One positive of the social distancing period is more time to cook and experiment with kitchen pantry staples for meal ideas. One thing that I have been dying to try is a vegan take on Indian butter chicken. It’s a favorite among many and there’s no reason it can’t be enjoyed in a vegan version as well. Using cauliflower and chickpeas, I am proud to present this vegan Indian butter chicken recipe.
The great thing about this recipe is it is made with mostly pantry staples! Aside from cauliflower (and you could probably try roasting the frozen florets) and onion, everything in this recipe can easily be classified as a pantry staple. That means you might be able to make this dish without running to the store! Winning! Not only that, but if you serve it with your favorite sides, such as rice or rotis, can also be made with pantry staple ingredients.
What you’ll love about this vegan Indian butter chicken?
- It’s vegan. You don’t need to sacrifice the flavor because it’s vegan.
- Pantry friendly. Frozen cauliflower, and a fresh onion are all you need. The rest is pantry friendly ingredients.
- Delicious. Don’t feel like you need to sacrifice flavor to be vegan. This dish packs all the flavor of butter chicken without the dairy or meat products.
- Protein packed. Between the chickpeas and cashews, you get a good amount of protein in this, as you would from the chicken version.
- Hidden veggies. While you have cauliflower in the dish, your kids may not realize there is tomato and onion in the sauce. Shhh, it’s a secret. 🙂
How to make this vegan Indian butter chicken?
- Make the cashew cream. Soak the cashews prior to blending. If you have a performance blender, you may be able to do it without soaking as long. Add the water and cashews to the blender and blend.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- On a lined baking sheet, add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until they start to brown slightly.
- While cauliflower is roasting, heat coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and spices. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Mix in the tomato and cashew cream.
- With an immersion blender or in the blender, puree the contents until they make a smooth sauce.
- Pour the sauce back into the pan, and stir in the chickpeas and cauliflower.
- Simmer for 10 minutes. Prior to serving, stir in lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garnish with cilantro.
- Serve with a side of rice or rotis.
Vegan Butter Chicken (Chickpeas and Cauliflower)
- 2 cans chickpeas or about 3 cups cooked
- 1/3 cup cashews soaked for 2 hours
- 2/3 cup water
- 15 oz can chopped tomato
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ head cauliflower, cut in florets
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp cardamom powder
- pinch nutmeg
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets and place on a lined baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
Make the Cashew Cream
- Blend together the soaked cashews and water in a high-speed blender.
Make the 'Butter' Sauce
- In a large skillet, melt the coconut oil.
- Add the chopped onion. Saute until browned and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and spices. Cook for another minute, mixing in well.
- Add salt and pepper as well as the canned tomatoes. Then stir in the cashew cream.
- Place the sauce back in the skillet on the stove. Stir in the roasted cauliflower and the chickpeas.
- Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Serve with roti or rice. Garnish with lemon juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper.
If you tried this recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! This is a new favorite in our house. Did you make any modifications? Let me know!