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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Lentil Cauliflower Curry: Instant Pot Recipe (Vegan)

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This delicious lentil cauliflower curry is a nutritious and flavorful vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dish! It’s so easy to make and leaves you with plenty of leftovers! Perfect for busy weeknights!

Lentil Cauilflower Curry served in a stainless steel pot with naan, cilantro and rice on the side

My Instant Pot is one of my favorite kitchen tools – I use it on a weekly basis for making easy recipes at home! It’s so handy for when I just have about 20 minutes while running around with the kids to throw some ingredients into the pot and then forget about it until it’s time to eat. And this Instant Pot Lentil Cauliflower Curry is no exception.

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Before I got my Instant Pot I really didn’t understand what all the hype was about — how was it THAT different from cooking on the stove? Let me tell you, it really is. The ability to “set and forget” is so priceless – I can’t say enough about it!

Another term for this curry that’s more commonly used in Indian cooking is “dal.”

What exactly is dal? It’s basically just a term that encompasses all cooked lentil dishes in Indian cuisine. Dal is actually both an ingredient and the name of a dish – it refers to both the dried split pea or lentil, AND the yummy spiced stew made from cooking the lentils until they’re soft and creamy.

I cook dal all the time because there are so many different variations you can make (different lentils, spice combinations, vegetable add-ins) and it’s a one-pot meal with great Indian flavors! Dal is a great way to “clean out your fridge” — because any vegetable will taste good in it. It’s one of my favorite healthy recipes that’s also a kid friendly meal.

If you have an Instant Pot already, this is a great recipe to try to get started with it (there’s no way you can mess it up!) And if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make this on the stove as well — I’ve included instructions on how to do so in the recipe below. I hope this becomes one of your favorite recipes to make! It will satisfy you and warm your soul – it’s really comfort, feel-good food!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe…

  • Use Up All Your Veggies: This is an excellent recipe to clean out your fridge, and use up all those extra veggies at the end of the week! It tastes great with any combination of vegetables.
  • Healthy and Nutritious: The combination of lentils and vegetables provides both protein and vitamins and minerals, in a delicious one pot meal!
  • Vegan and Gluten-Free: This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free, and has tons of flavor. It’s the perfect dish to serve for a large group!

How To Make the Best Lentil Cauliflower Curry

Ingredients and Notes

This simple recipe can easily be made with pantry staples!

Ingredients for Lentil Cauilflower Curry

Red Lentils: This type of lentils cooks up more quickly than brown or green lentils. They have a mild flavor, and are perfect to use when you are short on time. Unlike some other lentil varieties, red lentils do not hold their shape when cooked. If you don’t have red lentils, you can also use yellow split peas or yellow lentils.

Brown Lentils: I use the Trader Joe’s pre cooked lentils, but you can also use dry lentils if those are not available to you. Brown lentils take a bit longer to cook, and hold their shape. The combination of red and brown lentils adds a nice texture to this dish.

Cauliflower: You can use frozen cauliflower to save on prep time, or you can chop your head of cauliflower into florets. If using fresh, you’ll need an entire head of cauliflower for this recipe!

Broccoli: Use frozen or fresh depending on your preference.

Red Onion: Finely dice.

Garlic and Ginger: Fresh garlic cloves and fresh ginger adds a nice balance of flavors and really makes this curry taste distinctly Indian.

Spices: There are quite a lot of spices in this dish including; cumin, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, mustard seeds, and a little bit of cayenne pepper! Feel free to add chili powder for even more spice. And if you don’t have ground cumin you can use cumin seeds.

Equipment Needed

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Turn the Instant Pot to sauté mode – medium heat. Add the olive oil, chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. Sauté onion mixture for 3-4 minutes until slightly caramelized. Add the whole spices (cumin through mustard seeds; or cayenne if using). Sauté another 1-2 minutes, then hit the “cancel” button.

spices sauteeing in pot

Step 2: Add the red lentils, brown lentils, cauliflower, broccoli, water, salt, and coconut sugar. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid, and close the pressure valve. Press the “Pressure Cook” button and make sure it’s on high pressure. Set the timer to 20 minutes – this will give you tender cauliflower florets that sort of fall apart into the curry.

broccoli and cauliflower added to pot

Step 3: Natural release, then open the Instant Pot and stir everything to combine. Top with fresh cilantro, green onions, and a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.

curry cooking in the instant pot

Is This Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry Healthy?

Absolutely! Here’s what makes this staple dish so healthy for you:

  • High in Fiber: Lentils are an excellent source of fiber along with cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli. One serving of this dish has nearly 8 grams of fiber! That’s a third of your recommended daily intake.
  • High in Plant-Protein: Lentils have tons of plant-protein. Broccoli and cauliflower also are two of the vegetables that contain the highest amount of protein. Combining the lentils with these vegetables, and you have protein rich vegan dish!
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Lentils are a rich source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Cauliflower is high in vitamin C and a good source of folate. Broccoli is also high in vitamin C. It has as much vitamin C as an orange! It’s also a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin.
  • Low Calorie and Low Fat: One generous serving of lentil and cauliflower curry has only 115 calories, and less than 2 grams of fat! It’s a low calorie low fat dish, perfect for those that are looking for a heart healthy meal!

Recipe FAQs

Is Lentil Cauliflower curry kid friendly?

There is a nice mild flavor to this dish, and lots of wonderful texture. The lentils are soft, and the vegetables have a bit of crunch. Leave out the cayenne if your kids don’t like spicy foods.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes! This recipe is gluten-free! The lentils and vegetables are naturally all gluten-free. Serve with rice rather than naan, to keep it a gluten-free meal.

Is this recipe keto friendly?

When served without rice this recipe is keto friendly. However, be aware that lentils are higher in carbs than plant or animal sources of protein. One serving has 18 grams of carbs. Depending on how many carbs your keto diet allows you have, this recipe could work, if you are aiming for 50 net carbs a day. However, if you are aiming for 20 net carbs a day, you might want to switch the lentils for meat, otherwise you will meet your quota with one serving.

How do you serve lentil cauliflower curry?

We often eat it with brown rice, brown basmati rice, quinoa, sprouted wheat tortillas or warm naan (for a more indulgent side) – and sometimes serve it with Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt too. It can be served with white rice but I wouldn’t recommend it since white rice doesn’t have any whole grains or fiber.

Lentil Cauilflower Curry served in a stainless steel pot with naan, cilantro and rice on the side

Recipe Variations

Add Your Favorite Vegetables: Feel free to add more vegetables, or swap out the cauliflower and broccoli for whatever you have in your fridge. Sturdy vegetables work best in the Instant Pot. I suggest adding carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, green beans, kale, potatoes, or sweet potatoes. You can even use roasted cauliflower instead of fresh, but in that case I recommend adding it to the instant pot after the rest of the ingredients are done cooking.

Use Different Spices: The wonderful thing about Dal is that you can get really creative with the spices you add. If you don’t have one of the spices on the list, use what you do have. Cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, turmeric, and curry are all relatively mainstream spices that you can find in most stores. But if you don’t have something, like garam masala, feel free to leave it out, or add something you have on hand.

Try a can of coconut milk: To give this curry even more richness, you can use one 15 ounce can of light coconut milk or regular in this recipe!

How to Store and Keep

Store: Allow lentils to cool completely. Then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freeze: Allow to cool completely. Transfer to a freezer safe container. Make sure all air is removed from the container to prevent freezer burn. Label with the date and contents. It will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Reheat: When ready to reheat from frozen, transfer from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Transfer to a sauté pan, and heat stirring until warmed through. Serve with cilantro, and green onions.

Expert Tips For This Instant Pot Curry

  • You can use an instant pot or prepare on the stovetop, or even the slow cooker.
  • If you want your veggies to be crisper, add them after the curry has cooked in the instant pot, and keep the lid open while you simmer the curry for about 10-20 minutes.
  • Make sure to use high pressure on the instant pot.
  • Serve with cilantro, green onions and perhaps a naan.
Lentil Cauilflower Curry served in a stainless steel pot with naan, cilantro and rice on the side

More Delicious and Easy Indian Recipes!

If you have tried this Lentil Cauliflower Curry, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Lentil Cauilflower Curry served in a stainless steel pot with naan, cilantro and rice on the side
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Lentil Cauliflower Curry

This delicious lentil cauliflower curry is a nutritious and flavorful vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dish! It's so easy to make and leaves you with plenty of leftovers!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 114kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • optional cayenne
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 1 16 oz Package of Trader Joe’s Steamed Brown Lentils about 4/5 cup dry brown lentils
  • 1 16 oz package frozen cauliflower
  • 1 16 oz package frozen broccoli
  • 6 cups water
  • 1½-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro or green onions chopped for garnish

Instructions

  • Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode – normal heat.
  • Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and ginger and saute 3-4 minutes until slightly caramelized
  • Add the spices (cumin through mustard seeds; or cayenne if using) and saute another 1-2 minutes. Then hit the “cancel” button.
  • Add the red lentils through coconut sugar. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid, and close the pressure valve. Press the ‘Pressure Cook’ button and make sure it’s on high pressure. Set the timer to 20 minutes.
  • Natural release, then open the Instant Pot and stir everything to combine. Top with cilantro or green onions before serving.

Notes

If you don’t have an Instant Pot:
  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat on the stove.
  2. Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and ginger and sauté 3-4 minutes until slightly caramelized.
  3. Add the spices (cumin through mustard seeds; or cayenne if using) and sauté another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the red lentils through coconut sugar, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for up to 1 hour (stirring every 10 minutes or so) or until all of the lentils are completely cooked and the ingredients are combined.
  5. Top with cilantro or green onions before serving.
Other Tips
  • If you want your veggies to be crisper, add them after the curry has cooked in the instant pot, and keep the lid open while you simmer the curry for about 10-20 minutes.
  • Make sure to use high pressure on the instant pot.
  • Serve with cilantro, green onions and perhaps a naan.

Nutrition

Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 7.9g | Fat: 1.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 602mg | Fiber: 7.4g | Sugar: 2.8g

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Indian Recipes ·

From samosas to curry, I have recipes for everyone’s Indian favorites.

Try a trendy golden milk turmeric latte or a healthy homestyle sabji and fall in love with these rich flavors.

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