Cauliflower Chickpea Curry

Delicious vegan curry with cauliflower, chickpeas, onion, tomato, and cilantro.
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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Sometimes a single ingredient, a garnish, can turn a dish from meh to Wow. In the case of this cauliflower chickpea curry, that ingredient is cilantro. I’ve been meaning to experiment with a curry using cauliflower and chickpeas for months.

When we finally got around to it, the result was okay, but nothing special. Frustrated, I tossed a handful of chopped cilantro into what we had made—a braise of cauliflower, chickpeas, onions, curry, and tomatoes.

The ingredients that minutes before had failed to inspire were now dazzling. It’s as if the cilantro had woken everyone up and pulled them onto the dance floor.

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry

What’s happening? I’m guessing one reason is that the cilantro is playing the role of a bitter, like parsley, kale, or green onion greens.

The bitter greens fire up the bitter sensors in our mouths and the flavor of everything brightens. In any case, with the cilantro, this curry is fast, easy, and delightful. (Great with Basmati Rice with Peas and Mint.)

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For those of you who simply cannot tolerate cilantro, I would recommend thinly slicing some kale and adding that to the curry as it cooks, or toss with fresh chives or thinly sliced onion greens. It won't be the same, but the greens will help brighten the dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of yellow curry powder
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and then sliced across the grain (about 1 1/2 cups sliced onion)
  • 1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and grated (1 teaspoon grated)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) (a 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored, florets separated (see How to Cut and Core Cauliflower)
  • 1 15-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (packed) roughly chopped cilantro (leaves and young stems)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh mint leaves

Method

1 Sauté curry powder and onion: Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pot (with lid) on medium heat. Add the curry powder to the oil and let cook for a minute until fragrant.

Add the sliced onion, toss with the curried oil. Let cook until softened about 6 to 8 minutes.

2 Add ginger, chickpeas, tomatoes, cauliflower, bay leaf, salt, pepper, water: Once the onions have softened, add the ginger and the chickpeas, toss to coat with everything.

Add the tomatoes, shredding the whole tomatoes with your fingers as you add them to the pot. Include any tomato juice from the can.

Add the cauliflower florets, the salt, pepper, bay leaf, and water.

3 Simmer until cauliflower is cooked through: Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cover. Cook 15 to 18 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked through and tender.

4 Toss with cilantro and mint to serve: Remove from heat. Toss with fresh chopped cilantro and minced mint.

Serve with rice or rice pilaf. If you want dollop a little sour cream or plain yogurt over it (non-vegan option).

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Links:

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Lemon-Dijon Dressing from Dishing Up the Dirt

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Harissa from Family Style Food

Curried Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup from Dishing Up the Dirt

Cauliflower Chickpea Cashew Curry from The Curvy Carrot

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry

Showing 4 of 41 Comments

  • Sandy S

    It’s the cilantro and the mint that brings this dish home to mama! I’m a cauliflower fan. Steamed with butter has always been fine with me. But, must say this recipe will definitely be made now, too! Thanks for pulling out your magic wand Elise!

  • Michele

    Oh this is such a delicious recipe! Thank you Elise for inspiring many of my dishes, though this is my first time commenting. I tend to like my food rather seasoned, so I used a lot more salt and pepper than the recipe called for. I also doubled the Curry Powder. In terms of other changes: I sauteed the onions with 2 cloves of fresh chopped garlic and also added garlic powder/onion powder to the mix before simmering everything. Oh yum yum yum! I am a cilantro LOVER but was weary about the mint. I used it anyways and so glad I did because it contributed a lovely taste to the dish. 5 Stars! I served this over quinoa with a dab of sour cream, which was amazing.

  • Carina

    Delicious!! Made it tonight and is perfect. Added coconut yoghurt and was perfect. Next time might add mushrooms :)

  • JaneB

    I am a huge fan of Simply Recipes. This was delicious. Yesterday I took the leftovers and heated them up with a bit of water. Once warm, I added a can of coconut milk, a bit more curry and s & p. Then pureed with an immersion blender and let sit overnight. Wonderful soup today for lunch!

  • Miss Patsy

    For Christine on cilantro substitution

    What about using mint particularly Thai mint. Yum.

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