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A bowl of vegetarian cauliflower chickpea curry with coconut.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry with Coconut

  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


This simple vegetarian/ vegan curry is both hearty and light, and packed with layer after layer of flavor. The combination of chickpeas and cauliflower is super nutritions and creates an interesting combination of flavors that's meaty without actually including any meat.


  • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (*see note)
  • 1 - 2 cups roasted cabbage (*see note)
  • A 1 1/2 - 2 lb head of cauliflower; 3-4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced shallot
  • 1 small jalapeño, stem and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 anchovy fillets (*see note for vegan substitutions)
  • 8 oz green curry paste (you can use red curry paste if you like)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk (*See note)
  • 3 tsp real maple syrup (can also use honey, molasses, or brown sugar)
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 or 16 ounces)
  • 1 - 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 cups of cooked rice, for serving


* Have all ingredients prepped and at hand before you begin cooking the curry. 

  1. Add the shredded coconut to a skillet and set it over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the coconut is starting to brown. The second you see brown spots on a few pieces of coconut, stir constantly, and watch carefully. Cook only until about half the coconut is brown. If you cook any longer, some of the coconut will burn. Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the coconut into a bowl. Set aside to cool while you prepare the curry.
  2. Cut the roasted cabbage into 2-inch pieces, pile it into a bowl, and set aside.
  3. Slice the cauliflower head from the stem, break apart the individual florets, pile them into a bowl, and set aside.
  4. Add the oil, diced shallot, jalapeño, and red bell pepper to a large saucepan and set the pan over medium heat. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and the shallots look translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium high, add the cauliflower, and sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon more salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is spotted with brown splotches. (See images and video above for what this should look like.)
  6. Reduce the heat back down to medium and add the diced garlic, grated ginger, and anchovy fillets. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the curry paste and garam masala and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer.
  7. Stir in the broth (or water), coconut  milk and the maple syrup, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir. Stir in the chickpeas and another 1/2 tsp of salt. Turn the heat up to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  8. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the lime juice. Start with 1 tablespoon and taste. Add more salt and more lime juice, bit by bit, until it tastes right to you. Stir in the chopped cabbage and cilantro.
  9. Serve over rice, topped with shredded coconut.


  • Should you use sweet or unsweet shredded coconut? Topping curry with sweetened or unsweetened coconut is simply a matter of taste. Personally, I like how sweetened coconut compliments the savory flavors in the curry. But, if you don't typically like to blend sweet and savory flavors, use unsweetened coconut.
  • Roasting cabbage takes about 5 minutes of hands-on time and results in tender, slightly caramelized cabbage with a deliciously concentrated flavor. But, you can also sautéed chopped cabbage for a few minutes, which is a much quicker option if you're in a hurry. Simply chop 2 cups of cabbage into 2-inch pieces and heat about 1 tsp of oil in a sauté pan or wok over high heat until the oil is just beginning to smoke. Add the cabbage to the hot oil and cook, stirring constantly, until parts of the cabbage are blistered and the cabbage is crisp-tender.
  • Vegan substitutions for anchovies: minced kalamata olives, soya sauce, or miso
  • Coconut Milk: I prefer to use full- fat coconut milk from a can, which will make the dish silkier than reduced fat. If you're wondering what the difference is between canned coconut milk and the kind found in cartons, see information above the recipe.
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Bowls