Spiced Tempeh & Cauliflower Vegetarian Pilaf

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before the comforting qualities of fragrant subtle spices like turmeric, cinnamon and paprika. There is something about a big bowl of warm and fragrant food that makes you fell so good inside. And a vegetarian pilaf is a fantastic way to enjoy fragrant spices, veggies and rice all in one simple and quick to prepare dish.

I added tempeh to this recipe as I love its texture and it’s also a delicious way to add protein to a vegan dish. The vegetables and spices come together with the rice and tempeh to create a lovely tasting vegetarian pilaf recipe full of flavour and spicy aromas.

Accompanied with all the lovely extras like naan, chutney and yogurt or cucumber raita (if you like) and this vegetarian pilaf is a super delicious and colourful meal perfect for a family dinner or a quick meal when entertaining. Super simple and quick to prepare – you can have this beautiful dish on the table in just over 30 minutes.

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Spiced Tempeh & Cauliflower Vegetarian Pilaf
Preparation time 35mins // Serves 4-6

  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 450g (16 oz) tempeh, crumbled into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 600g (21 oz) piece of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • ½ cup sultanas (raisins)
  • ½ cup raw cashew nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

to serve

  • 4-6 naan bread
  • mango or fruit chutney
  • plain natural yoghurt or cucumber raita (for non-vegans)

Heat 2 tbs of the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the pieces of tempeh and fry for a few minutes until golden on all sides. Remove from the pan and drain on absorbent paper.

Add the remaining oil to the pan along with the mustard seeds and heat over a medium-low heat until the seeds begin to pop. Add the turmeric, paprika and cinnamon and over a low heat combine the spices with the oil until you have a paste.

Add the onion and increase the heat a little continuing to fry until the onion is soft. Add the ginger and coconut and cook for just a minute before adding the rice.

Combine the rice well with the spices and onion, add the cauliflower and cooked tempeh and increase the heat. Add the stock and bring to the boil.

Cover and decrease the heat to low, allow the pilaf to cook for about 10 minutes until rice is tender and stock nearly absorbed. Add the peas, stir through quickly and cover and cook for a further few minutes until stock is fully absorbed and rice cooked.

Stir through the cashew nuts (reserving a few for garnish) and sultanas, cover again and stand for 5 minutes before tossing through the fresh coriander.

Serve warm accompanied with naan bread, chutney and plain yoghurt or cucumber raita for a truly delicious and warming vegetarian or vegan meal.

{this dish was inspired by Lucy Nunes “Indian Chicken & Cauliflower Pilaf” found in Super Food Ideas}

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