Vegetarian curry, loaded with cauliflower, sweet potatoes, peas, and zucchini, has a creamy red coconut sauce pleasantly spiced with just the right amount of heat.
Why you’ll love it: This curry is loaded with veggies and has a super sauce.
How long it takes: 1 hour
Equipment you’ll need: sharp knife, large pan or Dutch oven, stove, measuring utensils
Fragrant spices, loads of veggies, a creamy red coconut sauce … this is really good vegetarian eating. It’s pretty much guaranteed to bring smiles.
And it will make your body happy too. A vegetable curry is one of the tastiest ways to get those healthy veggies into your daily diet. It’s a feel good meal with only 277 calories per serving (not including rice).
This vegetable curry recipe is kind of a marriage between Thai and Indian curries. I associate the inclusion of cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas more with Indian dishes but the creamy coconut milk sauce is definitely Thai influenced. Maybe you could say it’s a good example of fusion cuisine.
While I’m not going to give up take out from my favorite Thai restaurant (I love you, Thai Chef!), this vegetarian curry definitely is a healthier alternative. Try it tonight — I think you’ll love it!
About This Curry Recipe
While the list of ingredients may look a bit long, remember that a curry requires lots of great spice. This recipe calls for six aromatic spices, plus fresh ginger and garlic. Because it’s a vegetarian curry, it has five vegetables, plus fresh cilantro.
Don’t worry if you’re missing one of the spices or veggies. Your curry will still be fine. Remember, you’re the cook and you have full control over your curry. Make it how you want and don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not like you’re having a celebrity chef for dinner, right? Your family or friends will love the dinner you prepared for them.
Here’s how to make this delightful curry, with a few extra tips and suggestions:
Look for the printable recipe with measurements and directions at the end of this post.
What you need
- From your spice cupboard: Garam masala (a blend of spices), ground coriander, ground turmeric, sweet paprika, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, and salt
- More flavor makers: Onion, garlic, grated fresh ginger root, tomato paste, fresh cilantro
- Vegetables: Cauliflower, sweet potato, zucchini, peas
- Protein Booster: Canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- Sauce it up: With coconut milk and vegetable broth
- Serve it up: More cilantro, lime or lemon juice, and fragrant cooked rice
How to make this Recipe
Okay, lots of ingredients BUT the preparation of this dish is really quite simple. You’ll want to get some jasmine rice steaming first.
Let’s get ready: prep the vegetables, measure the spices into a small bowl, and gather the rest of the ingredients.
You’ll need a large skillet with a cover — I like my straight-sided skillet because it has plenty of room.
Okay, everything’s prepped so here we go!
Warm up a glug of olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onions and cook until they soften. Add the garlic, ginger, and dry spices. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes. It will smell so fragrant and spicy! Enjoy that heavenly smell but not for too long! You don’t want to burn them.
Add a couple tablespoons of tomato paste, cooking and stirring like crazy, until it coats the onions and the spices, for about one minute.
Add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and chickpeas, along with the vegetable broth and coconut milk. That’s pretty much everything except the peas and cilantro.
Stir it all up, bring it to a simmer, cover and cook over low heat for fifteen to twenty minutes. The cauliflower and sweet potatoes should be fork tender and the sauce will thicken slightly.
Just before serving, stir in fresh chopped cilantro. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice if you like. It’s optional but does add a nice flavor.
Really, wasn’t that easy? Doesn’t it seem like something that tastes so heavenly would take much longer to cook?
Serve the curry over rice. Raise a glass of lightly chilled rosé to happy eating!
Many curries are vegetarian recipes. To add protein, try canned chickpeas, lentils, or crispy tofu. I like air fried tofu or baked tofu. Stir it into the curry right before serving.
In this vegetarian curry, the only sources of fat are good-for-you olive oil and coconut milk. To make a curry lighter or with less fat, try replacing the coconut milk with light coconut milk. The curry won’t be as creamy. To make it without coconut milk, try Greek yogurt, cashew cream, or almond milk thickened with cornstarch.
While it’s good practice to toast the spices in oil before proceeding with your curry recipe, if overdone, the spices can become bitter. Usually two minutes is enough time for the spices to release their wonderful aroma. Immediately add the next ingredients so the spices don’t continue to toast in the pan.
If your curry tastes bitter, add a bit of sugar and/or salt. Often that will counteract the bitter taste. Add small amounts, a pinch at a time, and taste frequently. Another remedy is a squeeze of lime juice.
If your curry is mild and you were looking for fire, try stirring in a pinch of red pepper flakes. Ground cayenne pepper will add heat, as well as Sriracha.
Make It your own
- Add protein such as tofu, chicken, or shrimp. Sauté them first in the oil until cooked, remove from pan, and continue with recipe, adding them back in before serving.
- Substitute other vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli, pea pods, edamame, potatoes, or whatever you have.
- Like hot curries? Add more red pepper flakes, to taste, or serve the curry with Sriracha sauce on the side.
Prep the onion, cauliflower, zucchini, and sweet potatoes ahead of time and store separately in covered containers in the fridge. The diced sweet potatoes should be covered with water to prevent discoloration. Drain before using.
Mix the dried spices in a small bowl or bag and store until you’re ready to cook. Wash the cilantro and make sure you have the other ingredients you need.
Storage & Reheating Suggestions
Store leftover curry in a covered container for up to three days in the fridge. I’m not crazy about freezing this curry because the sweet potatoes get kind of a mushy texture and the coconut milk tends to separate a bit.
To reheat, simmer in a saucepan or skillet until warmed through. Or microwave in 15 second increments, covered, until heated.
Have a lot of curry left over? Make a curry noodle soup. In a saucepan, add vegetable broth to the curry to make a soup. Heat until simmering, then add a package of ramen noodles, stirring until the noodles are soft. If you like, throw in a handful or two of spinach or another tender green. Serve with crispy wonton strips.
More meatless main dish recipes
- Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers – Southwestern style
- Gnocchi with Kale & Sun-Dried Tomatoes – ONE PAN!
- Moroccan Stew with Butternut Squash and Chickpeas
- Vegetarian Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- Lentil Soup Recipe with Pasta
- Red Lentil Soup Recipe — Middle East inspired
- Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- Vegetarian Nachos with Creamy Cilantro Lime Drizzle
- Tortellini with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce and Spinach
- Easy Vegetarian Taco Cups (ready in 20 minutes!)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
- ½ head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
- 2 cups cubed peeled sweet potato (1-inch pieces)
- 2 cups zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into ¼-inch pieces (12 oz.)
- 1 can (16 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 can (15 oz.) coconut milk
- 1 cup peas
- ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro, more for serving
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice (see note)
- Cooked rice and cilantro leaves, for serving
- Heat oil in large Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, paprika, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until onions and spices are coated with tomato paste.
- Add cauliflower, sweet potato, zucchini, chickpeas, broth, and coconut milk and gently simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender and sauce has thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in peas and lemon juice, if using.
- Serve over rice, sprinkled with cilantro, if desired.
- Instead of stirring in juice, serve with wedges of lime or lemon.
- Nutrition calculations do not include rice.
- If desired, add protein such as tofu, chicken, or shrimp. Sauté them first in the oil until cooked, remove from pan, and continue with recipe, adding them back in before serving.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.