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Cauliflower In Tomato Sauce – Vegan Cauliflower Recipe

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Cauliflower stewed in a flavorsome tomato sauce, a healthy and utterly delicious vegetarian or vegan cauliflower recipe.




cauliflower in tomato sauce


This cauliflower in sauce is a typical Romanian recipe, something we call “Mancare de …”. The translation would be something like “Meal of…” and the possibilities are just endless.

You can take just about any veggie you like, you can use a mixture of different vegetables, you can add chicken, pork or beef, even rabbit or turkey.

My favorite variations, aside cauliflower, are with eggplants or green beans, green beans which actually I didn’t like much as a child. I wasn’t really keen on eating anything with green beans then, except maybe the garlic loaded green bean salad, the amounts of garlic and oil my grandma used completely covered the green bean taste. 🙂

I am making this kind of vegetable vegetarian or vegan stews a lot nowadays. Not only cauliflower in tomato sauce, but also peas, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, eggplants, cabbage and so on.

The way of making these dishes and the spices used differ slightly from vegetable to vegetable, but the main procedure remains the same.


cauliflower in tomato sauce



I first posted the recipe for the cauliflower in tomato sauce quite a long time ago, in 2015. It is still one of the most viewed recipes on Where Is My Spoon, so I thought it was high time to review the recipe, make some changes and, especially, take new pictures.

The original recipe was slightly different, it used some other herbs instead of the more Italian inspired mixture I use nowadays. But that is not the major change I have made, using one herb or another would change the flavor but, most of the times, would not make a dish better or worse.

The main change I have made was to add some cream to the tomato sauce. When cooking the cauliflower in tomato sauce before, I used to make a plain marinara style sauce, just tomatoes, herbs, onions and garlic. A beautiful sauce, which I use all the time for countless other dishes.


cauliflower recipe vegan


However, a couple of years ago, when cooking this vegan cauliflower recipe as a side dish for a vegan meal for friends, I just happened to have half a pack of soy cream leftover after cooking another dish.

As I didn’t have any immediate plans for it, I just threw it in the cauliflower and tomato pan that was simmering on the stove. It was a revelation! It just lifted a dish that was already good to another level. I’ve never looked back! I have to admit that I haven’t cooked this recipe in any other way ever since.

If I want to keep this cauliflower dish vegan, I still use soy cream or coconut milk, which is actually even better. If not, I add some regular heavy cream, which makes the cauliflower in tomato sauce only vegetarian and not vegan. The choice is yours, I have tried all these three variations and I absolutely love every one of them.


cauliflower recipe vegan



  • Cook the onions and the garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the chili and herbs, stir well and add the canned tomatoes and their juices, vegetable stock and sugar.
  • Bring to a boil, cover leaving a small crack open, then simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. The sauce should be slightly thickened at this point.


how to make cauliflower in tomato sauce


  •  In the meantime clean the cauliflower and divide it into small florets.
  • Chop the stem into small cubes.
  • Add the cauliflower and the cream to the pan, bring to a simmer and continue simmering on low heat until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy, between 10 and 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.


how to make cauliflower in tomato sauce

how to make cauliflower in tomato sauce


  •  Adjust taste with a little lemon juice, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar if necessary.
  • Should the sauce be too thick, add 2-3 tablespoons extra cream or 1-2 tablespoons water. Sprinkle with parsley.



This cauliflower in tomato sauce would make a great vegetarian/ vegan meal on its own, which you can serve with mashed potatoes (my favorite side dish for this).

Boiled potatoes or polenta would also be a great choice. Also are rice or even bulgur or quinoa.

This cauliflower stew makes a wonderful side dish for meat, chicken or fish dishes as well.

The recipe serves two as a main dish and four as a side dish. The nutrition is calculated for two portions of cauliflower in tomato sauce.


cauliflower vegan tomato sauce



Broccoli and Cauliflower Balls with Cheese – the best cauliflower broccoli “meatballs” I have ever tasted, cheesy balls with lots of vegetables and ground almonds.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower – whole roasted cauliflower with cumin and curry powder, the perfect side dish for any kind of meal.

Potato Dumpling Soup with Cauliflower – a hearty yet light chicken soup with vegetables and soft, comforting potato dumplings.

Cauliflower Salad with Garlic Mayonnaise – tender cauliflower florets in a mayonnaise mustard and garlic dressing, this is a typical Romanian salad recipe.

Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes – creamy cauliflower mash recipe with potatoes and garlic, the perfect low carb side dish.




cauliflower in sauce in a brown dish


cauliflower in tomato sauce

Cauliflower In Tomato Sauce – Vegan Cauliflower Recipe

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Cauliflower in tomato sauce, a healthy and utterly delicious vegetarian or vegan cauliflower stew recipe.


  • 1 small onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon red chili flakes, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (400 g/ 14 oz)
  • 125 ml/ 4.2 fl.oz/ ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 450 g/ 1 lb cauliflower
  • 100 ml/ 3.4 fl. oz/ scant ½ cup heavy cream (See note for vegan options)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a larger saucepan. Chop the onions and the garlic cloves very finely. Cook them on medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the red chili flakes, dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Stir well for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, vegetable stock, and sugar.
  4. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and cover the pan leaving a small crack open. Simmer the tomato sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should thicken very slightly.
  5. In the meantime clean the cauliflower and divide it into small florets. Chop the stem into small cubes. Add the cauliflower and the cream to the pan, bring to a simmer and continue simmering on low heat until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy. Stir occasionally.
  6. This will take between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on how small the florets are and how tender you like them. They should definitely retain a good bite and not become mushy.
  7. Adjust the taste with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and one extra pinch of sugar if necessary. If the sauce is too thick, you can loosen it with 2 tablespoons extra cream or even water.
  8. Chop the parsley and give it to the cauliflower stew.
  9. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes.


You can use heavy cream (dairy) or go vegan and use soy cream or coconut milk, all three options taste great.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1/2 dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 1031mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 9gSugar: 16gProtein: 9g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.





Saturday 31st of October 2020

Loved this recipe. I did it with a red bell pepper and black olives (since I love those as well). I only found recipes for roasting cauliflower and I wanted to try something different and this hit the spot. I did use it as a side dish, but I loved what the tomato sauce did for the cauliflower. I actually simmered it for over an hour and the cauliflower was soft and crunchy enough for me. This will be my go to recipe for cauliflower. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to trying some of your other recipes.


Saturday 31st of October 2020

Hi Phil. Thank you so much for the feedback, I am so happy you liked the recipe, it is probably my favorite cauliflower recipe as well, can't think of another one I like more now. :) . If you like vegetable stews including olives, you might one to try the Leek and Olive Stew, I am addicted to it. :)


Tuesday 6th of October 2020

Hi Adina! This looks so good. And it’s super delicious with all these spices inside. I must give this a try asap. I bet my family will enjoy this too. Thanks for recipe and instructions. So helpful. keep sharing more gorgeous recipes.


Monday 11th of March 2019

Love this! I just have a head of cauliflower in my fridge and had no idea what to do with it, so thanks for the inspo! :)


Monday 11th of March 2019

This is one of my favourite vegan recipe ”mancare de...” I made it with different vegetables. The potatoes one reminds me of my grand father. He used to cook it often. Yours, with cauliflower looks so delicious!

Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen

Monday 26th of October 2015

Oh! Love this tangy and flavorsome cauliflower. And I adore your suggestion of serving this with mashed potatoes — will definitely give this a try. Thank you for this awesome share. :)


Tuesday 27th of October 2015

Let me know if you like it, Anu!

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