This recipe for cauliflower in tomato sauce is a healthy and utterly delicious vegetarian or vegan cauliflower recipe.
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, or you can add chicken, pork, beef, or even rabbit or turkey.
My favorite variations, aside from cauliflower, are with eggplants in tomato sauce or green beans.
The way of making these dishes and the spices used differ slightly from vegetable to vegetable, but the main procedure remains the same.
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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 main change I 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 left over 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?
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
Cauliflower In Tomato Sauce
- 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
- ½ cup vegetable stock 125 ml
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 lb cauliflower 450 g
- ½ cup heavy cream 125 ml, Note
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 small bunch of parsley
- fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Saute: 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.1 small onion + 2 large garlic cloves + 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Add spices: Add the red chili flakes, dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Stir well for about 30 seconds.¼ – ½ teaspoon red chili flakes + 1 teaspoon dried oregano + 1 teaspoon dried thyme + ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, vegetable stock, and sugar.1 can chopped tomatoes + ½ cup vegetable stock + 1 teaspoon sugar
- Simmer tomato sauce: 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.
- Add cauliflower: 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.1 lb cauliflower/ 450 g
- Cooking time: 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.½ cup heavy cream/ 125 ml + 1 teaspoon lemon juice + fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Serve: Chop the parsley and add it to the cauliflower tomato stew. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes.1 small bunch of parsley