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Chickpea Tikka Masala

This Chickpea Tikka Masala recipe is an easy dinner to whip up when the Indian food cravings hit (plus, it’s vegan!)

Vegan tikka masala with naan and rice in a white bowl

I know I’m not supposed to admit this on account of being a *food blogger* and all, but tulip-man and I have an ordering in problem. As in, we order dinner in more often than I care to admit. But after a day full of cooking for the blog, sometimes you just want a hot dinner delivered to your door, ya know?

And the great thing about living in the Netherlands is the melting pot of people who live (and cook) here! We get some amazing Chinese and Thai and Suriname and Indian food (all deliverable to, you guessed it, my door).

So in an effort to order in a tinsy bit less, I recreated one of my most crave-worthy Indian recipes, tikka masala! Chickpea Tikka Masala, to be exact. It’s creamy with coconut and spiced to perfection, all while being totally vegan!

Chickpea Tikka Masala Video

Vegetarian tikka masala with naan and rice in a white bowl

How to make tikka masala sauce

To make this plant-based tikka masala sauce, you’ll need a few ingredients (that you probably already have in your kitchen):

Flavor Base: Onion, garlic, and ginger lay the foundation of flavor to tikka masala. Saute them until soft and fragrant!

Spices: Then we’ll throw in garam masala (make your own here), cumin, turmeric, coriander, salt, smoked paprika.

Making vegan tikka masala in a pot

Tomato Puree: A few cans of pureed tomatoes give major umami (and a distinct color) to this curry.

Canned Coconut Milk: I prefer using full-fat coconut milk here to get a full-bodied curry.

Making vegan tikka masala in a pot

What to serve with tikka masala

Serve this Chickpea Tikka Masala over a bed of rice, with some naan to sop up the curry! You can substitute the rice for cauliflower rice to make this dish lower in carbs (and the curry is so flavorful, you won’t tell a difference).

Vegan tikka masala in a pot with a ladle to serve it

Variations of this tikka masala

Tikka masala isn’t an exact science, and there are a lot of fun variations you can try out to make it your own! Here are some ideas:

  • Cauliflower: Cut cauliflower into florets and us it in place of the chickpeas! Steam or microwave the cauliflower before adding it into the curry.
  • Paneer: For even more Indian-inspired flavor, panfry cubes of paneer and use them in place of (or with) the chickpeas.
  • Tofu: Tofu also makes a great protein in this curry (here’s how I get my tofu crispy)
  • Store Bought Chicken Substitute: The plant-based “chicken” options are getting pretty good nowadays! You could try using some in this curry!
Vegan tikka masala with naan and rice in a white bowl
Vegan tikka masala with naan and rice in a white bowl

Chickpea Tikka Masala

This Chickpea Tikka Masala recipe is an easy dinner to whip up when the Indian food cravings hit (plus, it’s vegan!)
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes, Soups
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: tikka masala, vegan curry, vegan tikka masala
Diet: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Occasion: Valentine’s Day
Time: 30 minutes or less, 45 minutes or less
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 526kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
4.5 from 6 votes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 15 mL
  • 1 white onion chopped, about 1 cup
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp each cumin, ground coriander seed, turmeric, smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 15-oz cans chickpeas drained, 425 g cans
  • 2 15-oz cans tomato puree 425 g cans
  • 1 14-oz can full-fat coconut milk 400 g
  • Serve with: rice, sliced naan, cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Saute: Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger, cooking until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add seasonings and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
  • Combine: Add chickpeas, tomato puree, and coconut milk. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot and simmering.
  • Serve: Serve hot over a mound of rice with sliced naan, optionally garnishing with fresh cilantro.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1serving (does not include rice and naan) | Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 69.9g | Protein: 15.1g | Fat: 24.3g | Saturated Fat: 16.9g | Sodium: 1198mg | Potassium: 1548mg | Fiber: 14.7g | Sugar: 14.1g | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 8.6mg
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PS: This tikka masala is great for meal prep!

Vegan tikka masala with naan and rice in meal prep containers

Hi, I’m Sarah!

Showing you how to make easy vegetarian recipes, one ingredient at a time. Read more

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Comments (9)

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  1. Renuka says:

    As an Indian I would never cook chickpeas this way. The recipe would be okay if either the coconut milk or the tomato puree is omitted. And where is the Tikka?

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks for dropping in Renuka! I wanted to provide a lighter/vegan option for folks who didn’t want cream, yogurt, or chicken in their tikka masala, so coconut milk and chickpeas were the answer 🙂

  2. Sanjay says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I think “tikka” means cooked in Indian grill( tandoor), whether it’s chicken, paneer, cauliflower or onions. However, any oven can replace the tandoor. Most importantly there should be some sort of grilled flavour in the recepie. In your recipe even if you grill onion and tomatos then it would justify the name “tikka” and bring that smoky flavour in to the dish. I would also garnish my dish with freshly chopped coriender.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks for the tips, Sanjay! 😀

  3. Jessica says:

    Hi Renuka. May I ask how you would make it? I made this tonight, but I’d love to try a more traditional recipe.

  4. Nandita says:

    I think what we are trying to say is that, out of respect for the culture that this dish is attributed to, perhaps call it something other than “tikka masala.”

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Nandita, I’ll definitely consider it moving forward. Thanks so much for letting me know 🙂

  5. Mom of Two says:

    This was super yummy! AND both of my boys (11 and 14) ate it- so there’s the proof!! I made it in the instant pot. Dumped it all in, mixed it, and set it at low pressure for 4 minutes.
    Came out perfectly! (Oh and I used the can of coconut milk.) Thnx for sharing!

    Not sure if it’s technically tikka, but it sure is tastey. 🙂5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear! And thanks for the Instant Pot tip, that’ll be useful for others looking to make this even quicker! 😀

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