Cauliflower Yellow Lentil Curry Recipe - Skillful Cook
Our recipes, your inbox. Sign up

Cauliflower Yellow Lentil Curry

19 reviews / 4.9 average

Well hi there!

Did you know that I'm obsessed with cauliflower? And so is the rest of the food blog world, I think. It's kind of like the new trendy food that's actually been around forever. Maybe it's always been trendy and I'm just really out of touch. Very highly possible.

I've been hot on the cauliflower trail for a while now (it all started with that weird cauliflower crust pizza), but in recent months my affection has grown to include things like Fettuccine Alfredo and Creamy Cauliflower Rice. Oh, cauliflower, you wonderful adaptable thing.

Another wonderful, adaptable thing that I'm currently obsessed with: PAPAYA.

Sliced papaya.

And I'm not sure what you're gonna think of this but I put some papaya in this curry.


Yep. It's like I can't stop. Papaya smoothies, papaya salads, papaya in my curry. Can you even buy papaya in other parts of the world? I sure hope so. It's a little bit sweet, but not too sugary-sweet, and just kind of creamy and refreshing and tropical tasting.

Cauliflower yellow lentil curry in a skillet.

You don't really have to do the papaya thing if you don't want. But you should.

And I'm going to keep the weirdness going by telling you that you have to top your yellow lentil curry with some apricot or mango jam. Ohmygosh. I know I know I know. How does this stuff even happen?

I brought out the apricot jam and placed it on the table, confidently knowing I'd love a spoonful of mellow fruity sweetness on top of a place of spicy yellow lentils with some basmati rice and cilantro. I just knew. Like my mouth and brain worked together to just know a delicious food combination without even trying it. Magic.

Bjork gave me the weirdest look, because his brain doesn't work like mine. He asked me what the jam was supposed to be for and then said something like, “hmm.”

But then the most predictable thing happened: he tried it and he loved it, jam and everything.

Cauliflower yellow lentil curry over rice on a plate.

I really liked this curry.

I always love curries and I always like lentils, so it was kind of a win in my book before it even started simmering on the stove and making my house smell like heaven. Like usual, it makes awesome leftovers (just had the last of it for lunch today!) and it can kind of go with anything, including mango jam.

And hey! It's healthy. Cauliflower and lentils can do that to ya. By the way, I feel like I've been eating a lot of healthy lately. Go me! I did have that one extra large Choco Mucho peanut butter caramel candy bar after lunch, but the lentils basically earned me that. If you know Choco Mucho candy bars, you are my best friend right now.

Final thoughts unrelated to the curry: my family is coming tomorrow!!! and I'm going to post our weekend vacation pictures soon and Bjork has been working on something fun for POY. Like he does.

I love you all and I hope you try this soon.

Cauliflower yellow lentil curry on a plate.
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
A picture of Cauliflower and Yellow Lentil Curry

Cauliflower and Yellow Lentil Curry

  • Author: Skillful Cook
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This cauliflower yellow lentil curry uses lentils or yellow split peas with tender-crisp cauliflower seasoned with yellow curry spices. Easy and healthy!


  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 cup curry paste (I used a red Thai curry paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 cups vegetable broth + 3 cups water
  • 2 cups dry yellow lentils or yellow split peas
  • 1 or more heads cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • apricot or mango jam + cilantro for serving (be brave!)
  • salt to taste


  1. Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger with the oil until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the curry paste, turmeric, and curry powder and stir fry for another 1 minute. Add the broth and water and whisk until incorporated. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the lentils and simmer for 20-40 minutes. I left the pot uncovered (house smells amazing) and stopped by to stir every so often. Add more water or broth as necessary. Yellow split peas will take longer and, in my experience, they soak up more of the water so you might need to add more.
  3. When the lentils are done or almost done, add the cauliflower. There should be enough liquid left in the pan to boil/steam the cauliflower, so add some if you need it. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender-crisp. Stir to combine; season with salt and top with cilantro and jam.


I pureed one papaya into a smooth sauce and added it to the curry so it would be a bit more creamy, plus I love the sweet, fresh flavor it adds. If you want it more saucy, puree a sweet curry-complimenting fruit like papaya or mango and stir it in. Coconut milk would also be a perfect addition!

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: yellow lentil curry, cauliflower curry, curry recipe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I think I’d totally love this with jam.
    Cauliflower truly is one of the best veggies. My husband used to have an aversion to vegetables, but he always liked cauliflower still.
    Luckily he slowly starts liking other veggies too. We’ll see if I can also get him to like lentils 😉

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m seeing curry all over the place today, love it! I also love cauliflower and lentils, so I’m basically sold on the title alone.

    BTW, they defnitely sell papaya in Michigan. I’m just too lazy to buy it and deal with the 9 billion creepy seeds. (They look like tiny monster eggs)

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Any time there is curry and lentils involved I know it’s gonna be good! I love the idea of pureeing papaya or mango and adding it to the sauce, sneaky way to get more nutrition into my husband and kids. They are huge curry fans and when I pureed squash into the curry no one even noticed! Now I am brave enough for the jam addition, but I don’t think they are!

    The photos are gorgeous by the way!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    You make SO many awesome lentil recipes!! I keep meaning to try them but then I get distracted…but I THINK I have everything in my pantry for this so I’m SO excited to make this 😀

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I was going to ask the same question! I have Puy Lentils and Red Lentils in my cupboard right now. I was thinking red since they will tend to get more mushy and may be more easily disguised for the wary members of my family. It’s dinner tomorrow, I will let you know how it turns out.

        Also, found papaya at the store, pureed it to add in as well.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a yellow dish look so so so appetizing! And I love some sweet with my spicy…it’s definitely the way to go!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks sooo tasty. I will definitely be trying it right away. I have always hated cauliflower as its own unit, but I too am enjoying the numerous ways it can be camouflaged. And curry..ohmygosh. I love it to pieces. This is for sure a win-win dish!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    well, I’m not sure what to think about this.
    1. I like lentils.
    2. I like papaya.
    3. I’ve never had curry.
    (being from north central Ohio, it’s not readily available!)

    But this is tempting me … these photos, this recipe… I’m tempted.
    I’m really tempted.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m rarely deterred when I don’t have exactly the right ingredients, so I had to sub the red and green lentils I had on hand – just enough! Also, I didn’t have any apricot jam, but I did have a big handful of dried apricots, so in they went. The result was a little terrifying in color, but it tasted great!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      That’s great Robin! I think I would love this with dried apricots in it – especially if I let them sit long enough soak up the sauce/flavors! Yum!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I LOVE apricot jam on savory things! all the savory things! well… maybe not all…

    but yep, I always have apricot jam, and I’ve been known to add dried apricot to savory recipes as well. so when I saw the photo of the papaya, my first thought was “yes, yes she did!”

    papaya reminds me of childhood in Hawaii – when visiting my grandpa each summer we would have papaya and mango each morning… sometimes sprinkled with lime and chili powder… I always have to pick up a papaya when they look good here.

    I have also been on a dal / lentil kick lately, and have been wondering what flavors to do next… I cannot wait to try this!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hey Lindsey, this recipe looks delish! Two quick questions though:
    (1) Is this a super spicy dish? If so, what could I do to make it less spicy? I’m not really a fan of spicy foods..but I really want to try this!
    (2) Do you prefer red or green curry paste in this dish? Both are available in the grocery.

    Thank you, I love your blog! 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I have only made it with red curry. I am not sure how it would come out with green, color wise and taste wise (usually I do coconut milk with my green curry) so I’d stick with red. And as for the spiciness, it’s actually not that spicy. Just go easy on the curry paste – maybe add a little bit, let it cook, and taste it and see if you want more or not. Some curry pastes are more spicy than others but my regular Thai red curry paste this time was pretty mild. Good luck!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lovely post. It is amazing how i like a little sweet with my curries too and end up serving a mango indian jam ! love the color of the daal