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Spicy Vegan Tikka Masala Recipe

Spicy Vegan Tikka Masala Recipe

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This "Tikka Masala" is a real crowd pleaser, with lots of infused heat and a luscious, thick sauce. Vegetarian, vegan, and delicious!


2 onions, chopped
1 T ground fenugreek
1.2 T cumin seed

2 T ground coriander seed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 thumb print sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
1 1/2 green chili pepper, chopped (desire of heat)
1 T of garam masala
1 can of sieved tomato
15-20 T of soya cream (desire of consistency)
1 can of chickpeas
1.4 cup water
Salt, to taste
Cilantro for garnish


In a large frying pan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium. Add chopped onions to the frying pan and cook until soft and translucent.
Move onions to the side of the pan, add fenugreek, cumin, and coriander to the opposing side, keeping them untouched until aroma appears.
Once onions, fenugreek and cumin are mixed together, throw in chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Stir together until garlic aroma appears. Mix in garam masala to form a paste. Add tomatoes and mix.
Add cream and mix well. Bring to boil.
Add water and chickpeas [or, whatever vegetable you want] and cover. Simmer for five minutes (this will allow your curry to thicken a bit, although it should turn out to be on the saucy side).
Add salt to taste.
Serve with rice and garnish with coriander. Enjoy!

  • 3 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 14-ounce packages extra-firm or firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil plus 2 teaspoons, divided
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, quartered and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup half-and-half

Combine garam masala, turmeric, salt and crushed red pepper (if using) in a small bowl. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and blot dry with paper towels. Toss the tofu in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook, stirring every 2 minutes, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, onion, bell pepper, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add flour and the remaining spice mix stir until fragrant and coated, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Return the tofu to the pan cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in half-and-half.

Vegan Seitan Tikka Masala: Tandoori Spiced, Dairy-free, Healthy

Making this vegan seitan tikka masala is so so easy that you will want to make it every other weekend or whenever you wish to enjoy some comfort food. Don’t want to eat this with rice or watching your carb intake? Eat this with cauliflower rice. It tastes heavenly with those chewy, semi-cooked cauli rice.

Seitan is definitely a distant cousin of chicken. I mean how can it taste and feel so similar to chicken? I have no idea. I make a huge batch of seitan and refrigerate it for a week or two. It’s a good source of protein that you can use in stir fry, curries, meatless patties and in many more meat-less cooking.

The tikka marinade:

  • Vegan yogurt, curry paste (click here for curry paste recipe), lime juice, red chili powder and tandoori spices, and freshly made ginger garlic paste. Yes, that’s all you need.
  • The marinade is so easy and quick, you can even keep it refrigerated for days and add the ginger garlic paste just before using.
  • I prefer keeping the seitan in the marinade for a few hours, or sometimes overnight in the refrigerator. But, I have also used seitan that are in the marinade for just 10 minutes, and it works perfectly fine.

How to make Tandoori Sietan Tikka in a pan?

  • Add each pieces of seitan carefully and cook without covering the pan.
  • Turn the seitans after few minutes to cook from all the sides.
  • Upon cooking, the seitans will change their color and look yellowish or reddish. (adding some Kashmiri chili powder or paprika gives a vibrant reddish hue to the seitan tikka.

  • If you choose to grill, then add seitans to a skewer and grill them until well cooked and slightly charred.

  • Enjoy tandoori seitan tikka as it is, or proceed to the next step to make a seitan tikka masala gravy.

Grilling the seitan is the quickest step. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of that. But, I will ensure to update this post with the grilling step pictures soon.

  • I use a grill pan or sometimes, I even bake the seitans at 350F for five minutes and broil for five minutes.
  • I don’t like to char them a lot. Just a little brown edges, crispy outer texture and that’s it.
  • Now the gravy.

The tikka masala gravy:

It’s easier than you think.

  • All you need are some tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, and curry powder, coriander powder and cumin powder.
  • The tikka masala gravy has a tang and sweet taste, because of the tomatoes used in it.
  • The main base and the heart and soul of the dish are tomatoes.
  • This dish does need some onion and ginger-garlic mixture too.
  • Because I use my make-ahead curry paste, I can quickly whip up this dish in less than 15 minutes.

  • If you are doing it from scratch, I would suggest sweating some red onions, green chili and ginger garlic paste with the tomatoes.
  • And puree this mixture once it cools down. This will be the base of your gravy.
  • Don’t forget to strain the mixture before bringing it to a boil and adding spices. This is the key to get a smooth gravy.

To make it creamy, we have the cashew cream.

  • Blend them well and add them to the gravy.
  • Now the best part, adding the ‘Kasuri Methi’ to the gravy.
  • Don’t let the name scare you, it’s just dried fenugreek leaves that you can easily find at any Indian store or online.

  • Add cashew cream to the gravy and stir well to combine.
  • Your vegan seitan tikka masala is ready.
  • Enjoy this creamy and spicy curry with naan, rice or cauliflower rice. I even keep some grilled seitan tikka to enjoy with salads. And sometimes, I use the left-over tikka masala gravy as a pizza sauce and add veggies and seitan to make an Indian inspired pizza.

The only reason I used cauliflower, is because it was what I had and I felt it would pair well with the chickpeas.

You really can use any vegetables you like. So if cauliflower is not your thing, just swap it for something else. Just try not to increase the ratio of the vegetables too much as that is the only thing that could affect the end result. Meaning your curry ends up a little dry.

Some other great vegetables I recommend are:

  • Cubes of butternut squash or sweet potato (but will add a sweeter flavour to the Tikka Masala)
  • Green Beans
  • Zucchini (Courgette)
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach

  • Extra firm tofu – it’s important to get the firmest tofu you can get, and then we still press it for 20-30 minutes so that it’s really firm and will hold up well in your sauce.
  • Raw cashews – form the base of the vegan yogurt sauce that we toss the tofu cubes in before baking.
  • Coconut sugar – is just for flavor balance for the creamy tomato sauce. It’s added in at the end and balances the flavors beautifully. It does not make it sweet! However, you can switch this for brown sugar or any sugar that you have on hand, or you can omit it if preferred.
  • Coconut cream – we used canned, unsweetened coconut cream. You can also use full fat, canned, unsweetened coconut milk if that’s easier to get hold of.

You will find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is a summary of the process to go along with the process photos.

  • Press the tofu. The best way to do this is to use a tofu press. If you don’t have a tofu press, then simply place the tofu onto a plate, with another plate on top of it and then stack something heavy on top like a heavy pot or a stack of books. Leave it to press for 20-30 minutes.
  • When the tofu is pressed, roughly chop it into cubes and place it into a mixing bowl.
  • Prepare the vegan yogurt sauce. Add raw cashews, water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garam masala, cayenne pepper, turmeric, salt, freshly grated ginger and crushed garlic to a blender jug and blend until smooth.
  • Pour the vegan yogurt sauce over the cubes of tofu in your mixing bowl and gently toss the tofu in the sauce so that it’s all evenly coated.
  • Transfer the tofu to a parchment lined baking tray and spread out evenly.
  • Bake in the oven at 400°F for 15 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Prepare your tomato sauce. While the tofu is baking you can start your tomato sauce.
  • Add vegan butter to a pot on medium heat and melt the butter. Then add in chopped onions and sauté until softened.
  • Now add crushed garlic, grated ginger, fresh chili, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander powder and cayenne pepper and sauté with the onions.
  • Add crushed tomatoes and coconut cream and stir well. Bring to a gentle simmer and let it simmer for a few minutes. Reduce heat and then stir in coconut sugar (for flavor balance) and add salt to taste.
  • Lastly, add the baked tofu pieces and fold them gently into the sauce.
  • Your tikka masala is ready to serve!

Step-by-step instructions

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.

How to Make Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala

To really nail this recipe, you’ll need about 45 minutes.

Trust me, it is going to be worth it!

Before you start on the vegan tikka masala sauce, pre-heat the oven, season the cauliflower, and start roasting it.

To make a bangin’ tikka masala sauce, you don’t need to spend all day toasting spices.

Now, I love freshly-toasted spices as much as the next person. However, I’m on the road a lot and I don’t always have ten jars of spices with me. Also, sometimes you just can’t be bothered, am I right?

Anyway, for this recipe all you need is one spice mix: garam masala.

If you’re going to rely on one thing to make such a big impact on your dish, you should go for the good stuff.

My absolute favorite garam masala mix is from Frontier Natural and is sold on Amazon.

Okay, now that you’ve got your spice mix, let’s talk tomatoes.

A lot of masala recipes call for diced tomatoes, but not this one. Why? Because I think that biting into a piece of canned tomato takes away from the flavor of the sauce.

Instead, I use a mix of chopped fresh tomatoes and canned crushed tomatoes. If you’re in a pinch, you can replace the fresh tomatoes with canned.

The spices and tomatoes get simmered in oil over medium heat along with some fresh ginger, garlic, and onions.

I like to use coconut oil instead of extra virgin olive oil for two reason:

1) the taste of the oil compliments the canned coconut milk we’ll add in at the end, and

2) since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it provides a more luscious butter-like mouth-feel to the finished dish.

That’s right. I said butter-like mouth-feel. I’m sticking with it.

Now ladle half the sauce into a blender (or use my favorite kitchen gadget, this immersion blender) and puree until smooth. You can skip this step if you prefer a chunkier sauce, but I think this step is what makes the masala sauce *next level*. Transfer the puree back to the pan.

Now fold the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas into the vegan masala sauce.

Tikka Buddha Bowl

A grain, a green, a bean (and a curry sauce!)
Serves 4 (Easy recipe to cut in half)

2 cups carrots, cut into ½ -inch pieces
1 large red onion, cut root to stem into ½-inch wedges
4 cups florets broccoli
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Sea salt, as needed

Tikka Chickpeas
1 jar Maya Kaimal Vegan Tikka Masala
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
Topper Options
Fresh pea shoots or veg sprouts, (e.g.sunflower, radish, broccoli)
Roasted Cashews
Lemon wedges
Coconut Milk Yogurt

Grain Options
4 cups cooked brown rice, warmed
2 pouches Maya Kaimal Organic Surekha Rice

Combine the vegetables and oil and toss well to combine. Spread out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt if you like. Place in the middle rack of oven and roast, turning once or twice, until the vegetables are fork tender and browned around the edges, about 22 minutes.

In a medium-sized skillet or Dutch oven, combine the chickpeas and the Vegan Tikka Masala sauce. Simmer over medium-low heat until chickpeas are completely heated through, about 10 minutes. Keep warm while the vegetables finish roasting.

For each bowl, add rice, roasted vegetables, and chickpeas in Tikka sauce. Garnish with pea shoots, toasted nuts, and your favorite vegan yogurt. Serve with lemon wedges.

Instant Pot Tikka Masala – Vegan Tikka Masala Sauce

Instant Pot Tikka Masala – Vegan Tikka Masala Sauce Recipe. Easy Tikka masala sauce, made in a Pressure Cooker. Saucepan option. Add veggies, tofu, chickpeas, vegan chickin subs. Freezer Friendly. Glutenfree Soyfree Nutfree Jump to Recipe

This Tikka Masala Sauce is ridiculously delicious, super easy and freezer friendly. Cook the sauce in a pressure cooker. Then use or freeze for later!

If you are new to the Indian Tikka Masala Sauce, it is a tomato based, tangy spicy flavorful sauce often found in Indian restaurants, served with veggies, paneer, meats. Many of the restaurant sauces have similar base or flavor components with variations here and there. They vary slightly in flavor and texture (creamy, chunky etc). Make this fabulous sauce, adjust after pressure cooking to your preference and use with veggies, beans, tofu, vegan chikin/meat subs or however! Freeze in serving portions, so you can use the sauce to whip up a meal in 10 mins!

See Saucepan and oilfree options in the Recipe notes. Also see Tips section below.

With Cauliflower above for Cauliflower Tikka Masala. Add chickpeas for chickpea tikka masala, some crisped tofu, soycurls for chickin tikka masala! How do you tikka masala?

Like with all my Indian Recipes, I try to keep the flavors as authentic as possible while making it simpler. You can change up other things based on availability and preference (non dairy yogurt can easily be subbed with non dairy cream or milk). It doesn’t affect the amazing flavor, the sauce is flavorful enough and some changes here and there dont affect the deliciousness. It might affect the traditional flavor profile, which may or may not be detectable :).

More Instant Pot Recipes

    . GF
  • Instant Pot Vegan Butter Chickin(soycurls). GF – Creamy, Delicious
  • Japanese Veggie Curry. GF GF
  • Instant Pot Lasagna Soup with Red lentils. – So Easy

Step by Step Photos

Uncooked Sauce below

One-Pot Chickpea Tikka Masala

I’ve been patiently waiting to share this recipe with you guys and it’s been driving me nuts! I made it a few months ago, before we left California, but with Thanksgiving themed recipes on the agenda I had to put it off for a while.

Then I tested it a final time in my new kitchen and was reminded of just how good it is. The blend of spices is so warming and the coconut milk mixed with the fire roasted tomatoes hits your tastebuds in all the right places. On top of that, it’s super easy to throw together and only requires one pot and 30 minutes to make!

Now can you see why I’m so excited for you guys to try it?

If you’ve never cooked with garam masala before, it combines a unique blend of pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cumin. A little sweet and a little savory all in one.

I tend to enjoy more of the savory spices so I used just enough garam masala so that you can taste it among the rest of the seasonings. A traditional recipe might use more masala but you can always taste test it and add more if you prefer.

I also like to add a hint of smoked paprika and cayenne for a little warmth and complexity. Again, feel free to customize it to your liking and use more or less!

Before we get to the recipe, I feel the need to warn you that the ingredient list looks a bit lengthy. However, assuming you have a well stocked spice rack, you should already have most of it in your pantry.

I like to serve this with brown basmati rice, fresh cilantro and warm whole grain naan for a filling meal that’s perfect winter. I hope it helps keep your bellies full and your bodies warm!