Macheesmo

Cooking with Confidence
Healthy and tasty.
Economical, Healthy, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Curried Cauliflower and Kale

by Nick

Before the holiday weekend my roommate from the summer, Jeff, was in town and Betsy and I invited him and his girlfriend over for dinner. I’ve been playing around with this curried cauliflower recipe for the last few weeks that I wanted to try on Jeff’s discerning vegetarian palate. I’ve made it two or three times now and it’s been really great every time.

This time just to kick it up a notch, I served it with some freshly made scallion flat bread.

Healthy and tasty.

Sorry for the steam...

This dish is fantastic because it’s fairly fast to make (especially if you opt-out on the flat bread), but it’s still packed with flavor and is very healthy. You could also call this dish a curried lentil dish, because it does have a lot of lentils, but in my mind the cauliflower and kale is kind of the star of the whole deal.

Plus I’m a big fan of recipe alliteration.

Yield
Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time
Print Recipe

Curried Cauliflower and Kale

Ingredients

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2 inch florets
  • 1 bunch of kale, cut into ribbons, probably 2-3 cups
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 Cups lentils
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 Tablespoons curry powder (or to your tastes)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon paprika (I like hot spanish paprika)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon whole coriander seeds (lightly toasted and ground), or you can use ground coriander
  • Pinch of salt
  • Flat Bread Recipe (Recipe from Once Upon a Plate)
  • 9 ounces (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Teaspoons sugar
  • 1 Cup whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Scallions, diced (optional)

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) For dough, combine flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add oil and then slowly add milk until dough comes together in a ball.

2) Knead it on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes until it is soft and smooth.

3) Add ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl and give it a turn to coat the ball. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for an hour or so.

4) Cut up the cauliflower (cut off all of the greens around the stalk and then just start working through the head of cauliflower, cutting off each floret evenly).

5) Cut the kale into small ribbons. Take each leaf of kale and, using a knife, cut out the center vein which is very hard, leaving two leaves which you can then cut into kale ribbons.

6) Once dough has rested, cut it into 5 even pieces.

7) Heat pizza stone in a 500 degree oven (if you have a broiler, use that).

8) Roll out each piece of dough until it’s very thin and then top it with some diced scallion. Slide the naan off peel and onto stone and let it cook for 3-5 minutes depending on your oven. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can bake these just on a normal sheet pan. They’ll still be good, but probably just not as crunchy on the exterior.
9) Cook lentils according to the package directions (Most likely this means adding 2 cups of water for every cup of lentils into a large pot and getting it boiling) adding spices half way through the cooking process.

10) Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large pan and add cauliflower. Cook florets over medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes until the florets start to brown a bit.

11) Add onions and cook them until they are translucent – probably another 5 minutes.

12) Add kale along with a pinch of salt. Cook this for just a few more minutes until the kale starts to wilt.

13) Add all veggies to the lentil pot and stir everything together and season with other spices.

14) Stir it well and let it sit for a minute or two just to let all the flavors mingle.

15) Serve it up next to the flat bread!


Starting the Flat Bread

Also known as naan, this stuff is usually made in a tandoori which is essentially a large clay pot that can get really hot. Unless you happen to have one of these guys laying around, your best bet is probably a pizza stone to get close to the right texture on the bread (crusty exterior while still moist on the inside).

The dough is really simple to make.

Basic stuff.

Basic stuff.

Start by combining your flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add your oil and then slowly add your milk until your dough comes together in a ball. Knead it on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes until it is soft and smooth.

Then add your ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl and give it a turn to coat the ball. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for an hour or so.

This needs time to rest.

This needs time to rest.

Prepping the veggies

You only need a few veggies for this dish but each of them is very flavorful.

Good winter ingredients.

Good winter ingredients.

If you’ve never dismantled a head of cauliflower, it’s a lot like a huge mutant broccoli floret. First, cut off all of the greens around the stalk (you can save these for stock if you want) and then just start working through the head of cauliflower, cutting off each floret.

The most important thing is to make sure you have evenly sized pieces so they cook evenly. This will mean that you’ll have to half or quarter some florets and probably leave some of the smaller ones whole.

Mutant broccoli!

Mutant broccoli!

Onto the kale. Normally, I would steam kale, but I actually add it straight to this dish without precooking it. To make this easier, cut the kale into small ribbons.

Take each leaf of kale and, using a knife, cut out the center vein which is very hard, leaving two leaves which you can then cut into kale ribbons. This is the final spread of veggies.

Veggies prepped.

Veggies prepped.

You’ll also need some spices obviously. I just used store bought curry powder, but if you wanted to go crazy you could definitely make your own. For the purposes of this dish, I thought the jarred spice worked great.

You could make your own curry if you are awesome.

You could make your own curry if you are awesome.

Cooking the naan

Once your dough has rested, cut it into 5 even pieces. You could actually cut it into smaller pieces if you want. If you are feeding more than 4 though, I’d recommend doubling the recipe because this stuff is popular.

You could go smaller if you wanted.

You could go smaller if you wanted.

Heat your pizza stone in a 500 degree oven. Actually heat it as hot as you can and if you have a broiler you could even use that to get higher heats like in the tandoori oven.

Roll out each piece of dough until it’s very thin and then top it with some diced scallion.

Nice.

Nice.

Slide the naan off your peel and onto your stone and let it cook for 3-5 minutes depending on your oven. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can bake these just on a normal sheet pan. They’ll still be good, but probably just not as crunchy on the exterior.

Cooking the veggies

The first thing you want to do is start your lentils. Just cook them according to the directions on the package. Most likely this means adding 2 cups of water for every cup of lentils into a large pot and getting it boiling.

After doing this a few times though, I actually added a bit more liquid than recommended because you need to use a large pot so you can eventually combine all your ingredients and cooking the lentils in the larger pot makes the water evaporate faster.

Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large pan and add your cauliflower. Cook your florets over medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes until the florets start to brown a bit.

Then add your onions and cook them until they are translucent – probably another 5 minutes.

Finally add your kale along with a pinch of salt. Cook this for just a few more minutes until the kale starts to wilt.

Dono't overcook the kale.

Don't overcook the kale.

Adding the spices

The few times I’ve made this dish, I’ve tried adding my spices at various points either to the lentils or to the veggies. I think it’s easiest to add all the spices to the lentils as they cook. I add mine to the water about halfway through the cooking process. Then when the lentils are done cooking and are soft, add all your veggies to the lentil pot and stir everything together.

Stir it well and let it sit for a minute or two just to let all the flavors mingle. Then serve it up next to the flat bread!

Not the most colorful, but very tasty.

Not the most colorful, but very tasty.

This is a pretty flexible meal. You could add different toppings to the flat bread (any kind of seed, cilantro, garlic, etc). You could add more or less spices depending on your preference. You could eat the curried veggies in a pita as a lunch sandwich.

This dish passed the Jeff Test which is the standard test I use for most vegetarian dishes. It’s pretty simple to see why: It’s healthy. It’s packed with flavor. And it’s reasonably fast if you can chop and cook at the same time. What more could you ask for in a winter dinner?!