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This Vegan Tikka Masala recipe is healthy, plant based, made with cauliflower, simple, and also so easy to make! In addition, it's creamy, gluten free, soy free, customizable, and perfect for meal prep!
This cauliflower tikka masala is perfect to enjoy by itself, with a side of rice or naan bread. This vegan version of chicken tikka masala is cozy, warming, hearty, and also uses mostly pantry staples.
I love cauliflower as you can see from my orange cauliflower, sticky sesame cauliflower, vegan butter chicken, sweet and sour cauliflower or buffalo cauliflower wings recipes so this Indian inspired dish is another favorite. This recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner like vegan biryani and also makes amazing leftovers just like my chickpea spinach curry, vegan korma, red lentil dal or chana masala!
Before we jump into the recipe, let's talk about how you can customize it and learn some tips.
How to make Vegan Tikka Masala with Cauliflower
Cauliflower is the main ingredient for this vegan tikka masala because of the texture. You can also make chickpea tikka masala using chickpeas but I think cauliflower is a closer texture to chicken.
We will use pureed tomatoes so that the tikka masala sauce is very smooth and creamy. I usually buy diced tomatoes but I can easily puree them in my blender for this dish.
Using full fat coconut milk makes this dish very creamy and delicious. If you use light coconut milk, it will not be as creamy so keep that in mind.
I like using yellow onion for cooking but you can also use white or red. I find that yellow onions caramelize a lot better.
This recipe calls for 5 cloves of garlic but you can add less or more. When garlic cooks with the onions and all the spices, it gives amazing aroma.
Jalapeno or Serrano Pepper
You can either use jalapeno or serrano pepper so it's your call. Also, if you want your vegan tikka masala to be less spicy, remove the seeds or just use a red bell pepper instead.
Fresh ginger really makes this dish so I don't recommend subbing for ground ginger. Also, it is important to mince the ginger really well so it blends with the flavors.
Since this dish is on the spicier side, I like adding a couple of teaspoon maple syrup to bring out the flavors. You can also use coconut sugar or another sweetener of choice.
At the end of the cooking, adding freshly squeezed lime juice gives that tangy flavor. You can also use lemon juice if you prefer.
Spices make this dish so we will be using a blend of garam masala, turmeric, coriander, smoked paprika, garlic powder and cumin. It is very important to use good quality spices, I promise it makes a huge difference!
I like garnishing vegan tikka masala with fresh cilantro and lime juice but you can omit it if you like.
How to Make Vegan Tikka Masala with Cauliflower Step by Step
- First, preheat the oven to 425 F and then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the cauliflower florets onto the baking sheet, sprinkle with the seasonings, and drizzle or spray oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until tender, toss it halfway through.
- In the meantime, you will cook the onions using avocado oil, coconut oil or olive oil in a large pan, dutch oven or pot over medium heat until caramelized.
- Next, you will add the diced peppers, garlic, ginger, salt and spices and saute for another minute until fragrant.
- And then we will add the tomato puree and maple syrup and cover, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Now, add the coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- After it's cooked, we will be adding the lime juice and roasted cauliflower florets to the sauce and give it a stir and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes and that's it.
Tips & Variations
- Make this tikka masala spicier by not removing the seeds from the pepper or less spicy by omitting it.
- If the cauliflower tikka masala is too thick, add ¼ cup of water add a time. You don't want it to be soupy, it should be a thick stew.
- If you don't enjoy spicy food, be cautious, and add fewer spices and garlic.
- You can make tofu tikka masala by using tofu instead of cauliflower but I am not a big fan of tofu but you can experiment with it.
- Maple syrup gives a little sweetness but if you want it sweeter, you can add a little more.
- Make sure to watch the cauliflower while it's roasting so it doesn't burn.
- Always adjust to taste and add more salt if needed!
What is Vegan Tikka Masala Served With
- Serve it with basmati rice or brown rice. You can also try it with my cilantro lime quinoa recipe!
- Eat it with delicious naan bread.
- You can also add unsweetened yogurt or vegan sour cream on top.
- Garnish with cilantro or parsley and lime wedges.
How to store it
You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 – 6 days. They taste even better the next day! If the leftovers are too thick, you can add a splash of water before reheating it.
This healthy recipe comes together very easy and uses pantry staples. It is also:
- Soy free & Gluten free
- Hearty, Warming & Filling
- Flavorful & budget-friendly
- Perfect for meal prep
- Also so delicious!
More Plant based stew and soup dishes to try
- BUTTERNUT SQUASH CURRY
- EASY CHILI RECIPE
- POTATO LEEK SOUP
- SPLIT PEA SOUP
- RED LENTIL SOUP RECIPE
- THAI RED CURRY RECIPE
So, did you make this? I’d love for you to leave a comment and rate the recipe. You can also share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest and tag me on Instagram using @avocadocentric or #avocadocentric! xo, SelinPrint
This Vegan Tikka Masala recipe is healthy, made with cauliflower, simple, and so easy to make! It's creamy, gluten free, soy free, customizable, and perfect for meal prep!
Baked Cauliflower Ingredients
- 1 head of cauliflower (cut into bite-sized florets)
- 1 tbsp avocado oil (sub for coconut oil or olive oil)
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
Tikka Masala Sauce Ingredients
- 1 tbsp avocado oil (sub for olive oil or coconut oil)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger (minced)
- 1 diced serrano or jalapeno pepper (seeds removed if preferred)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 can (15 oz) tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (sub for coconut sugar)
- 1 can (about 14 oz) full fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- lime wedges and chopped cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 425 F and then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the cauliflower florets onto the baking sheet, sprinkle with ½ tsp garam masala, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp salt, drizzle 1 tbsp oil or spray oil. Mix well with your hands and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until tender, toss it halfway through.
- In the meantime, in a large pan, dutch oven or pot over medium heat, add the oil and cook the onions until caramelized for a few minutes.
- Add the diced jalapeno or serrano pepper, garlic, ginger, salt and the rest of the tikka masala sauce spices and saute for another minute until fragrant.
- Add the tomato puree and maple syrup and cover the pot, lower the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- After it's cooked, add the lime juice and roasted cauliflower florets to the sauce and give it a stir and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.
- Garnish with lime wedges and chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve with white rice, brown rice or naan bread.
Make it spicier by not removing the seeds from the pepper or less spicy by omitting it.
If the sauce is too thick, add ¼ cup of water add a time. You don't want it to be soupy, it should be a thick stew.
If you don't enjoy spicy food, be cautious, and add less spices and garlic.
Maple syrup gives a little sweetness but if you want it sweeter, you can add a little more.
Make sure to watch cauliflower while it's roasting so it doesn't burn.
Always adjust to taste and add more salt if needed!
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 355
- Sugar: 13.3g
- Sodium: 975.6mg
- Fat: 24.9g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 31.2g
- Fiber: 7.4g
- Protein: 8.1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: cauliflower tikka masala, vegan tikka masala, vegan chicken tikka masala, vegetarian tikka masala