Imagine infusing a vegan cauliflower steak with some of the most aromatic spices found in curry powder. Then imagine the smells in the kitchen as they roast themselves into delectable pieces of joy. What a salad!
Why I Love Curried Vegan Cauliflower Steak Salad
It never ceases to amaze me how people can change how we look at an ingredient that we have been consuming all our lives.
Just by simply cutting the cauliflower differently, we have ourselves a “new” ingredient! It is so popular because it’s a great vegan and paleo alternative.
Add some curry powder to these cauliflower steaks, whack them in the oven, and you have yourself the most delicious vegan roasted cauliflower.
To ensure it remains the hero of this salad recipe, it is accompanied by fluffy rice and peas; flavours that don’t overpower the cauliflower.
What is Curry Powder?
Curry powder is a staple in my pantry. While I enjoy exploring new recipes and learning to make things from scratch, curry powder is not one of them.
It never really occurred to me that I could make my own instead of buying a pre-made mix. So, I decided to understand a little bit more about curry powder, and it sure is fascinating, to say the least!
To start with, curry powder is a blend of spices which usually incorporates ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, chilli powder, ground ginger and pepper.
If you googled curry powder recipes, you’d be amazed by the sheer number of different recipes out there. Some curry powders have 5 ingredients while others may have more than 10.
The basis of a curry powder will incorporate the usual suspects of spices. Still, there are a ton of variations that can be added to create your unique blend.
These may include cloves, cinnamon, mustard seeds and fennel seeds.
Did You Know That Curry Powder Has Nothing to Do with Indian Curries?
Curry powder and curry itself is a British invention. There is no Hindi, Tamil or Bengali word for curry.
Even the etymology of the word curry is blurred. There have been many suggestions as to the origin of the word but no hard evidence as to how it came about.
This was a British invention because it was their attempt at bottling the flavours the British colonists had become so accustomed to.
The dish we so fondly refer to as curry is a British creation and certainly not something you’d ever be able to order in India.
Therefore, this means that you’re not actually making Indian food when you’re using curry powder. You’ll have to thank the British for this fabulous spice blend!
Difference Between Malaysian Curry Powder and Indian Curry Powder
Both curry powder recipes are very similar. The main difference can be found in the quantity of one spice over another to create the difference.
Malaysian curry powder is milder with a heavier lean on turmeric and coriander, giving this spice mix more citrusy and nutty notes. Some say it is also more aromatic.
Indian curry powder uses more cloves and cinnamon.
So which curry powder should you use? There truly is no right or wrong answer to this. If you love cloves and cinnamon, perhaps go for the Indian curry powder. Either will work perfectly for this vegan roasted cauliflower steak.
Is Basmati Rice Healthy?
Basmati rice is the healthiest rice of all of them, so this is perhaps the best choice if you enjoy rice.
Basmati rice is a popular option for people with diabetes who can no longer consume pasta and rice regularly. Basmati rice has a lower glycemic index than other rice, but exactly how much of it you can eat is still kept on the low.
Rice is a staple in our household and to curb consuming too much white rice; I know many families who combine both jasmine and basmati or only consume basmati alone.
I love it because it is more fragrant and super fluffy. It is the best rice to use for fried rice, in my opinion!
What Mains to Serve with This Salad?
The flavours of the curry powder and cumin are quite strong therefore they are great for foods that are on the blander side or perhaps not as flavoursome.
If you were serving a simple steamed or baked salmon, this would make a great side.
I have made this salad for BBQs too where the steaks and sausages are in dire need of some rice and vegetables.
But to be perfectly frank, this salad doesn’t really need a main. It stands on its own and it’s a good salad to pack up for lunch to take to work or even down to the beach.
How to Make Curried Vegan Cauliflower Steak Salad
How to Cook the Basmati Rice
Rinse the uncooked basmati rice to remove the starch.
In a small saucepan, add the rice, pinch of salt and water. Place the lid on the saucepan and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. If the rice is not cooked enough after that time, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time until nice and fluffy.
Remove from the heat and let it sit with the lid on for a further 10 minutes.
Then use a fork to fluff the rice.
How to Make the Cauliflower Steaks
Preheat the oven at 200°C or 400°F.
Cut 2 thick steaks from the cauliflower. Coat the cauliflower steaks with 1 tsp of olive oil each.
On a flat plate, mix 3 tbsp of curry powder with 1 tsp of cumin powder. Place the cauliflower steaks on the mixture and coat all sides as much as possible.
Using a basting brush, line the sheet pan with 1 tsp of olive oil. Place the cauliflower steaks on the sheet pan and in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven, turn them over and place back in the oven for a further 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
How to Prepare the Rest of the Salad
Blanch ½ cup of peas in boiling water for 1 minute.
Roughly chop coriander to yield ½ cup.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, add the basmati rice, peas, coriander, juice of ½ lemon, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Put ¾ of the rice mixture on the plate. Add one cauliflower steak on top to one side.
Add the rest of the rice mixture on the other side of the plate and place the other cauliflower steak on top.
Sprinkle dry shallots on top.
Cut the super soft cauliflower into bite sized chunks as you serve it with some fragrant basmati rice with peas and coriander.
Allow your guests to mix the ingredients together as the turmeric rubs off on the basmati rice and infuses it with those lovely aromatic curry powder spices. It makes for the perfect side salad!
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Curried Vegan Cauliflower Steak Salad
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- Preheat the oven at 200°C or 400°F.
- Rinse the uncooked basmati rice to remove the starch. In a small saucepan, add the rice, pinch of salt and water. Place the lid on the saucepan and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. If the rice is not cooked enough after that time, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time until nice and fluffy. Remove from the heat and let it sit with the lid on for a further 10 minutes. Then use a fork to fluff the rice.
- Cut 2 thick steaks from the cauliflower. Coat the cauliflower steaks with 1 tsp of olive oil each. On a flat plate, mix 3 tbsp of curry powder with 1 tsp of cumin powder. Place the cauliflower steaks on the mixture and coat all sides as much as possible.Using a basting brush, line the sheet pan with 1 tsp of olive oil. Place the cauliflower steaks on the sheet pan and in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn them over and place back in the oven for a further 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Blanch ½ cup of peas in boiling water for 1 minute.
- Roughly chop coriander to yield ½ cup.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the basmati rice, peas, coriander, juice of ½ lemon, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
- Put ¾ of the rice mixture on the plate. Add one cauliflower steak on top to one side.
- Add the rest of the rice mixture on the other side of the plate and place the other cauliflower steak on top.
- Sprinkle dry shallots on top.
- As mentioned above, you can use any curry powder blend you like. If you have never used curry powder before, don’t overthink it and grab the first curry powder you see in the spice section of your supermarket.
- Most curry powder blends will already have cumin in it. Feel free to omit the additional tsp if you’re not a fan.
- Basmati rice can be replaced with any other rice of your choice.
- Dry shallots can be purchased on a container in the Asian aisle at the supermarket.
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