Cauliflower mung bean curry is a vegan, hearty and filling curry you can make on any week night. It’s easy on digestion, quick to make and perfect over cooked rice or cauliflower rice.
Recently I’ve introduced legumes back in my life. In moderation of course and always after they’ve been through proper soaking. It turns out, legumes themselves are not necessarily the problem when it comes to digestion; but it’s the conveniently canned variety that haven’t been through a good soak that generally wreak havoc on the ol’ gut.
A while back, a friend gave me a bag of mung beans as a gift (if you’re a fan of The Office, you’ll likely understand the reference). They sat on my pantry shelf for months and months and I’d occasionally pick them up, turn them over and place them right back next to the other bags of dried legumes.
But some weeks ago when I found myself uninspired and in need of some recipe ideas, I caught a glimpse of the mung beans and decided it was time. I couldn’t quite pinpoint a time in my life when I had actually eaten mung beans other than in sprouted form.
I threw the beans in a pot with water and let them soak overnight, hoping that overnight I would also come up with some sort of inspiring way to use them. I hadn’t so I needed to see what they actually looked like when cooked. Surprisingly, they looked a lot like lentils, but the texture and consistency, somewhat different. So here I was staring at a pot of boiled mushy mung beans when it dawned on me. Curry - how obvious!
I searched my fridge for ingredients that may work. 1/2 a head of cauliflower and a leek would do the trick. My pantry is forever stocked with every variety of canned tomato so, I threw in some tomato puree, spices, and voila, out came probably one of my favorite curries! It’s an easy vegan cauliflower mung bean curry dish you may return to again and again.
Tips for making cauliflower mung bean curry
If you’re new-ish to the mung bean world, don’t worry, they’re particularly easy to cook but don’t expect them to be beautiful!
How to soak and cook mung beans
When searching for the best way to soak mung beans, I wasn’t quite able to come up with much. It seems popularity wise, mung beans wouldn’t stand a chance next to chickpeas and black beans, but I feel they’re exquisite and much underused.
So here is the simplest way to soak and cook mung beans. All you need is 1 cup mung beans and 2 cups water. Cover and let sit overnight. When you’re ready to cook the beans, drain in a colander, discard the water, give them a good rinse and add them back to the pot with 2 cups of water. Cook for 30 minutes until mung beans are mushy and water has evaporated. Don’t worry that’s the consistency we’ll need for this cauliflower curry as it will provide the creamy base.
Can you use lentils instead of mubg beans for the cauliflower curry?
If you cannot find mung beans or for whatever reason do not like them, you can easily substitute green lentils for it. Make sure you cook them really well so you end up with a rather mushy consistency and use them in the same way instructed below.
Can you use fresh or canned tomatoes for the curry?
I’m lazy and love the convenience of canned tomatoes. I’ve tried this curry with a variety of different canned tomatoes, from chopped, to diced, sauce, to puree and puree far out-tasted the other tomatoes. So find a good quality tomato puree in a BPA free can or jar and go for that.
Can you use onion instead of leeks?
Right now is leak season. They peak from September through April and most markets will carry them. But if you’re not able to get your hands on them, don't worry, you can use a sweet onion instead of the leek. You can follow basically the same instructions and it will not dramatically impact the taste of the cauliflower curry.
Can you eat the cauliflower curry on its own?
You can if you want to. I have. But it’s also quite delicious over rice. I find rice that’s been soaked for 30 minutes prior to cooking to be easy on digestion. But a great alternative if you want to keep it grain free is cauliflower rice.
Don’t forget the cilantro
If you’re not a cilantro lover, this part is not for you, but if you are, don’t forget to add it at the end of the cooking and as you’re serving it. It’s going to add depth and flavor into every bite!
Final thoughts on vegan mung bean cauliflower curry
If you have the time to cook the curry in advance, I highly recommend letting it sit for an hour or two. If this is not possible, no big deal. You’ll likely have leftovers and will see how the ingredients transform once they’ve had time to sit overnight. There’s something spectacular that happens to curries when all the wonderful spices further infuse the food.
vegan mung bean cauliflower curry
soaking time: 8 hours to overnight
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes
1 cup mung beans
5 cups water divided
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large leek, chopped (white part only)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2” piece of ginger, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 large head cauliflower or 1 small (florets only)
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 can tomato puree or 2 cups
1 tbsp chopped cilantro plus extra for serving
In a large pot, add beans, 3 cups of water and soak overnight.
When you’re ready to cook mung beans, discard soaking water, rinse them well and return beans to pot with 2 fresh cups of water.
Cook mung beans for 30 minutes until soft and liquid has been absorbed. If there’s any leftover liquid, drain it. You want the mung beans to be mushy in texture.
Meanwhile, preheat large pot on medium heat and add 2 tbsp coconut oil, leek and a pinch of salt. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until it starts to soften. Stir regularly to avoid sticking to pot.
Add garlic, minced ginger, all spices and cook for 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and toss with spices.
Next add in tomato puree, coconut milk, sugar, salt and pepper and cook stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
Add mung beans to pot, cilantro and stir well.
Serve over white rice, cauliflower rice or eat on its own with additional cilantro.
*Tip: Curry tastes best when it’s had the chance to rest for a bit.