Recipes from The Kitchn

Recipe: Easy Vegetarian Tikka Masala

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

Like any good bowl of tikka masala, this one greets you with a rich-tasting sauce bursting with warm spices that linger on your tongue — just the way you'd expect. But it takes a decidedly lighter spin, and unlike most meat-free versions of this restaurant favorite, this one goes full steam ahead with lots of hearty vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, and peas. Spoon it over a pile of rice and you've got a wholesome, comforting dinner that's easy enough to pull off on a weeknight.

Your Tikka Masala Can Handle More Vegetables

Paneer, tofu, and chickpeas all make a fine choice for meat-free tikka masala, but it's high time we bring in more veggies. When it comes to choosing the vegetables for this dish, you can't go wrong with the hearty mix of knobby cauliflower floret, thick chunks of carrots, and a scattering of green peas. This trio lends itself to a cook time that's long enough for the sauce to build a deep flavor — all the while soaking up the warm spices — without getting mushy.

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

Try Our Other Tikka Masala Recipes

Easy Vegetarian Tikka Masala

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time: 5 minutes to 10 minutes ; cooking time: 40 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons

    ghee or olive oil

  • 1

    large yellow onion, diced

  • 1 tablespoon

    peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger

  • 3 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons

    garam masala

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon

    paprika

  • Pinch cayenne pepper

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 1

    small head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into bite-size florets

  • 1 pound

    carrots (3 to 4 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    crushed tomatoes

  • 1 cup

    low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 cup

    frozen peas

  • 1 cup

    heavy cream or unsweetened full-fat coconut milk

  • Cooked basmati rice, for serving

  • Fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, for garnish

Heat the ghee or oil in a high-sided 12-inch skillet over medium until shimmering. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and stir to coat. Add the garam masala, coriander, paprika, cayenne, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to coat the aromatics, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the cauliflower and carrots and stir well to coat with spices. Add the tomatoes and broth and stir to combine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in the peas and cream and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve over basmati rice and top with cilantro.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 4 days or frozen for 3 months.

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