Curried Split Pea Cauliflower Stew

This winter in Florida has been unseasonably chilly. No, we didn’t experience a true “polar vortex” like many parts of the country, and never really needed to dig ourselves out from a snowstorm. Nonetheless, there were many days of “sweater weather”, with temperatures dipping into the 40s and 50s. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to break out a stew recipe that I hadn’t made in a couple of years. This one is loaded with flavor and nutrition. There’s the cruciferous cauliflower, the leafy-green spinach, the high-fiber legumes, the disease-fighting garlic and onion from the Allium family, and a multitude of high-antioxidant spices. In fact, you can check off many of Dr. Gregers’ “Daily Dozen” with just one serving of this satisfying bowl of comfort (learn more about the “Daily Dozen” by reading my “What Should I Eat?” post)

This is a perfect meal to prepare over the weekend and take to work during the week!


  • 2 cups cooked split peas (this is usually 1-1.5 cups dried. Although the original recipe calls for split peas, you can substitute brown lentils which cook much more quickly, or even use 1 can of cooked lentils or garbanzo beans)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces (or can use 1-2 bags of pre-chopped, already-washed cauliflower to speed things up. I have used these and still chopped into smaller pieces)
  • 6 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (these are easy to find in an Asian or Indian store if not found in a local supermarket. In fact, all of the spices here are available in many ethnic grocery stores and are usually cheaper and more flavorful)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (1-2-inch) knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2-3 teaspoons good-quality curry powder (start with less and add more to desired taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cups (one 15-oz. can) low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 15-oz. can light coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1-1.5 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • Chopped cilantro and/or green onions (for serving, optional)


  • Prepare dried split peas or lentils as per package instructions or drain and rinse a can of lentils or garbanzo beans
  • Place cauliflower on a baking sheet and cook in oven preheated to 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes (should be browned and tender but not dehydrated)
  • In a large pot over medium heat, add oil
  • Once this is hot, add mustard and cumin seeds. These should start “popping” in 30-60 seconds. Stir frequently so they don’t burn
  • Whether or not the seeds are popping, add chopped onion in after a minute. Cook onion until soft (4-5 minutes), stirring frequently
  • Add carrot, ginger, and garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes
  • Add curry powder and turmeric and stir to coat vegetables
  • After 1 minute, add broth, coconut milk, and legumes
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer with pot covered for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Stir in roasted cauliflower, vinegar, garam masala, 1 tsp salt (if needed) and spinach (this should wilt). Simmer for another 10 minutes
  • Prior to serving, top with chopped cilantro and green onions if desired