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This vegan tikka masala with tofu is quick, healthy, and super simple. It’s packed full of fragrant Indian spices, sweet tomatoes, and creamy coconut milk. The whole family will love this mild curry dish!
Curry is an easy dinner option for busy nights and a great way to pack in veggies! Tofu is the star of this vegan tikka masala recipe, but I like to sneak in some cauliflower too. My kids gobble it up, not knowing they’re devouring a healthy plant-based meal. Indian cuisine is a favorite around our house.
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The sauce in this vegan tofu tikka masala is made with a base of coconut milk and tomatoes. Coconut milk adds a delicate sweetness to the dish, tomatoes add a slight tang, and Indian spices bring the whole dish together. The entire house smells amazing while it cooks.
This Indian tofu curry beats any Indian restaurant and it’s ready in 35 minutes. You can’t even pick up takeout and bring it home in that amount of time. It’s all made in one pot too, which means less dishes. It’s creamy, rich, flavorful, and healthy. It’s everything you want in a quick and flavorful dinner!
👩🍳 Why This Recipe Works
- Classic Indian dish with a vegan spin
- Tofu tikka masala recipe with cauliflower
- Easy to make & kid-friendly
- A great recipe if you like to meal prep, tastes even better the next day!
- Coated in a flavorful, creamy sauce
- Ready to eat in 35 minutes
This tofu Indian curry recipe calls for simple ingredients found at your local grocery store. Find the full ingredients list and nutritional information at the bottom of the post.
- Extra-Firm Tofu: A block of extra-firm tofu is easy to slice and cube. It holds its shape while cooking which is what we want for this dish. Be sure to press the tofu to squeeze out the excess moisture, so the tofu will caramelize in the pan.
- Olive Oil: To sauté the tofu and the veggies. Any neutral-flavored oil works, or ghee is a great swap too.
- Aromatics: Fresh onion, bell peppers, garlic, and fresh ginger give the sauce a complex depth of flavor! You can use yellow, orange, or red bell peppers. If you’re not a big garlic fan, you reduce the amount to 2 garlic cloves.
- Spices: A fragrant spice mix makes this curry top notch! I used garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, sea salt, and curry powder. If you don’t have garam masala, it’s worth a trip to the store for it! It contains cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, coriander, cumin, and sometimes fenugreek leaves. For some extra heat, you can add in cayenne pepper or chili powder.
- Diced Tomatoes: Adds sweetness and acidity to the sauce. If you don’t have diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes or tomato puree works. If you have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can chop them up and add them too!
- Curry Sauce: You can find premade curry sauce in the international foods aisle. I prefer Maya Kaimal brand, but any brand of madras curry sauce works great.
- Coconut Milk: I use light coconut milk since it’s not as heavy or rich. Feel free to use full-fat coconut milk if that’s what you prefer.
- Cauliflower: An easy way to sneak in veggies! You can use frozen or fresh cauliflower.
This vegetable tikka masala recipe is easy to customize! Try one of these simple variations.
- Sides: Serve this vegan tikka masala with brown rice or another whole grain of choice like quinoa, barley, millet or even amaranth! You can also enjoy this dish with a whole wheat vegan naan, roti, chapati (tortilla), paratha, or pita!
- Vegan Tikka Masala Instant Pot: Press the sauté function and sauté the tofu as directed then set aside. Sauté the aromatics, then stir in the spices. Add everything to the pressure cooker and set to high pressure for 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thin, hit the sauté function and let it simmer until it thickens.
- Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala: Skip the tofu and make the sauce without it, then stir in your own seitan or your favorite vegan chicken pieces at the end. This will basically give you a version of vegan butter chicken!
- Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala Recipe: Add a can of drained chickpeas when you stir in the tofu. Or leave the tofu out and just add the chickpeas.
This tofu Indian recipe is easy to make! Here’s step-by-step instructions with photos.
Press Tofu, Chop Tofu: Use a tofu press to squeeze the excess moisture out of the tofu. Doing this makes it firm and dry, so it crisps up nicely when you cook it. Chop the block of tofu into bite-sized cubes.
Brown Tofu: Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes in batches so they caramelize instead of steam. Cook, stirring every 2 minutes, until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the cooked tofu to a plate and set aside.
Sauté Aromatics: Add the remaining oil to the large pan and sauté the red onion, bell pepper, garlic, and ginger for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add Spices: Add the spices and stir to combine. Cook for another 2 minutes, until the mixture is fragrant.
Simmer Vegan Tikka Masala Sauce: Add the remaining ingredients. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer the creamy tomato sauce for 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce thickens, stirring often.
Add Tofu: Season to taste. Add the cayenne pepper if you like heat. Stir in the crispy tofu and cook for 2 more minutes. Top with fresh cilantro.
Enjoy: Serve this vegetarian tikka masala with your choice of basmati rice, brown rice, vegan naan bread, or a whole grain of your choice.
❓ Recipe FAQs
A traditional tikka masala is made with cream and yogurt, and while delicious, it is loaded with calories and fats. In this vegan version of tikka masala I use light coconut milk to reduce the calories and fat without losing the creaminess.
Store leftover masala tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed throughout or in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat.
Yes indeed! In fact, once frozen, the tofu takes on a spongier, more porous texture similar to meat. Some people deliberately freeze firmer varieties of tofu, such as Superior Extra Firm, to create an even chewier, meatier texture. Transfer the tofu tikka masala to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat.
This curry is perfect for the whole family as it is not overly spicy. Although it has a complex flavor profile with garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and ginger, it remains kid-friendly. The spices in this vegan tikka masala pack flavor, but not heat. Most kids love tofu thanks to it’s creamy texture and mild flavor and this recipe is no exception!
💭 Expert Tips
- Use extra firm tofu in this cauliflower tikka masala. Silken and regular tofu are best for smoothies, sauces, and desserts.
- Don’t forget to press the tofu! After removing the tofu from its package, rinse it and then remove the water. For firm and extra-firm tofu, simple draining isn’t enough, you need to press the water out. You can use a tofu press which takes only 15 minutes, or sandwich the tofu between paper towels, with a plate on the bottom and a plate on the top. Then place a heavy object on top of the top plate. Drain water every 30 minutes for up to 1-2 hours.
- Roast spices: Make sure to sizzle your spices until you get a good aroma.
- Save on calories: Use light coconut milk rather than full fat to reduce calories and fat.
- Transform your curry with a simple topping! Toasted sesame seeds, desiccated coconut or a sprinkle of fresh pomegranate add another layer of depth.
- For kids, feel free to reduce the spices/adjust quantities of spice as needed. Omit the cayenne too!
- To make the sauce thicker, add a tablespoon of tomato paste.
🍛 More Vegan Indian Recipes!
- Thai Coconut Chickpea Curry
- Indian Rice and Curry Casserole
- Panang Curry with Tofu
- Thai Peanut Curry with Chickpeas
- Aubergine Curry
LOVE THIS RECIPE? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page!
📋 Recipe Card
Vegan Tikka Masala
- 1½ 16 oz blocks extra firm tofu cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion diced
- 2 yellow bell peppers diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 3 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp salt more to taste
- 2 tsp curry powder more to taste
- 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 jar Maya Kaimal Madras Curry Sauce
- ¾ cup light coconut milk
- 16 oz bag frozen cauliflower cut into smaller florets if needed
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper optional, to taste
- Press your tofu. I recommend using this tofu press because it's super easy to use, dishwasher safe and takes way less time than using paper towels and heavy kitchen items to get the job done!
- Once your tofu is pressed, chop it into cubes.
- Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu in batches and cook, stirring every 2 minutes, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add remaining oil and sauté the red onion, bell pepper, garlic and ginger for 4-5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
- Add everything from garam masala to curry powder, stir to combine and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes, curry sauce, coconut milk and cauliflower florets, stir and simmer gently, stirring often for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened.
- Adjust seasoning and heat by stirring through cayenne pepper, if using, and additional salt if needed.
- Gently stir through the tofu and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Serve with brown rice, whole wheat vegan naan, or a whole grain of your choice.
- Use extra firm tofu in this recipe.
- After removing the tofu from its package, rinse it and then remove the water. For firm and extra-firm tofu, simple draining isn’t enough, you need to press the water out. You can use a tofu press which takes only 15 minutes, or sandwich the tofu between paper towels, with a plate on the bottom and a plate on the top. Then place a heavy object on top of the top plate. Drain water every 30 minutes for up to 1-2 hours.
- Make sure to sizzle your spices until you get a good aroma.
- You can use frozen or fresh cauliflower.
- Use light coconut milk rather than full fat to reduce calories and fat.
- Transform your curry with a simple topping! Toasted sesame seeds, desiccated coconut or a sprinkle of fresh pomegranate adds another layer of depth.
- Leftovers can be stored, covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- For kids, feel free to reduce the spices/adjust quantities of spice and heat as needed.