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  • Gluten-Free + Vegan Recipe | Kale Korma

    by Erin Griffin on April 5, 2014

    kalekorma1There are many types of kormas, but this one is inspired by a North Indian Korma, where a meat (like lamb or chicken) would generally be marinated in yogurt and spices for hours. Needless to say, I’m taking a lot of liberties here, and this creamy, deliciously-spiced version features kale, cauliflower, and carrots. Feel free to swap veggies, adjust the spices, and generally get really creative with this dish. The basics (onions cooked in garlic and ginger, then mixed with cashew cream and tomatoes and Indian spices) will make whatever you choose to include delicious. I like to pair this with an Indian-spiced basmati. Your house will smell so incredible you’ll hardly be able to wait for the korma to finish.



    • 1 t high-heat oil (like Grapeseed)
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 T fresh ginger, minced
    • 8 cups loosely packed chopped kale (which was two bunches for me)
    • 4 cups chopped cauliflower (one small head)
    • 2 cups chopped carrots (four small)
    • 1 1/2 cups diced sweet onion (which was half a large onion for me)
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomato (about two medium tomatoes)
    • 1  T tomato paste
    • 1 1/2 cups of raw, unsalted cashews, divided
    • 2 cups veggie broth, divided
    • 2 t roasted cumin (also called Geera)
    • 1 t turmeric
    • 1/2 t cinnamon
    • seeds from 8 cardamom pods
    • 1/4 t black peppercorns
    • 3 cloves
    • 2 dried hot peppers (optional, you can replace this with 1/2 t cayenne, or another type of pepper you like, or even diced fresh jalapeño)
    • Salt and pepper to taste (I use about a teaspoon of sea salt and let people add fresh ground pepper as they like)
    • chopped fresh cilantro (to serve, optional)
    • chopped fresh hot peppers (like jalapeños, to serve, optional)


    • In a large (really large) heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, cook the onion in the oil until brown (about 10 minutes) – you can chop all of your veggies while this is going on. Stir it occasionally so they don’t burn.
    • Make your spice blend: you will need to grind all of the elements together into a powder (I use a Magic Bullet, a coffee grinder works great, or a food processor, or a blender) so you don’t have whole cloves or cardamom seeds in the dish. That said, you can use powdered versions of these to begin with to make it easier, or if that is what you have on hand, and, also, if you have garam masala you can use a few tablespoons of that instead of the dry spices listed.
    • Add the fresh garlic, fresh ginger, and the dry spice blend (save for the salt and pepper that you will add at the end when you adjust the seasoning) and cook for two or three minutes until aromatic.
    • Deglaze the pot with 1/2 cup of veggie stock (or water, but using stock throughout this recipe will really make it delicious).
    • Add your chopped carrots and cauliflower and another cup of stock, reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes while you make your rice (if you’d like) and prep your kale and make your cashew cream.
    • For the cashews, take 1/2 cup and set them aside to add to the dish whole. With the other cup, mix with 3/4 cup veggie stock in a high speed blender (adding a little more stock if needed until the mixture is super creamy – this takes about a minute in a VitaMix, but you can do this in a regular blender in about four minutes).
    • Add the kale, tomatoes, tomato paste, cashews, and cashew cream to the pot (check to be sure the cauliflower and carrots are fork-tender first). Simmer for 10-20 minutes.
    • Add salt and pepper to your liking, and adjust the seasoning to your heart’s desire. At this point, I pull some of this our for my 16 month old, and then add dried peppers and cayenne in and let the pot sit over low heat for another 30  minutes to allow everything to cook down and the peppers to infuse some heat.
    • When the kale is soft and the dish is nice a creamy, serve over spiced basmati rice or another grain and garnish with cilantro and sliced hot peppers.

    A few notes:

    You can use more cashew cream if you want this dish to be really creamy, or add a nut milk (like almond) by the 1/2 cup at the very end until the dish is your desired consistency. As you can see in the photos this is not as creamy as a traditional korma (of course, it’s also quite different than a traditional korma!) but I like to keep it as healthy as I can while still delicious and rich tasting.

    Indian spices can be really intimidating, so buying a few blends, like garam masala and curry, might make trying Indian dishes more appealing. I happen to be a spice junkie, so I like making my own mixes, you can see the different spices I chose for this dish in the photo below.

    If you have a favorite Indian dish, or one you’d like to see vegan-ized, please let me know!

    About Erin Griffin

    Teaching and cooking are written in my DNA (thanks mom and dad). I finally relinquished myself to that fact in my early 30s and haven’t looked back. I read nutrition books for fun (like the science-y ones). I love mashing veggies for my 9-month-old while we sing along to 80s pop. And in my spare time I run The Yummy Kind, offering recipes, cooking classes, and nutrition education to anyone who wants to listen. You can find more information, and more of my recipes, at

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  • { 4 comments… read them below or add one }

    Ashlee April 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    This looks delicious! I just found your blog through Bloglovin and I can’t wait to read through all of your recipes! I’m doing a 3-day juice cleanse and then going vegan. I’m really excited and can’t wait to see what yummy entrees I can create : )


    Erin G. April 10, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    That is wonderful Ashlee! You will find tons of great recipes and information here (food and otherwise) on being a happy, healthy vegan. I have about 50 other recipes on my site as well ( and if you have any questions or need any help please contact me!

    All the best,
    Erin G.


    Heather May 13, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    How about a good palak paneer? :)


    Erin G. May 19, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    That is a great idea! Palak Paneer has always been my favorite Indian dish. I’ve tried to make a few vegan paneer subs and found it challenging. But, I’m inspired to try again now!


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