Curry-Spiced Cauliflower with Saucy Lentils

published Jul 21, 2022
Curry-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower with Saucy Lentils Recipe
Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
cauliflower on a plate on a pink surfac
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Greg Lofts; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez Hart

Inspired by a large vegetarian plate from a Michelin-starred restaurant in Chicago, this recipe uses home-kitchen-friendly cooking techniques and fewer and more affordable ingredients. How affordable? I was able to make dinner for four for $8.55.

The recipe starts with a whole head of cauliflower ($2), which gets quartered and slathered with an herby, curry-spiced yogurt mixture and studded with dried cherries ($.89). The cauliflower is roasted and served over saucy green or brown lentils ($.44) that are cooked in vegetable broth ($.74) with onion ($.80) and diced cilantro stems. 

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Greg Lofts; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez Hart

One of the money-saving strategies in this dish is using ingredients in multiple ways. A half bunch of cilantro ($.44) is used in the lentils, the coating for the cauliflower, and the yogurt sauce. Six garlic cloves ($.13) are used in the same three components. Plain yogurt ($.60) is called for twice: in the curry coating and the tangy finishing sauce. With the juice and zest of a lime ($.66), a touch of honey, and more cilantro, the yogurt sauce is a cooling counterpoint to the curry powder ($.80) and black pepper.

The finished dish is full of contrasting flavors and textures — tender (but not too tender) roasted cauliflower, chewy dried cherries, al dente lentils. And then there’s that yogurt sauce to pull everything together. It’s a fine-dining dish at a fraction of the price. Who knows, it might even inspire you to break out your white tablecloth.

Curry-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower with Saucy Lentils Recipe

Prep time 30 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup

    dried green or brown lentils

  • 6 cloves

    garlic, divided

  • 1/2 medium bunch

    fresh cilantro

  • 2/3

    plus 1/2 cup plain full-fat yogurt (about 10 ounces), divided

  • 1/2 cup

    dried tart cherries

  • 5 tablespoons

    vegetable oil, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder

  • 2 3/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons

    ground black pepper, divided

  • 1 medium head

    cauliflower (about 2 pounds)

  • 1

    large white onion

  • 2 cups

    low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1

    medium lime

  • 1 teaspoon

    honey

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Rinse 2/3 cup dried green or brown lentils under cool running water. Drain and set aside in a medium bowl.

  3. Grate or mince 3 of the garlic cloves and add to the lentils. Repeat with 2 of the garlic cloves, placing them in a medium bowl for the herbed curry coating. Repeat with the remaining 1 garlic clove, placing it in a small bowl for the yogurt sauce.

  4. Cut the stems from 1/2 medium bunch fresh cilantro and finely chop until you have about 1/4 cup; add to the lentils. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and tender stems until you have about 1/2 cup. Add half to the bowl for the curry coating, and add the remaining to the bowl for the yogurt sauce.

  5. Add 1/2 cup of the plain yogurt, 1/2 cup dried tart cherries, 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder, 3/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper to the bowl for the curry coating. Stir until the curry powder is evenly distributed and the mixture is well combined.

  6. Quarter the 1 medium head cauliflower through the core and trim the stem from each piece. Place on the baking sheet. Using your hands, coat each piece all over in the curry mixture, pressing the cherries into the nooks and crannies. Arrange cut-side up and roast until darkened in color and just fork tender in the core, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the onion and lentils and finish the yogurt sauce.

  7. Halve and thinly slice 1 large white onion. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 3/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, translucent, and starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or plate.

  8. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the lentil mixture, 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper to the now-empty saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

  9. Add 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid is evaporated and the lentils are still slightly al dente, 12 to 25 minutes.

  10. Finely grate the zest from 1 medium lime into the reserved bowl of cilantro and garlic. Juice the lime into the bowl. Add the remaining 2/3 cup plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon honey, remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir well to combine.

  11. When the lentils are ready, add the onions and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.

  12. Serve the cauliflower over the lentils, drizzled with the yogurt sauce.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The lentils, cauliflower, and yogurt sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 3 days. Reheat the lentils in a small saucepan over medium heat with a splash of water or broth until hot. Reheat the cauliflower by searing on an oiled nonstick pan or griddle for 3 minutes on each side, or reheat in the oven for 15 minutes at 375ºF.

Vegan: Use your favorite plant-based yogurt and maple syrup instead of the honey to make it vegan.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 3 days.