Chickpea Tikka Masala (Vegan)

Savor the flavors of India with this mouth-watering Chickpea Tikka Masala! Perfectly vegan, it’s a dish with a delightful blend of spices served over rice, topped with fresh cilantro for an unforgettable meal.

A dark plate with basmati rice and vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala.

Indian food has always been one of my favorites, but I love it even more because it’s so easy to make vegetarian or vegan. In fact, I have almost twenty vegetarian and vegan Indian recipes in the archives! When I’m looking for a plant-based way to get my daily protein, there are always plenty of Indian chickpea recipes I can whip up.

Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala garnished with fresh cilantro.

Reasons to Love This Vegan Tikka Masala

  • Super tasty and richly spiced, but you only need one spice jar!
  • Hearty and loaded with roasted cauliflower.
  • Naturally gluten-free, so you’re safe to serve it at your next get-together or Vegetarian Indian Dinner Party.
  • Dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free.

Recipe Ingredients

A plate with basmati rice and a bowl of Chickpea Tikka Masala on a table.
  • Chickpeas: It provides a hearty and protein-rich base for the dish.
  • Garam Masala: Garam Masala is a blend of Indian spices that defines the unique flavor profile of the dish.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: Form the base of the sauce, giving it a rich, tomato taste and texture.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

If you don’t have garam masala, create a similar spice blend using equal parts of ground cumin powder, coriander powder, and cinnamon, with a pinch of cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper.

How to Make Vegan Tikka Masala

Step #1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).

Step #2: Place the cauliflower in a medium mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons of garam masala.

Spiced cauliflower in a mixing bowl.

Step #3: Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time.

Step #4: Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt two tablespoons of coconut oil in the pan. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onions and cook for 3 minutes to soften. Add the fresh tomatoes and cilantro; season with a pinch of salt. Cook, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until the water has evaporated and the tomatoes appear dry (about 5 minutes).

Step #5: Add the garam masala to the pan, stir well, and cook for 1 minute to toast the spices. Immediately add the canned tomatoes and a half-can of water. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low.

Step #6: Add the garlic, ginger, and red wine vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower has finished cooking.

Step #7: Now, ladle half of the sauce into a blender and puree until smooth and return the sauce to the pan or use my favorite kitchen gadget, this immersion blender and puree about half the sauce. Fold in the drained and rinsed chickpeas and roasted cauliflower. Taste and add salt as needed.

Pureeing Chickpea Tikka Masala until smooth.

Step #8: Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes to infuse the flavors.

Stirring Chickpea Tikka Masala.

Step #9: Garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves.

Chickpea tikka masala with coconut milk.

Step #10: Serve over a bed of cooked basmati rice.

A serving of vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala and fluffy basmati rice.

Expert Tips

  • Quality of Garam Masala: Make sure that your Garam Masala spices are of good quality and fresh. The quality and freshness of this spice make a big difference in this dish.
  • Simmering Technique: After the mixture starts to boil, turn down the heat and just simmer so the flavors will mix well.
  • Use Vegetable Broth: Use vegetable broth instead of water to add more depth and richness to the sauce. The broth infuses the Chickpea Tikka Masala with additional layers of flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make Chickpea Tikka Masala in an Instant Pot?

Yes, use the Sauté function for onions, and spices. Then, add the other ingredients. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes and allow natural release. This method preserves flavor while reducing cooking time.

What other spices can I use in Chickpea Tikka Masala besides Garam Masala?

Besides Garam Masala, you can use turmeric for its earthy flavor and vibrant color and paprika or red chili powder for heat.

A bowl of chickpea tikka masala topped with cilantro.

Storage Info

Store Chickpea Tikka Masala in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To freeze, place it in airtight containers for up to 3 months.

To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen, then warm it on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally. You can also reheat it in the microwave, using a microwave-safe dish, for a few minutes.

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A serving of vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala and basmati rice.

Chickpea Tikka Masala Recipe

Savor the flavors of India with this mouth-watering Chickpea Tikka Masala! Perfectly vegan, it's a dish with a delightful blend of spices served over rice, topped with fresh cilantro for an unforgettable meal.
4.4 from 300 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 3 Servings
Calories: 359kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

Ingredients

To Prepare the Cauliflower

  • 3 cups cauliflower florets - about half a head
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil - melted
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

For the Chickpea Masala

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion - finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes - chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro stems and leaves - reserve some leaves for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 5 large cloves garlic - peeled and grated
  • 1 two-inch piece of ginger root - grated*
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas - or one 14-ounce can
  • 2 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
  • Reserved cilantro leaves for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
  • Place the cauliflower in a medium mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons of garam masala.
  • Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time.
  • Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt two tablespoons of coconut oil in the pan. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onions and cook for 3 minutes to soften. Add the fresh tomatoes and cilantro; season with a pinch of salt. Cook, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until the water has evaporated and the tomatoes appear dry (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the garam masala to the pan, stir well, and cook for 1 minute to toast the spices. Immediately add the canned tomatoes and a half-can of water. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, and red wine vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower has finished cooking.
  • Now, ladle half of the sauce into a blender and puree until smooth and return the sauce to the pan or use my favorite kitchen gadget, an immersion blender and puree about half the sauce. Fold in the drained and rinsed chickpeas and roasted cauliflower. Taste and add salt as needed.
  • Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes to infuse the flavors.
  • Garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves.
  • Serve over a bed of cooked basmati rice.

VIDEO

NOTES

*If you keep your ginger in the freezer, it is a lot easier to grate! I use a microplane grater for both the ginger and the garlic.
Store Chickpea Tikka Masala in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To freeze, place it in airtight containers for up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen, then warm it on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally. You can also reheat it in the microwave, using a microwave-safe dish, for a few minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 944mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1139IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 4mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

  1. For me the recipe was too acidic as is. It also needed more spice. So when I sauteed the onion I added some minced jalapeno. I doubled the amount of coconut milk to balance the acidity. At the very end while it was still hot I stirred in about a half tablespoon of honey. With these changes it was delicious.