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This chickpea tikka masala is made with a fragrant tomato sauce and creamy coconut milk. It is quick, healthy, and so easy to make! The hearty chickpeas and warm spices make it the most comforting, satisfying meal. It’s naturally gluten-free, vegan, and family friendly too!
If you love easy recipes that are full of flavor, you have come to the right place! Authentic chickpea tikka masala is the perfect dinner for a Friday evening, when you’re still tired from the week but wanting to kick off the weekend in a delicious way!
At an Indian restaurant tikka masala would most likely contain chicken, dairy, and sugar. This vegan version keeps all the good stuff, but switches it up a bit to fit more dietary needs!
Protein-rich chickpeas are the star ingredient for this chana tikka masala, alongside full-fat coconut milk or cream and a blend of Indian spices. When paired with basmati or brown rice, you will have the tastiest meal ever!
This easy chickpea masala comes together in just 40 minutes! Even before it is done, you will already be swooning over this dish. The aroma alone is enough to win everyone over and draw in even those who are not the biggest Indian food fan.
Already loving this vegetarian tikka masala recipe? Try out some of our other chickpea recipes like this chickpea and potato curry!
👩🏽🍳 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Versatile: This is a great recipe to customize! You can switch up the protein source, if you prefer lentils, tofu, or meat. You can also add in other spices and play around with the flavor profile.
- Plant-Based: This non dairy tikka masala is meatless and a great option for vegans and non-vegans looking to cut down on their meat or dairy consumption!
- Creamy: Who doesn’t love a creamy sauce?! This vegan masala sauce is rich and creamy, so it feels totally comforting and cozy!
- Full Of Flavor: If you think vegan recipes don’t have any flavor, think again! This vegan chickpea masala has all the flavor and will definitely satisfy your taste buds.
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This easy chickpea tikka masala recipe calls for simple ingredients that combine to form bold flavor. Check out the recipe card for exact measurements and nutritional information.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is the perfect oil for sauteeing in Indian dishes. It gives an additional coconut flavor that is subtle but favorable.
- Onion, Garlic & Ginger: Diced onion, minced ginger, and crushed cloves of garlic come together to form the best flavor in this chickpea masala.
- Spices: Create the ultimate spice blend with cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, turmeric powder, and garam masala powder.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas provide a good source of protein and add texture to this dish.
- Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes combine with the coconut cream for a rich curry sauce.
- Coconut Cream: Use a thick coconut cream or full fat coconut milk to yield the best results, giving you a creamy masala sauce.
- Salt & Pepper: Round this dish off with himalayan pink salt and black pepper to enhance all the other spices and maximize flavor. A little pinch of salt goes a long way!
🍲 Ingredient Substitutions
- Oil: Substitute the coconut oil for olive oil, avocado oil, or ghee if desired.
- Garlic & Ginger: You can use a garlic-ginger paste in a pinch if that is easier, but fresh garlic and fresh ginger will be the most flavorful.
- Spices: You can leave out one or two spices if you do not have them on hand, but I recommend using all for the best flavor. You can substitute cumin and coriander for cumin seeds and coriander seeds (or grind the seeds into a powder). You could play around with curry powder, too.
- Chickpeas: Green peas can be used in place of the chickpeas. You can also try this recipe with cauliflower, tofu, or potatoes.
- Tomatoes: Instead of canned diced tomatoes, you can also use tomato paste or even tomato ketchup. You may need a splash of water to accommodate for the thicker consistency.
- Cream: If you do not need a dairy free tikka masala, you can also use heavy cream. For a lighter curry, you can use canned coconut milk or canned light coconut milk instead of coconut cream.
🔪 How To Make Chickpea Tikka Masala
This non dairy chickpea curry is ready in under 40 minutes, with only 10 minutes of prep time! Here is how to make vegan chickpea tikka masala:
Saute Onion: Heat the coconut oil in a large pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté a large onion, diced, for 2-3 minutes.
Add Garlic, Ginger And Spices: Next, add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Add all spices from cumin through to garam masala, sauté for 2 minutes.
Add Remaining Ingredients: Combine all remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Adjust & Serve: Adjust seasoning to taste and serve on a bed of rice topped with fresh cilantro! Squirt a bit of lemon juice or lime juice, if desired.
💭 Expert Tips
- Avoid Boiling Sauce: Avoid boiling the tikka masala sauce as the coconut cream may begin to split or curdle due to the heat being too high. You want a smooth, creamy vegan tikka masala sauce.
- Homemade Garam Masala: If you do not have garam masala on hand, you can make your own spice mix with coriander, cumin, black pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon.
- Make In Pressure Cooker: This vegetable tikka masala can be made as a slow cooker meal in the pressure cooker. Soften the veggies on saute mode with a little oil and then add in the sauce and chickpeas to simmer together!
- For A Smoother Sauce: If you want more of a tomato purée for this vegan masala recipe, use an immersion blender before adding in the chickpeas. You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water to adjust the thickness.
- Chicken Tikka Masala: If you are not vegan, switch up the protein source and add in chicken for a classic Indian favorite that makes for a more traditional tikka masala.
- Cauliflower And Chickpea Tikka Masala: Modify the original recipe by adding in other veggies like cauliflower for extra fiber and nutrients! You can also serve this with a side of cauliflower rice. Bell pepper could be an additional option!
- More Spice: This is a mild tikka masala. If you prefer a spicy chickpea curry, add ½ – 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, red chili powder, or chili flakes when adding the spices.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Serve this healthy chickpea tikka masala with other Indian recipes for the most delicious and comforting lunch or dinner! I personally love to keep things simple and enjoy this dish with a side of vegan naan bread and basmati rice. If you’re looking to make a more elaborate spread, I recommend trying side dishes like Indian samosas, Guyanese roti, Indian bok choy, and cabbage sabzi!
🙌 Dietary Adaptations
This veg tikka masala recipe can be altered to meet your special dietary needs! It is already vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and soy-free. If you prefer a salt free version, make this vegetarian tikka masala without the salt. Make sure that the canned chickpeas and canned tomatoes do not contain any salt, as well. For an oil-free option, use vegetable broth or a little water instead of coconut oil.
Here is how to store and keep this tikka masala with chickpeas:
- To Store In The Fridge: Store leftover chickpea masala in an airtight container in the fridge. This dish will stay good for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze: Chickpea tikka masala can be frozen for up to one month.
- To Reheat: To reheat your vegan chickpea masala, heat in the microwave or heat in a pot on the stove until warm.
The main difference is that chana masala is made with chickpeas, and tikka masala is usually made with meat. However, the names are pretty interchangeable as long as you are specifying that the dish is tikka masala with chickpeas, instead of chicken or other meat.
This is not only a delicious chickpea tikka masala recipe, but a healthy one too! Chickpeas are a good source of protein and fiber, with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, manganese, folate, phosphorus, and iron. Using coconut oil and coconut cream adds a source of healthy fats, while spices such as turmeric contribute to anti-inflammatory properties!
This vegan tikka masala might taste bitter if the spices, garlic, or onion have been burned. It is a good idea to keep a close eye when sauteing the ingredients, and stir frequently to avoid burning anything.
The most traditional version of tikka masala is not vegan. It is commonly made with chicken marinated in yogurt. However, this tikka masala with coconut milk is completely vegan! It tastes just as good without the meat or dairy. The chickpeas give the delicious texture to bite into, and the coconut allows for a creamy, rich curry sauce.
🍛 More Vegan Indian Recipes!
- Indian Stew With Rice & Lentils
- Instant Pot Dal
- Indian Recipes For Kids
- Indian Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
- Healthy Indian Fried Rice
- Indian Vegetable Sabji
- Chana Aloo Masala
- Healthy Indian Breakfast Recipes
Love this vegetarian indian recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page!
📋 Recipe Card
🎥 Watch How to Make It
Chickpea Tikka Masala
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 4 tsp cumin
- 4 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1½ tbsp garam masala
- 28 oz canned chickpeas, drained (two 14oz cans)
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 14 oz canned coconut cream
- 1-1½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- To serve: naan, roti, rice, fresh chopped cilantro
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the diced onion for 2-3 minutes.
- Next, add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
- Add all spices from cumin through to garam masala, sauté for 2 minutes.
- Combine all remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Continue to simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve with rice, naan and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro (optional)
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- This dish can be frozen for up to 1 month.
- Coconut oil can be substituted with olive oil or ghee.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.
- This is a mild tikka masala, if you prefer a little spice add ½ – 1 tsp cayenne pepper when adding the spices.
- This is a great dish that you can add your favorite vegetables, diced paneer or even tofu to!
- To reheat leftovers either heat in the microwave or heat in a pot on the stove.
- Avoid boiling the sauce as the coconut cream may begin to split/curdle due to the heat being too high.