Cauliflower stewed in a flavorsome tomato sauce, a healthy and utterly delicious vegetarian or vegan cauliflower recipe.
CAULIFLOWER IN 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.
VEGETARIAN RECIPE WITH CAULIFLOWER
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.
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.
HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER STEW
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
HOW TO SERVE THE CAULIFLOWER IN TOMATO SAUCE
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.
MORE CAULIFLOWER RECIPES?
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.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
Cauliflower In Tomato Sauce – Vegan Cauliflower 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
- 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.
- Add the red chili flakes, dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Stir well for about 30 seconds.
- Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, vegetable stock, and sugar.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chop the parsley and give it to the cauliflower stew.
- Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes.