Vegan Butter "chicken" with whole roasted cauliflower

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Is it plant based or is it vegan, it's both - and it is delicious!

Ok, so I have been thinking about what to name this dish, since the word chicken and butter, both are not vegan things/names. But removing Butter or chicken from the recipe name and the ingredient list, it won't really make sense to most people what dish it is that you are making. So please bear with me on this - sorry real vegans, I hope you are not offended and anyone else who is just eating more plant based on a weekly basis, I think you will really love this recipe.

The chicken has become whole roasted cauliflower

I have made some creative changes to what is normally considered a classic butter chicken, but I really think it works well, so try it out for yourself - it's a winner.


Vegan Butter "chicken" with whole roasted cauliflower


Yield: 4-6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Active cooking time: 20 minutes

Passive cooking time: 60 minutes


Whole roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower

  • 3 tbsp oil or coconut oil

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1/2 tsp tumeric

  • 1/2 tsp cumin

  • salt

  • 1 lemon

For the sauce

  • 2 onions

  • 1 golf ball sized knob of ginger

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 1 tbsp. garam masala

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin

  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds

  • 1 can tinned tomatoes (400 g /14 oz)

  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (optional)

  • 1,5 tsp fine salt - plus extra to taste

  • 1 cup (250 ml) cream ( I use a plant based oat cream)

  • 1/2 cup water or bouillon

  • 2 tbsp olive oil for cooking

Side ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (400 g /14oz)

  • 50 g raisins

  • 50 g almonds chopped

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro/coriander

  • 1 cup basmati rice

  • optional - yoghurt naturel ( I use oat yoghurt)


Cauliflower: you can substitute cauliflower for broccoli (then you have a 25% shorter cooking time) or root celery (then you have about 25% longer cooking time)

Chickpeas: you can leave these out or substitute with any type of bean - just not baked beans... ( i mean you can, but I don't recommend it)

How to make Garam masala

If you can't buy the ready mixed garam masala you can mix it your self with the ingredients underneath and keep it in an airtight container for next time.

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

How to make the vegan butter "chicken"


Step 1

pre-heat oven to 395*F/200*C

Rinse the cauliflower and pick of the outer leaves - if any. Cut the bottom part of the stalk off if it looks dry and gnarly.

Step 2

Mix all the dry spices with 2 tbsp of oil and season with salt.

Brush the cauliflower with the spiced oil and sprinkle with salt.

Place the cauliflower in a cast iron pot or skillet, add 2 tbsp water to the bottom of the skillet and roast it covered up for 20 minutes.

Step 3

Uncover the cauliflower and baste the cauliflower with any oil and spice drippings from the bottom of the skillet.

Roast the cauliflower for 20-30 minutes more until its golden brown and tender in the core.

Begin the sauce whilst it's roasting.

Preparing the base for the sauce.

Now this part is actually where you can do your future self a favor by prepping ahead and doubling or quadrupling the base ingredients. (onion, garlic, ginger spices and canned tomatoes).

This sauce can be frozen down for the next time you are making butter chicken, and then you will have dinner in no time. Also the flavors get better with time.

Step 1

Mince the garlic and ginger and peel and slice the onions thinly.

Step 2

Heat up the oil at medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and ginger with the garam masala, cumin, ground coriander and salt until the onion has softened. This is the point where you add the chili powder if you want it spicy. If you are serving it up for kids, I would recommend you to leave it out.

Step 3

Add canned tomatoes and the water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Step 4

Blend the sauce until smooth, taste it and season with salt and possibly a bit more garam masala.

Pour it back into the pot and let it simmer at low heat for 5-7 minutes.



If you have made 2 or 4 times the portion, this is where you fill the extra portions in containers and lat them cool down before you freeze them for the future - you are welcome!.


Step 5

Cook the rice according to the packet.

Strain the chickpeas, add them to the sauce with the raisins and half the copped almonds.

Bring it to a boil and turn the heat down.

Add the cream to the sauce base and gently heat it up, with out boiling it.

Pull the pot of the stove.

Step 6

Check that the cauliflower is done by inserting a cake tester into the center of the stalk. If it slides through smoothly - it's done.

If not pop it back into the oven or slice it up in 6-8 wedges and finish them on a pan, by caramelizing the cut sides in a bit of oil and salt. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil before serving.

Step 7

Serve rice and cauliflower topped with the sauce, chopped almonds and fresh cilantro.

If you have seasoned with chili powder, I can recommend serving it with a spoonful of yoghurt (I use plant based oat yoghurt)

Let me know how you like it - it has become a favorite at my house, even though I do make it with chicken sometimes for the 9 year old :D

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