add the remaining half of the spice mix, ginger and garlic to the pan and stir. Continue to fry until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the split red lentils to the pan and stir.
Add the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk and vegetable stock to the pan and stir again. Bring it to a boil and then simmer until the lentils are completely tender and start to stir, about 25 minutes. If the lentils seem to be soaking up too much liquid, just keep adding more splashes of vegetable stock (or coconut milk if you want something a little richer).
Once it’s done, season generously with salt and pepper and add the lime juice. At this point, you can use an upright blender to blend the sauce or you can leave it alone. I like to blend it for 1 minute until it’s completely smooth.
When the cauliflower is cooked, remove it from the oven. Pour the pureed sauce back into the pan and add the cauliflower as well. Bring it to a boil, stirring to combine, over medium heat.
Garnish with chopped cilantro, nigella seeds, lime zest and extra lime juice.