This Chickpea Tikka Masala recipe is an easy dinner to whip up when the Indian food cravings hit (plus, it’s vegan). Ready in just 20 minutes, it’s a flavorful and healthy dinner recipe that’s sure to be a hit (with dozens of five-star reviews to back it up!)
I know I’m not supposed to admit this on account of being a *food blogger* and all, but we 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?
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!
“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!” —Mom Of Two
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!
Tomato Puree: A few cans of pureed tomatoes give major umami (and that distinct color) to this Indian curry.
Canned Coconut Milk: I prefer using full-fat coconut milk here to get a full-bodied curry. Go for the canned stuff (not the cartoned milk in the refrigerator section).
Chickpeas: And of course, the chickpeas! These nutrition powerhouses pack a punch of protein along with fiber, keeping you full and satiated.
What to serve with tikka masala
Serve this Chickpea Tikka Masala over a bed of rice, with some homemade 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). It’s also great with fluffy homemade naan and a mango lassi on the side!
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!
- Add Eggplant: This eggplant curry takes many of the flavors of tikka masala, replacing the chickpeas with eggplant!
- Legumes: You can swap out the chickpea for another legume (like beans or lentils)! Here are our favorite legume recipes for your inspiration.
- 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
- 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.