Although I couldn’t have predicted it, coming home from our trip to Notre Dame to find leftovers of this Slow Cooker Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry stowed safely in our freezer was a perfect ending to a weekend of dear friends, soulful cheering, cool brews, and tasty food—all comforts of the best kind.

bowl of healthy red lentil curry with cauliflower

Ben and I put 400 miles on our Honda and headed back to campus for the season’s opening football game. The wonderful and terrible thing about graduating from Notre Dame (aside from the fact that half of the country hates your football team at any given moment) is that my friends from college live all over the country. The positive is that whether I’m traveling Cape Cod, Hawaii, San Diego, Philadelphia, or New York City, I can almost always find a college pal to meet up with (or to stay with in exchange for a batch of healthy blueberry muffins). The downside is, I often see these friends less than once a year.

Home football games serve as mini-reunions, and I was incredibly blessed by the fact that so many of my friends returned to campus for last Saturday’s game. It was a night game, which gave us plenty of time to catch up during a full day of tailgating, though as we hugged goodbye to head to our separate seats, it didn’t feel like nearly long enough.

I’m slowly making new friends here in Milwaukee, but being able to spend a day with people I’ve known for more than 10 years, who love me despite being intimately acquainted with my weaknesses, who’ve seen me at my highest and lowest points, and who already know that I talk way too loudly in public and can be a little too enthusiastic (and huggy) after a brew or two, did my heart a world of good that I didn’t realize I’d been missing. Time with dear friends, it seems, is one of life’s greatest comforts of all.

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Curry with Red Lentils. One of the easiest, best crock pot recipes! #vegan #glutenfree

vegan cauliflower curry being stirred inside of a crockpot

Now that I’m back home in Milwaukee, it’s reassuring to know that our dinner table remains a place of regularity and comfort of its own. This slow cooker red lentil cauliflower curry offers the richness and warmth that I crave in my comfort food. Unlike typical comfort-food recipes, however, it’s healthy, so instead of feeling weighed down after a big serving, I feel soothed and satisfied.

bowl of low carb lentil and cauliflower curry, made in a slow cooker

The same sensation is true of the leftovers I enjoyed reheating for lunch—they left me full and happy, versus ready to slip into a food coma at my desk, which is what I suspect would happen if I devoured leftover lasagna or mashed potatoes and gravy at noon. (Coconut Curry is another leftover favorite of mine!)

Cauliflower Curry Made in a Hurry

Like 99% of my slow cooker recipes, this cauliflower curry requires almost zero prep beyond a little chopping: simply mix the ingredients together in you crock pot, set it, and go.

The sauce is a simple but flavor-packed mixture of:

  • tomato puree
  • coconut milk
  • red curry paste and aromatic curry spices

I also added an entire head of cauliflower, a classic vegetable often used in curries, because its mild taste can fully absorb the flavors of the sauce. (Another Indian dish to try with cauliflower is Joanne’s Aloo Gobi!)

using a wooden spoon to stir healthy cauliflower curry in a slow cooker

Though the red curry sauce and cauliflower are lovely, what makes this dish hearty and filling is Bob’s Red Mill red lentils. I am an enormous fan of Bob’s products because the company prioritizes their integrity, quality, and nutritional value, a focus I witnessed first hand when I visited Portland and met Bob himself.

If you are not familiar with red lentils, they are a mighty little legume that’s filled with fiber, and a single serving contains a whopping 13 grams of protein. Lentils also become incredibly creamy when cooked, making them an ideal ingredient for comforting dishes like this cauliflower curry.

How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze

  • To Store. Place leftover curry in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stove over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this recipe in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Store curry in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

bowl of healthy Red Lentil Curry with Cauliflower

More Delicious Curry Recipes

Life update: Help me interview Bobby Flay! 

I’ll be interviewing celebrity chef Bobby Flay about his new cookbook Brunch at Bobby’s on Thursday morning (!). If you have any questions related to the book or his career you’d like me to ask, send them my way today or tomorrow (erin{at}wellplated{dot}com), and I’ll try to squeeze them into the interview.

I’ll be sharing about the interview on my Facebook page afterwards, so check there for the juicy details. If you’d like to make sure that you catch the post about the interview in your newsfeed (sometimes Facebook hides what I share), just “Like” Well Plated on Facebook, then on the Facebook page, click on the word “Following” and select “See First.” You can always change your page settings later, but this will ensure you see the Bobby post!

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Curry with red lentils

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry

4.2 from 5 votes
An easy and healthy slow cooker recipe for cauliflower curry with red lentils.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 7 hrs
Total: 7 hrs 15 mins

Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom*
  • 1 can tomato puree (29 ounces) NOT tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (use full fat—it’s worth it)
  • Freshly chopped cilantro for serving
  • Brown rice, cooked quinoa, farro, or similar for serving

Instructions
 

  • Place the lentils in the bottom of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the onions, garlic, cauliflower, ginger, curry paste, salt, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and cardamom, then stir to combine.
  • Pour the tomato puree over the top of the cauliflower and lentils. Refill the tomato puree can halfway with water, then pour it over the top of the slow cooker ingredients so that they are covered with liquid. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours, until the lentils are soft.
  • Just before serving, stir in the coconut milk. Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or farro, topped with fresh cilantro.

Notes

*The spices with an asterisk can be replaced with 1 1/2 teaspoons of garam masala, a spice blend that can be found in some grocery stores and specialty food or spice shops. If you can't find garam masala, the spices I suggested in the recipe (which are more easily available), taste wonderful.

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This slow cooker recipe for Cauliflower Curry with Red Lentils is my contribution to September’s Eat Seasonal recipe round up. Each month, a team of bloggers and myself share a seasonal produce guide and feature recipes that highlight the fruits and veggies that are in their prime for the month. Here’s what’s at the peak of its flavor (and joyfully its best price of the year) in September, along with a list of tasty recipes to inspire your seasonal cooking.

seasonal produce guide for September

I’m an ambassador for Bob’s Red Mill and am partnering with them to share this post and recipe. As always, all opinions are my own and thanks for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to share quality content with you! You can also visit BobsRedMill.com for a $1 off coupon for any product and more recipe inspiration.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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95 Comments

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  1. How can you adjust this to an instant pot? I’ve tried making it in both a slow cooker and instant pot, and it actually turned out better in an instant pot. I don’t remember how I converted everything, though. Any suggestions?

    1. Heather, I didn’t measure it exactly. I’d suggest dividing the full amount in half, then taking the amount you have left divided by four again (it’s easier than trying to scoop an exact 1/8). II hope you enjoy it!

    1. Hi Mel, unfortunately I think frozen cauliflower would end up too soggy and release a lot of liquid, making the curry too soupy. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  2. This did not turn out for me. The red lentils were chewy after 5.5 hours on high (slow cooker setting on instant  pot). I’m throwing the whole works away. I cooked on high 4.5 hours —checked and were crunchy. Went for another hour, no different. I substituted tomato paste and roughly 45 oz of water for the tomato purée — same amount of liquid. Can’t imagine that fouled it up. Anyway, waste of money and my time. I had a peanut butter sandwich instead. 

    1. Hi Laura, I’m sorry this didn’t come out for you. As you can see from the other reviews, many have tried it and had success, but everyone’s slow cooker seems to cook different (I’ve heard this about the Instant Pot too!) and it sounds like yours still needed more time. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it so I truly wish you would have loved this.

  3. I notice many comments about lentils not cooking. Could it be the difference between using whole red lentils and split red lentils which cook more quickly? I have found so many recipes in general don’t specify whole or split red lentils and it makes a big difference.

    1. Hi Sandra, that could be! It could also be the age of the lentils as well. I have only seen split red lentils at my store, so that is what the recipe used.

  4. Hello! Just finished cooking (4 hours on high pressure) and the texture seems very soft; the cauliflower dissolves as soon as it hits the mouth. Is that the intended outcome? Flavors seem good though!

    1. Hi Nina! It definitely gets quite soft (and product of slow cooking). You can chop the cauliflower larger next time if you’d like it more firm.

  5. Definitely a 5 star for flavor! I cooked it for 4 hrs on high and when I stirred in the coconut milk, everything turned to mush. Although flavorful, I would have liked more texture. The lentils and cauliflower all appeared to be a sweet potato mash. I did use split lentils, so next time, I will cook for a shorter time and cut the cauliflower bigger.4 stars

  6. I can’t buy canned tomato puree where I live. Can I peel tomatoes and blend them in the blender? Would I need to then cook them down to reduce liquid?

    1. Hi Karen! I haven’t tried it, but you could certainly experiment by making your own tomato puree. I’d suggest referencing a recipe like this one for tips on how to prepare your own. Thankfully, it’s freezer friendly, so you could make a big batch to use in future recipes as well!

  7. I’m having the same problem as others that have reviewed the recipe.  The lentils are still rock hard after 5 hours on high.  I even left out the salt because I knew that salt stop lentils from cooking.  After doing some research it looks like the acid in the tomato paste has a similar effect on lentils.  I put more water in the pot and am going to cook the lentils over night and see if the ever soften up.  (Oh, and I used split red lentils)2 stars

    1. Hi, I’m sorry this didn’t come out for you. Many readers have tried it and had success, but everyone’s slow cooker seems to cook differently. I hope you were still able to enjoy the recipe!

    1. Hi Karen! Nutritional information is something I started adding to recipes in January 2016. Unfortunately, it’s a time-consuming process, so I’m unable to go back to all my past recipes to add it. The good news is that you can calculate the calories for free at MyFitnessPal (there are other similar sites too). I hope that can be a helpful resource for you!

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