This creamy cauliflower and chickpea curry is one of our favourite weeknight curries. With the perfect blend of fragrant spices and deliciously tender cauliflower, this dish is sure to satisfy your taste buds whether you're a veggie or vegan, or just looking for a great plant-based option. Just serve with basmati rice and naan for the perfect curry night in.
This cauliflower chickpea curry is a warming, comforting curry that's ready in about an hour and can be made the day before if you need a super quick dinner. This actually tastes even better the next day, so making it a day ahead can actually be a good idea.
I've been making this cauliflower and chickpea curry for years now, in fact, it's on weekly rotation in my house! It's a firm family favourite and a reader favourite too, just check out the comments section below to see how good it really is!
❤️ Why You'll Love this Curry
- It's creamy, tasty and full of warming flavours
- It's vegan and naturally gluten-free
- Ready in an hour, great for a tasty weeknight dinner
- Family-friendly - the whole family will love this!
🛒 What You'll Need
Please see the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions.
- Cauliflower - You'll need one whole medium head of cauliflower. When buying your cauliflower look for a clean, compact head with tightly closed bud clusters. Avoid heads with loose or crumbly florets, brown spots or a dull colour. The leaves should look fresh and green. Fresh cauliflower is best for this recipe but if you need to you can use frozen cauliflower.
- Chickpeas - I use canned chickpeas for this curry. You can use dried chickpeas if you want but you will have to allow extra time for cooking. I always give the chickpeas a good rinse under a cold tap after draining.
- Pepper - You'll also need one medium-sized green bell pepper (capsicum) for this recipe. if you can't get green pepper then a yellow or red pepper will work fine two.
- Spices - I use a mixture of dried spices for this recipe including, garam masala, dried red chilli flakes, ground cumin, ground coriander, cardamom seeds and ground turmeric.
- Coconut Milk - Full fat coconut milk is best for this recipe as it will give you the creamiest curry sauce. You can use low-fat if you want just be aware that the sauce may not be as creamy.
- Other ingredients needed - You will also need, fresh ginger, garlic, a brown onion, tinned tomatoes, fresh coriander (fresh cilantro), olive oil, salt and black pepper.
🔪 How To Make Cauliflower Chickpea Curry
1. Start by heating the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Use a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the chopped onion and cardamom pods and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the grated ginger and minced garlic, cook for a minute then add teh dry spices. Cook for a minute or two before adding the chopped pepper.
2. Next, add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. I add a little water to the can, give it a swirl to catch any bits of tomato and add that to the pan too.
3. Now add the cauliflower florets and stir them into the sauce making sure they are covered in the sauce. Place a lid on the pan now and cook for 10-15 minutes over a medium to low heat. Stir often so that the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
4. Next, add the chickpeas and stir well.
5. Now stir in the coconut milk, add the milk slowly and stir well each time.
6. Finally, simmer the curry uncovered for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. The sauce should have reduced quite a bit now and be thick and creamy. If it isn't keep simmering for another 10 minutes. The cauliflower should also be tender, you can check it with a sharp knife. Towards the end of cooking stir in the chopped coriander (cilantro). Leave to cool slightly before serving as the curry will be piping hot.
👩🍳 Top Tips
- Be careful not to overcook the spices, they only need a minute. If they are on the burnt side your curry will taste bitter.
- This curry will taste even better the next day however it will thicken up once it's been in teh fridge. When you are ready to reheat this curry, add a splash of water to loosen it up.
- Adding the coconut milk slowly and simmering the curry over low to medium heat will prevent the coconut milk from splitting. If you boil the curry the coconut milk will definitely split.
- This particular curry is on the mild side, but if you're a fan of spicy food and wish to make it hotter then you can more of the dried red pepper flakes or add a green chilli pepper chopped very finely. Add these when you add the garlic and ginger.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
I usually serve this with basmati rice or brown rice, naan or chapati. It goes really well with quinoa too. And if I'm serving this for a special occasion I'll add some extra toppings like toasted almonds, mango chutney, popadoms and raita.
- Add more veggies - I often add some extra veggies into this curry, baby spinach is great in this as are some cubes of roasted sweet potatoes. Fresh green beans are a great addition.
- Swap the veggies - This is a very adaptable recipe and you can use it as a base for other options. Try swapping the cauliflower for butternut squash and add spinach or kale for a delicious curry. Courgettes or aubergines work really well too.
- Make it extra creamy - if you want this curry to be even creamier then try swapping the coconut milk for coconut cream! This is s a bit of a treat but it really is so good! Add the coconut cream when you're supposed to add the coconut milk then add about 100 ml of vegetable broth (vegetable stock) and simmer as per the recipe.
- Make it in less time - if you're in a hurry you can make the sauce and either steam the cauliflower florets or roast them, this will spread up the process for you.
Yes! You can. Don't add the fresh coriander, then leave the curry to cool completely. Once cooled pour the curry into freezer-proof bags or containers, label then freeze for up to a month. Thaw fully before reheating then add the coriander before serving.
Yes, in fact, this curry is great for making ahead or great for meal prep. You have two options here, you can prepare the sauce ahead of time and then add the cauliflower or you can make the entire dish. Just leave out the coriander (cilantro) until you are ready to serve.
Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container once cooled and stored in the fridge. It's best to reheat this on the hob as you will need to add a splash of water to loosen it up a bit.
🍛 More Tasty Vegan Curry Recipes
We love a good curry, they are perfect for weeknight dinners or quick meals or special occasions. So it will not be a surprise to you that I have quite a number of curry recipes on this blog. Like my Mushroom Curry with Spinach and Chickpeas, this is such a delicious recipe and one of the most popular recipes I have published.
Or my Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry, this is another lovely recipe packed with flavour and a great healthier option. My Chickpea and Lentil Curry is a great budget-friendly recipe. Finally, my Aubergine and Chickpea Curry is a lovely rich curry that always goes down a treat.
Cauliflower Chickpea Curry Recipe
- 1 medium onion (160g) chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic finely minced or put through a garlic press
- 1 thumb-size piece of ginger (36g) peeled and finely grated
- 10 green cardamom pods optional
- 1 medium head of cauliflower (460g) leaves and stalk removed then cut into medium size florets
- 1 medium green bell pepper (160g) pith and seeds removed then roughly chopped
- ½ heaped tsp dried red chilli flakes
- 2 heaped tsp ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 heaped tsp garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground sea salt + a pinch when you add the onions to the pan
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 15.5oz can of cooked chickpeas (1 x 400g can) rinsed and drained
- 1 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes (1 x 400g can)
- 1 13.66 fl oz can of full fat coconut milk /(1 x 400ml can)
- A small handful of fresh cilantro/coriander, leaves removed and chopped plus more for serving
- Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Use a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onion along with a pinch of salt and cardamom pods and cook for about 10 minutes. Until the onion is translucent and a little springy and the pods have popped open.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the spices and salt. Stir well and cook for about a minute, until the spices release their flavour.
- Now add the chopped green pepper, and stir well. If your pan starts to dry out a bit then add a splash of water to it.
- Next, pour in the chopped tomatoes plus about 50 ml of water added to the empty can to catch any bits of tomatoes stuck in the can and add that to the pan. Stir well, then add the cauliflower, and the chickpeas.Season with salt and pepper now.Cover the pan, reduce the heat then simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. This will also steam the cauliflower.
- After 10-15 minutes, pour in the coconut milk slowly and stir well. Reduce the heat to low to medium then simmer uncovered over low to medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. The sauce should be reduced and thickened and the cauliflower should be tender. If the sauce is still on the thin side simmer for a further 10 minutes or so. Check the seasoning, then stir in the chopped coriander and serve immediately.
- Leave to cool slightly before serving.Serve with basmati rice, toasted flaked almonds, more coriander leaves and naan.
- Nutritional Information is approximate and does not include rice or naan. It is calculated by using an online nutrition tool
- Coconut Milk. I always use full fat coconut milk for this recipe. If you want to use reduced fat coconut milk please be aware you may not achieve the same results. The sauce may be thinner.
- Cardamom Pods. If serving this to small children you may want to fish out the cardamom pods before you add the tomatoes.
- Heat. You can adjust the heat of this curry to suit your own tastes, by adding more or less of the chilli flakes. This curry was made as a family-friendly meal, suitable for children.
- Freezing. This curry can be frozen. Don’t add the fresh cilantro/coriander, then leave the curry to cool completely. Once cooled pour the curry into freezer-proof bags or containers, label the bag or container then freeze for up to a month. Thaw fully before reheating then add the coriander before serving.
- Cauliflower. I always use fresh cauliflower. Small florets will cook quicker, while larger florets will take longer, so do bear that in mind when cutting up the cauliflower.
- Stir. Stir often to make sure the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and that the coconut milk doesn’t split.
*This recipe was first published Oct 2018 and updated Mar 2023 with new photos and more information.
This was delicious Michelle - as are all the recipes we've tried from you.
The minestrone and bean stew are a staple in our household now.
Thanks so much Elaine. I'm so happy to hear that 🙂
Alison Saalbach Corey
Wow, this curry is amazing! The cauliflower and chickpeas are cooked to perfection. I love how healthy and satisfying this dish is! Thank you for sharing this recipe. Yummmy!!!
Thank you so much Alison, I'm so glad you enjoyed it 🙂
I am all over this recipe. It's so cozy and nourishing! Absolutely love the flavors here. Thanks for the recipe!
Such a wonderful and flavor packed curry! Definitely perfect for weeknights. I love that it is plant-based.
One of my favourite veggie curries. Really filling and full of flavour!
This was delicious. SO much flavour, and really easy to make too.
Thanks so much, Dannii, I'm so glad you liked it.
I’ve just read that it freezes well.
Can you freeze this curry .Also if making it in the morning for an evening meal, should I add the coconut milk and coriander just before serving or when I’m making the curry ? TIA
Hi Annette, yes this curry freezes very well. If I was making this in the morning I would add the coconut milk but add the coriander just before serving in the evening. Hope this helps, Michelle x
Thank you so much . I’ve just made it and it tastes delicious . Don’t thinkI’ll be leaving it for the evening . It will be all gone .
That's great Annette! I'm so glad you liked it 🙂
This was delicious. Even better the next day. I thought the spice ratio we perfect. I did salt and pepper when I ate but I always do that. Will make again. Yum hum!?
Thanks so much Madelynn, I'm, so glad you liked it 🙂
I tried this recipe tonight. unfortunately it came out extremely bitter.. any suggestions? did i burn the spices? too much Garam Masala?
Hi Diana, I'm so sorry that it turned out bitter. I've made this many times and that has never been an issue for me. It may be that you did burn the spices, they only need a minute or two to cook. I don't feel like there is too much garam masala in this and I don't think that the amount would cause this curry to be bitter. You could have overcooked the cauliflower, this would cause a bitter taste.
Love this recipe and found it easy to follow recipe
Following on from the Butternut Squash and Chickpea recipe, I made sure I had some Coconut Milk in (full fat) for this recipe. Another winner! Not only am I playing around with new vegetarian menus, but I'm also getting used to an induction hotplate. Anyway, followed recipe to letter then tried the cauliflower. I thought it was 'harder' that what I was used to. Everything else was spot on...and then the penny dropped! This was how cauliflower is supposed to be in terms of texture and taste. What an eye-opener to discover that I've always overcooked cauliflower in every meal. Your site is a treasure trove for the vegetarian. Thanks so much!
Hi Graham, I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe too. I think we've all grown up eating vegetables that were slightly overcooked, and have been so used to certain veggies being soft. I know I definitely have. But if you prefer your cauliflower a little softer then I would pop a lid on the pan and cook this for a bit longer. Thank you so much for your kind words, I'm so glad you are finding lots of veggie inspiration here. Best wishes, Michelle.
Made this for the first time yesterday. My 2 year old daughter loves it too.
Thanks Stuart, I'm glad you both enjoyed it 🙂
Love this recipe. I added an extra onion and added half the cauliflower leaves sliced up. Would be tempted to add a handful of spinach or kale.
Hi Denise, I'm so glad you're enjoying it. I love the idea of adding the cauliflower leaves, that's such a great idea! I have added spinach to this a few times and it works really well. I've not tried kale though, will have to give that a go 🙂 Xx
Delicious and easy. I used to buy canned chickpeas but now cook them myself and always have them in the refrigerator. This is one recipe I didn’t have to tinker with. It is perfect as written.
Hi Gayle, thank you so much for your lovely comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Hi Can I freeze this and I know you’ve used fresh cauliflower but does frozen work ok?
Hi Viki, you can freeze this. I would leave out the fresh coriander adn add that when you reheat it. You can freeze it for up to a month. You can use frozen cauliflower to make this, it may make the sauce slightly more watery though. I hope that helps x
Hi this looks really good we're just beginning our journey into meat free my daughter is allergic to chickpeas, what can we substitute them with please? Would really like to try this. Many Thanks Kate
Hi Kate, you could substitute the chickpeas for cannellini beans, butter beans or haricot beans I think would work well too. Best wishes, Michelle x