The Vegan Option: Fast, Easy, Economical, and Delicious Cauliflower, Chickpeas, and Coconut Milk

February 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm


Not too long ago, a food industry acquaintance said that, “I always wanted to change things”.  She was talking about recipes and I don’t think she meant it as a compliment.  Then I stumbled across a piece where another food industry acquaintance was quoted talking about being served fake ribs, this was several years ago and I will never be convinced that he wasn’t talking about me.  It wasn’t complimentary either.  Now I rarely serve meat analogs to folks anymore—food industry or not—because my husband loathes them, but I have nothing against them and find some of them quite tasty.  Yes, even some of those that taste like meat that come from huge multinational conglomerates.

Unlike some people, I don’t own a lot of cookbooks.  In fact, I only purchased three cook books last year, and one used birthday gift certificates from  Instead,  I get many of my ideas from magazines and newspapers.  The problem for me is the same as it is for some folks who buy lots of cookbooks; I intend to get around to cooking that shiny new recipe and I just don’t do it.  Last year, I culled several recipes from my binder that included recipes for poultry and seafood back when I ate them.  I last ate poultry and seafood over 15 years ago.   Additionally, in 2011 I had an unofficial rule to cook more of those recipes, post-culling, from periodicals, including blogs, and have no repeats because I had more than enough old recipes, to do no repeats for the entire year!  This year, has gone well so far except Cook’s Illustrated’s Fluffy Scrambled Eggs and Blueberry Pancakes—we had fresh eggs—showed up two or three times last week.  This week’s recipe was made for dinner the Monday before the Super Bowl and I couldn’t help but think of how I wanted to change it to make it even better—although I thought the original was exquisite.  It was perfect to take to a last-minute-Super Bowl Party.

So here’s what we took to the Super Bowl Party as the “Vegetarian Option”, as my husband called it, and it held its own surrounded by chips, peanuts, salsas, guacamole, garlic bread, and three or four types of chicken wings.  This dish is fast, easy, delicious, and chock-full of beans and cruciferous vegetables.  The bonus is it is vegan!

One-Pot Curried Cauliflower Rice with Coconut Milk, inspired by Martha Stewart


4 t. vegetable oil

1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces—close to 4 lbs or more prior to coring

Coarse salt and ground white pepper

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 c. basmati rice

4 t. curry powder

2 cans (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 3/4 c. vegetable broth

1/2 cup Asian-style coconut milk, the kind that tastes like coconut, not the stuff you use as a replace for cows’ milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat 2 t. oil on medium-high. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, until browned in spots, about 10 minutes and don’t be surprised if all of your cauliflower won’t fit in one layer. Remove browned cauliflower and season with salt and white pepper. Add the remaining 2 t. oil and onion to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add rice, curry powder, and chickpeas  to the pot and season with salt and white pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until rice is coated, about 2 minutes. Add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Scatter cauliflower over top (do not stir to combine). Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.