Cauliflower Yellow Lentil Curry

Yellow Lentil Curry

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.

Yellow Lentil Curry

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.

Yellow Lentil Curry

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 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.

Yellow Lentil Curry

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.

Yellow Lentil Curry

4.9 from 8 reviews
Cauliflower and Yellow Lentil Curry
Serves: 6
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ cup curry paste (I used a red Thai curry paste)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ 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!


Nutrition information includes 1 tablespoon jam and the pureed papaya.

Nutrition information for Curry

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  1. 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. I am also a fan of sweet fruits in curries. I can just imagine the taste of this one. Pinning this one to try later.

  3. 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)

  4. Yay crazy additions, yay curry, yay cauliflower, yay apricot jam. This looks like an entire bowl of yummy, healthy, curry joy. Thanks Lindsey!

  5. Wowwwww… those pictures are gorgeous!! Like always ofcourse, but these are especially great!

  6. Yum! I love your lentil recipes, so this is a must-try :)

  7. I haven’t made curry a lot so I never even thought to add fruit, but I can just taste it now! Sounds so very warm and yummy!

  8. 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!

  9. LOVE lentils! I haven’t tried them in a curry yet, but this looks incredible.

  10. 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 😀

  11. I love curries as well, but I have to admit I’ve only made them with meats, not veggies and legumes. I might just have to change that and give this a try. Papaya, huh. I have to admit that that one surprised me. It sure looks delicious.

  12. Mmm another delicious looking curry!

  13. Do you think you could use red lentil in place of the yellow here?

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. Yum! I’ve tried curried garbanzos but not lentils, which I am usually always doing Spanish style… I will have to try this soon… AND papaya in my curry? yes please!

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

    • 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!

  19. 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!

  20. I love cauliflower! My fiance and I are both trying to eat healthier, so this is perfect. I think the jam on top sounds delicious, not sure if he would agree though..

  21. 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! :)

    • 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!

  22. I have been craving Indian food like crazy, thanks for the great recipe!

  23. I don’t even like cauliflower or lentil but I would eat this in a heartbeat!

  24. 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

  25. I love curry, cauliflower and lentils! This sounds like the perfect easy dinner!

  26. I made this and I have one question before I do it again…

    6 cups broth + 3 cups of water is so much liquid. It was soup. I came back and read it over and over again. I don’t know what I did wrong, but this was too much liquid. Am I doing something wrong? I had to drain it! Thoughts?

    • Hi Jackie! Hmm, I am looking over the recipe again and wondering if I meant to write it for 6 cups total liquid? Usually the water should be about double the amount of lentils, so I will change the recipe to say 3 cups of each. Sorry about that! I think it also might depend on what kind of lentils you use because I do remember that I had to keep adding more liquid when I made it – the yellow split peas might soak up the water more than regular lentils. Thank you for the comment!

      • I am making it again tomorrow and will adjust and let you know! I so apprecite the feedback and this can possibly be one of my top 5 recipe finds! Thanks so much!


  27. I just made this after pinning it a couple of weeks ago and it was really good! A hit even among the meat-eaters in the family (although they insisted on having some grilled chickens on the side. You win some you lose some). I did swap out the vegetable stock for chicken stock because that was what I had on hand, and I had just two comments: i had to add a bit more salt (but i did use low-sodium chicken stock, haha) and the cauliflower to lentil ratio seemed to lean heavily in favor of the lentils, it was almost like the cauliflower wasn’t there (though maybe the head i purchased was just a bit small) and i really love cauliflower. Next time I might use more. Thanks so much for posting this, I think I’ll definitely be making it again!

  28. Lindsay, I made the curry today and it was insanely delicious! This was the first time to try the lentil-cauliflower combination and also the first to use any Thai curry paste. I would have loved some apricot jam or fresh mango with it, but had neither of them. Definitely adding them next time. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  29. Delicious! I served it with a hot mango pickle and coriander chutney (both available at an Indian grocery) and it was excellent.

  30. Terrific! Puréed in a papaya and served with Major Grey chutney over rice. I didn’t have enough red chili paste so I increased the curry powder and turmeric and added about 1 T lemongrass. It came together quickly in the pressure cooker–7 min for the lentils, then 2 more min after releasing the pressure and adding the cauliflower. Thanks for posting!

  31. This was AMAZING!!! I’m not the hugest curry fan but my vegetarian husband loves the stuff. So in an effort to dazzle him I made this tonight and he (we) loved it!!! It had a bit of heat to it but the apricot jam added that right amount of sweetness. I made a few additions. I added a can of coconut milk and topped it with chopped pistachios (in addition to the jam and cilantro). I like the bit of crunch the nuts add. This will be a regular meal in our house!

  32. Wow, 1/4 cup of Thai Red Curry Paste seems like a lot to me….I have cooked with Red Thai Curry Paste for several years & usually most dishes require a Tblsp. max. …so I am not sure about 1/4 cup…is this a typo or is it correct?? I’d love to make this recipe but reall not sure about adding so much of the curry…it seems to me it would be a HOT one :)

    • It’s correct – I like the flavor and spice! The Thai curry paste I used was not super hot. If you’re using a really spicy curry paste or if you just want less of the curry flavor in general, just go halvsies with 2 T to start.

  33. This looks amazing. Do you pre-soak your yellow split peas? I’ve just looked at the instructions on my packet and it says to soak them overnight. If you don’t, perhaps that is why they take longer and soak up more liquid? (I never seem to be organised enough to plan for overnight soaking!)

    • I didn’t, but it would definitely help the cook time.

      • I made this yesterday (after being organised enough to pre-soak the split peas – go me!). The resulting bowl of sunshiny goodness was the perfect antidote to our grey English winter skies and tasted great served with lime pickle and mango chutney. It also tasted yummy cold today (I just love cold curry!) Thank you for a great recipe.

  34. Jessica Jo says:

    I made this for dinner tonight as i’m always looking for good vegetarian recipes. Really simple & delicious. Thank you!

  35. I bought a giant bag of cauliflower at Costco over the weekend, so I think I know what I’m making tonight! I have a question though: when do you add the papaya? Do you stir it in at the end, after steaming the cauliflower, or put it in with the broth and water? This will be my first time handling a papaya, so I have no idea if it will break down in the cooking process.

    Either way, very excited to eat this and I’m sure it will come out delicious. You’ve never steered me wrong with a curry before!

    • Mine was very ripe, so I cut it up and put it in just at the end. But if yours is less ripe, it will be sour and spicy and you should cook it a bit. 😀 good luck!

      • Deee-licious, as always. I had an ancient mystery bag of yellow legumes in my pantry–lentils or peas? I still don’t know. Whatever they were, I soaked them overnight and they still took 40 minutes to soften up. I added the papaya last and it was perfect.

        The next day I put the leftovers into a tortilla with a bit of jam, which ended up being some sort of magical multicultural miracle.

  36. Hey

    I want to try the recipe but i don’t what to substitute coconut milk for. Any ideas?

  37. Hello

    my previous comment was in the wrong website sorry for the inconvenience.

    In the recipe it says to use ¼ cup of curry paste, isn’t that a lot?

  38. Just made this for dinner, it was sooo good! I added a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on top, it’s awesome! Thank you! Posted a picture on Pinterest

  39. Great recipe. I didn’t have any sweet jams or fruits, but ate two servings anyway! So easy and delicious!

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