Vegan Tikka Masala featuring chickpeas as the main ingredient is a delicious, flavorful plant-based meal the whole family will adore. The chickpeas are marinated in a healthy, hearty vegan tikka masala sauce, and are delicious paired with rice and naan.
Say hello to the most flavorful plant-based meal: vegan tikka masala!
I debated using tofu as the main ingredient in this, but ultimately opted for chickpeas which makes this recipe even quicker.
Using chickpeas as the main ingredient in a recipe is always a good ideas, like in my flourless chickpea pancakes and my butternut squash chickpea chili.
This tikka masala is a blend of warming spices like garam masala, turmeric, curry powder, and cumin all combined with coconut milk and tomato sauce for a delicious vegan tikka masala sauce.
- A quick weeknight dinner that's ready in under 25 minutes
- Incredibly flavorful, and pairs well with rice, naan, cauliflower rice, or most roasted vegetables (like these air fryer carrots)
Bell pepper: Preferably green, but can sub yellow or orange if needed.
Spices: No substitutions! You're more than welcome to try your own spice substitutions, but I haven't tested this recipe any other way. With that said, you can use ground ginger if needed -- start with ½ teaspoon and go from there.
Chickpeas: Canned; make sure to drain and rinse them before adding them to the skillet
Tomato sauce: Canned, not jarred! This is very important because most jarred tomato sauces are meant for Italian recipes and include Italian spices, and we don't want that. Opt for a simple canned tomato sauce, and try to avoid using any that include basil in them.
Coconut milk: Canned, full fat OR light.
Step 1: Sauté the onions. Start by heating oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the onions, garlic and bell pepper and sauté until the pepper is soft, 4-5 minutes.
Step 2: Add the spices. Next, add the ginger, tomato paste, garam masala, paprika, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and salt and sauté for about 1 more minute until the spices are fragrant.
Step 3: Make the sauce. You need tomato sauce and coconut milk to completely this tikka masala sauce, so add them into the skillet and stir to combine, then add the lemon juice and chickpeas and simmer them for 15-20 minutes.
Tips + FAQs
-Make sure to simmer the sauce (i.e. on LOW) rather than boiling it; simmering will help the chickpeas absorb the flavor of the sauce.
-Want to include more veggies? You can add in chopped cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, or peas to the skillet and simmer them with the chickpeas until they're soft.
-Pair with a side of basmati rice, cilantro lime brown rice, crispy baked tofu, or naan.
What is Indian tikka masala?
Traditional tikka masala is made with meat (typically chicken) and served in a tomato curry sauce. In this version, we're using chickpeas instead of chicken to keep it vegan!
Do I have to include cilantro?
Honestly, YES. It makes a huge difference, and many traditional Indian dishes are served with cilantro, so I don't recommend skipping it.
- Refrigerator: Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezer: Wait for it to cool, then transfer it to a freezer-safe bag; it should keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.
- Reheating: Simply reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan over the stove until warm.
More delicious vegan recipes:
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Vegan Tikka Masala
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 green bell pepper diced, seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 2 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 15 oz. tomato sauce canned, NOT jarred
- 14 oz. coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 30 oz. chickpeas drained and rinsed
- cilantro for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion, garlic and bell pepper and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the peppers are soft. Then, add the ginger, tomato paste, garam masala, paprika, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and salt and sauté for 1 minute.
- Next, pour in the tomato sauce and coconut milk and stir, then add the lemon juice. Last, add the chickpeas and stir so that they're coated. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Taste test and add more salt as needed. Serve atop rice, sprinkle with fresh cilantro and enjoy!
Really liked this recipe. Used curry paste instead of curry powder, which allowed me to skip the tomato paste, since I didn't have any. Substituted carrots for the red bell pepper. Delish!