Home » Whole Roasted Cauliflower & Vegan Makhani Sauce
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with vegan Makhani sauce

Whole Roasted Cauliflower & Vegan Makhani Sauce

Jump to Recipe

Whole Roasted Cauliflower & Vegan Makhani Sauce is an impressive main dish for the holidays―it looks like a bubbly volcano on your table! Smelling it bake in the oven will make your mouth water.

This curried makhani sauce is creamy, buttery, and decadent. Serve with rice, naan bread, or ancient grains. The leftovers are great in wraps and bowls.

Vegan Richa Rocks!

I’ve adapted this recipe from Richa Hingle’s cookbook Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook. This was one of the first vegan cookbooks I bought when I went vegan back in 2016. It’s a fabulous cookbook! Many of its pages have become crusted with food spatter and graffitied with notes—the telltale signs of heavy use.

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook
Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook

I’ve based this adaptation off of the Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Makhani Gravy page from the cookbook mentioned above. Vegan Richa also has a blog post that varies slightly from the cookbook version.

Make-Ahead

I like to blanch the cauliflower and make the sauce beforehand, storing them separately. Then I am ready to roast as instructed.

Prepped sauce, blanched cauliflower, baking dish and optional cilantro for garnish
Prepped sauce, blanched cauliflower, baking dish, and optional cilantro for garnish

When the sauce sits overnight or longer, the flavors marry and create an even tastier sauce.

Double Sauce

I also recommend doubling the sauce. You can freeze it and make another head of cauliflower later, or eat it with veggies, grains, or rice. It’s an I could drink it, and maybe I have sauce.

When doubling the sauce, blend in batches. Also, you may want to cook the sauce in two pans. Alternatively, you could prep enough for doubling the sauce and make two batches back-to-back.

If you double the sauce, you will also enjoy the satisfying feeling of using the entire cans of coconut milk and diced tomatoes with green chilies. You won’t need to figure out what to do with the leftover ingredients or freeze them and find them months later—instead, you’ll have more lovely sauce.

Adaptation Notes

I’ve omitted the cayenne pepper from the cauliflower blanching part from the original recipe because it makes pepper gas in my tiny kitchen. There are other heat-spice components in this recipe, such as crushed red pepper flakes and my addition of using half a can of tomatoes with green chilies.

As a shortcut, I’ve substituted canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes because I think opening cans is less labor-intensive than chopping tomatoes. Look for no salt added tomatoes if you are concerned about sodium intake.

The use of half a can of tomatoes with green chilies was born out of not wanting to go to the store for more canned or fresh tomatoes. It did magical things to this already prized sauce. Namely, it played up the flavors and added some lingering heat-spice.

Canned tomatoes with and without green chilies
Canned tomatoes with and without green chilies

After experimenting with using more green chilies, I determined that half a can of tomatoes with green chilies is the exact right amount of green chilies for this luxurious sauce. If you are making this for kids or heat-spice-sensitive eaters, you can make it with only plain canned tomatoes.

I’ve increased the maple syrup a little to balance the flavors.

Also, I’ve altered the cooking method to avoid heating the reserved sauce on the side. Instead, I prefer baking the cauliflower in all of the sauce, adding the reserved sauce toward the end. I think the sauce is most extraordinary when its flavors have mingled and become a little more concentrated in the oven.

Prep Notes

I measure the garam masala, cumin, coriander, and turmeric into the same small bowl or ramekin because they are added to the pan together. Additionally, I measure the salt, fenugreek seeds, and crushed red pepper into a small bowl together for the same reason.

To prep the cauliflower, remove leaves and cut off the stem, keeping the cauliflower head whole.

Let’s Make Whole Roasted Cauliflower & Vegan Makhani Sauce!

Ingredients for Whole Roasted Cauliflower & Vegan Makhani
Ingredients for Whole Roasted Cauliflower & Vegan Makhani

Cauliflower

Add water, salt, and turmeric to a large pot and bring to a boil.

Bringing water, salt, and turmeric to a boil in a large pot
Bringing water, salt, and turmeric to a boil

Use enough water to immerse the cauliflower. The cauliflower will float, and a little bit of it will peek above the water.

Add the cauliflower to the boiling, salted, turmeric water.

Cauliflower floating in boiling turmeric & salt water
Cauliflower floating in boiling turmeric & salt water

Cover with lid and cook for 3 minutes; flip the cauliflower head and cook for 3 minutes. You can flip the cauliflower head with a large metal spatula.

Then drain the blanched cauliflower by carefully pouring the contents of the large pot into a colander.

Vegan Makhani Sauce

In a pan, add oil and heat over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until golden, 6-7 minutes.


Add ginger and garlic. Sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add the spices (garam masala, cumin, coriander, and turmeric) and mix.


Add tomatoes, tomatoes with green chilies, syrup, salt, fenugreek seeds, and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix and simmer covered for 8-10 minutes, reducing heat to medium-low.

Cool slightly, then blend with coconut milk, cashews, and water until smooth. Taste and adjust salt, spices.

Bake

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Set aside a third (about 1 & 1/3 – 1 & 1/2 cups) of the sauce for the last 15 minutes of baking.

Pour about 1/2 cup of sauce onto the middle of the casserole dish, spread the sauce out with a spatula, and place the cauliflower on top.

Slowly pour the sauce on top of the cauliflower, covering the entire head of the cauliflower. Some sauce will fall down the sides. Use a spatula to spread sauce on any parts of the cauliflower that are not covered.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Then remove from the oven, pour the remaining reserved sauce on top of the cauliflower, rotate the dish, and return it to the oven for 15 minutes.

The sauce in the casserole dish will be bubbly and very hot. The sauced, roasted cauliflower will look deeper in color and drier than when originally sauced.

Serve with rice, homemade vegan naan, Instant Pot Ancient Grains, salad, or/and sides you enjoy.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with vegan Makhani sauce
Print Pin
5 from 3 votes

Whole Roasted Cauliflower & Vegan Makhani Sauce

Whole Roasted Cauliflower & Vegan Makhani Sauce is an impressive main dish for the holidays―it looks like a bubbly volcano on your table! Smelling it bake in the oven will make your mouth water.
The Makhani sauce is creamy, buttery, and decadent. Serve with rice, naan bread, or ancient grains. The leftovers are great in wraps and bowls. 
Course Dinner, Holiday, Main Course, Meal Prep, Party Food
Cuisine American, California, Classic, Fusion, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword creamy, dairy-free, Date Night, decadent, dreamy, flavorful, Hot, make-ahead, meal prep, Meatless, non-dairy
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Inactive 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 250kcal

Equipment

  • Blender
  • large sauté pan
  • baking dish
  • Colander

Ingredients

Cauliflower

  • 1 cauliflower head leaves and tough stem removed and washed
  • 3 – 4 quarts water to blanch
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Vegan Makhani Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 3/4 red onion chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger chopped 2 – 3 teaspoons jarred ginger or paste, or ~1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 5-6 cloves cloves of garlic chopped ~2 TBSP jarred
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes more or less to taste, may want to omit for kids or heat-spice sensitive eaters
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes 1 can, do not drain
  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes with green chili half of 14.5 oz can, do not drain, may want to omit for kids or heat-spice sensitive eaters and just use plain diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk from the can half of a 13.5 oz can
  • 1/3 cup cashews (raw, roasted and/or salted will all work) soaked overnight, or boiled and soaked in the hot water for ~15 minutes, if you are not using a high speed blender and to help make the sauce extra creamy.
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt use 1/2 teaspoon of salt to start if your cashews and/or canned tomatoes are salted
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2 TBSPs water optional, to thin the sauce

Garnish

  • Chopped fresh cilantro or basil optional

Instructions

Cauliflower

  • Add water, salt, and turmeric to a large pot and bring to a boil. Use enough water to immerse the cauliflower. The cauliflower will float, and a little bit of it will peek above the water.
  • Add the cauliflower to the boiling, salted, turmeric water. Cover with lid and cook for 3 minutes; flip the cauliflower head and cook for 3 minutes. You can flip the cauliflower head with a large metal spatula.
  • Then drain the blanched cauliflower by carefully pouring the contents of the large pot into a colander.

Vegan Makhani Sauce

  • In a pan, add oil and heat over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until golden, 6-7 minutes.
  • Add ginger and garlic. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the spices (garam masala, cumin, coriander, and turmeric) and mix.
  • Add tomatoes, tomatoes with green chilies, syrup, salt, fenugreek seeds, and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix and simmer covered for 8-10 minutes, reducing heat to medium-low.
  • Cool slightly, then blend with coconut milk, cashews, and water until smooth. Taste and adjust salt, spices.

Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Set aside a third (about 1 & 1/3 – 1 & 1/2 cups) of the sauce for the last 15 minutes of baking.
  • Pour about 1/2 cup of sauce onto the middle of the casserole dish, spread the sauce out with a spatula, and place the cauliflower on top.
  • Slowly pour the sauce on top of the cauliflower, covering the entire head of the cauliflower. Some sauce will fall down the sides. Use a spatula to spread sauce on any parts of the cauliflower that are not covered in sauce.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.
  • Then remove from the oven, pour the remaining reserved sauce on top of the cauliflower, rotate the dish, and return it to the oven for 15 minutes.
  • The sauce in the casserole dish will be bubbly and very hot. The sauced, roasted cauliflower will look deeper in color and drier than when originally sauced.

Serve

Notes

Nutrition Information is approximate.

Make-Ahead

I like to blanch the cauliflower and make the sauce beforehand, storing them separately. Then I am ready to roast as instructed.

When the sauce sits overnight or longer, the flavors marry and create an even tastier sauce.

Double Sauce

I also recommend doubling the sauce. You can freeze it and make another head of cauliflower later, or eat it with veggies, grains, or rice. It’s an I could drink it, and maybe I have sauce.
When doubling the sauce, blend in batches. Also, you may want to cook the sauce in two pans. Alternatively, you could prep enough for doubling the sauce and make two batches back-to-back.
If you double the sauce, you will also enjoy the satisfying feeling of using the entire cans of coconut milk and diced tomatoes with green chilies. You won’t need to figure out what to do with the leftover ingredients or freeze them and find them months later—instead, you’ll have more lovely sauce.
www.planttestkitchen.com

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 1579mg | Potassium: 838mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 237IU | Vitamin C: 72mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 5mg

For your shopping convenience, this post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Recipe adapted from Richa Hingle’s cookbook Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook.

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy No-Boil Vegan Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells In Red Sauce and Classic Vegan Muffin Tin Stuffing.

Did You Make Whole Roasted Cauliflower & Vegan Makhani Sauce?

Was it delicious? Did you drink the sauce? Eat this with any sides? Was it a special occasion or a treat yourself kind of meal? Will you be making it again? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

Introducing Magnesi-Om™ | Unstress on a Cellular Level

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




*