Vegetable Tikka Masala is a perfectly creamy curry with a spiced sauce featuring warming flavours, along with roasted and marinaded cauliflower! When combined, they make the most perfect curry that’s similar to vegan butter chicken. And it only takes 30 minutes to make!
🌟 Why this recipe works
- Marinated cauliflower – tikka masala traditionally consists of meat (often chicken) roasted in spices, served up in a rich, creamy and slightly spiced curry sauce. Plus, it's a vegetable that's often overlooked. The key to this vegan tikka masala is all in the cauliflower! It’s marinated in a delicious creamy and spicy mixture and then roasted in the oven for about 20 minutes. Cauliflower is also great at taking on flavour from spices. It works great in a red lentil curry too.
- Plant based cream – vegetable tikka masala isn’t usually vegan because the sauce is made with cream, so in our version we’ve used plant based cream to make sure it’s vegan friendly.
- So simple – we’ve made this recipe as simple as possible. That means that whatever your level of experience in the kitchen, you'll be able to follow it and end up with a delicious veggie tikka masala that’s sure to impress!
- 30 minutes – it should only take 30 minutes. To work efficiently, we recommend measuring out the spices in advance, and making sure you’ve got all of the ingredients ready before you start cooking.
- Size of potato – it’s really important that the potatoes are chopped into small bite-size pieces. Otherwise, they’ll take longer to cook.
- UK’s favourite curry – did you know that tikka masala was voted the UK’s favourite curry in 2020? That must be why it always goes down a storm when we serve up our vegetable tikka masala to friends and family! Read on for how to make vegan tikka masala...
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Vegan yoghurt – Be sure to choose a plain and unsweetened yoghurt for this vegetable tikka masala. We really like coconut yoghurt (Koko is our favourite), but soy or oat yoghurt work just as well. Just make sure it's unflavoured and unsweetened.
- Onion - chopped into medium sized chunks. Generally onions are very important to create a super delicious curry!
- Vegan cream. We really like Elmlea plant based cream, but use your favourite brand. Coconut milk or cashew cream also work well.
- Cauliflower - chopped into medium chunks. Keep hold of the cauliflower leaves, as there’s loads you can do with them! The cauliflower in this recipe is marinated in a mix of yoghurt and spices before roasting it, which is what sets a vegetable tikka masala apart from other vegetable curries. This process is where the ‘tikka’ part of the name comes from.
- Potatoes - chopped into small bite-size chunks. You can leave the skins on, just be sure to give them a good wash and scrub beforehand.
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this article for exact measurements and instructions on how to make vegetable tikka masala.
This is a step-by-step overview with photos of this recipe. The full recipe, along with measurements and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
1. To make this spicy and delicious vegetable tikka masala the first thing you will need to do is marinate the cauliflower. Chuck all of the marinade ingredients into a bowl, and mix them until they are combined. Add the cauliflower to the bowl and coat with the marinade. Ensure that the cauliflower is well coated so that it soaks up the flavour.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and then lay out the pieces of cauliflower on it. Try to spread them out evenly. Pop them in the oven on gas mark 5/190°C for 15 minutes. You’ll need to turn them over once about half way through. This will ensure that they cook evenly.
3. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a dash of oil in a pan. We’d recommend a high temperature oil like groundnut or rapeseed. Add the cumin seeds and fry until they start to sputter.
4. Once the cumin seeds are sputtering, add the onion and potatoes to the pan and sauté for around 10 minutes.
5. Now add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry them for another minute. Sprinkle over all of the dry spices, and stir the mixture well so that everything is coated.
6. Mix in the tomato purée.
7. Pour in the vegan cream and stir well so that everything is combined.
8. Next, pour in the water and bring to the boil. Turn down to a medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
9. Add in the peas and heat them through.
10. By this point the cauliflower should be ready. Remove from the oven, and pop the pieces into the curry, and stir well. Some of the marinade on the cauliflower will naturally fall off into the sauce, making it even tastier. Season with salt to your liking, and then serve and enjoy!
👩🍳 Expert Tips
- Test the chillies – it’s a really good idea to test your chillies to see how spicy they are before putting them in your sauce. We have accidentally ended up with an incredibly spicy veggie tikka masala in the past because we have forgotten to do this. So don't do that, like us! To test your chilli, cut off a tiny bit from near the stalk and taste it to see how spicy it is. You can then add either one or two chillies to this recipe depending on how spicy it is, and how adventurous you’re feeling! Remove the seeds and membrane for a less intense chilli flavour.
- Tailored to you – feel free to tailor the heat level to your liking. Test the chill before adding it or omit it if you’d like a very mild vegan tikka masala!
- Bite-size potatoes – it’s really important to chop the potatoes into small (and even) pieces. That’s so they cook quickly and evenly.
- Make ahead – vegetable tikka masala can be made ahead. We recommend cooking the sauce with the potatoes in advance but add the cauliflower and peas just before reheating. That’s because the cauliflower and peas are better when served freshly cooked. Keep the sauce in the fridge for 2 days before serving. Beware that spices often develop further when left to sit in the fridge!
- Freezing instructions – this meal freezes well for up to 3 months. Just make sure to defrost and reheat thoroughly before serving.
This vegetable tikka masala contains marinated, roasted cauliflower, served up in a rich and creamy tomato based sauce. It has a medium-spicy, and creamy flavour and feels indulgent to eat.
Masala sauce is more complex than a lot of other curry sauces, and it’s made up of a lot of different flavours. It’s also a lot creamier than other curry sauces. The tikka element of a tikka masala is the main ingredient that is baked in a marinade to make it extra delicious. Traditionally the main ingredient would have been chicken or meat, but in this vegan tikka masala we have used cauliflower which tastes even better.
Absolutely! Vegan tikka masala is a great dish to keep in the freezer ready for those days when you just can’t be bothered to cook. We’d recommend separating it into portions before freezing, as this will mean you can just defrost what you need, rather than having to deal with an enormous block of frozen food. It will keep well in the freezer for up to three months.
Yes, definitely. We think the combination that we’ve listed for our veggie tikka masala here works really well, but there are loads of other variations that you could try. Carrot, sweet potato and aubergine in particular would all work really well in this curry, but experiment with local, seasonal veg. That will reduce your carbon footprint too!
🍛 What to serve with it
As with any curry, vegan tikka masala is best served with all of the side dishes you can lay your hands on!
🇮🇳 More Indian recipes
If you're interested in making even more vegan Indian food, then head to our article: 60+ Ultimate Vegan Indian Dishes. There's lots of inspiration in this list!
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Vegetable Tikka Masala
For the marinade:
- 120 g coconut yoghurt unsweetened
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 4 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp ground coriander
For the curry:
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion - chopped into medium chunks
- 4 cloves garlic - crushed
- 1 tbsp ginger - minced
- 2 green chillies - minced
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ cup tomato puree
- 250 ml water
- 250 ml vegan cream
- 400 g cauliflower - chopped into medium florets
- 350 g potatoes - chopped into small chunks
- 110 g peas
- Fresh Coriander
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, then add the cauliflower and mix well.120 g coconut yoghurt, 2 tsp garam masala, 4 tsp paprika, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp cayenne, 1 tsp ground coriander, 400 g cauliflower, 1 tsp black pepper
- Lay the coated cauliflower our on a baking tray (lined with parchment) and bake on gas mark 5 (190°C) for 15 mins. Turn halfway to make sure they cook evenly.400 g cauliflower
- While the cauliflower bakes, grab a large pan. Fry the cumin seeds off in a dash of oil, until spluttering, then add the onion and potatoes. Sauté for around 10 minutes1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 onion, 350 g potatoes
- Then add the garlic, ginger and chillies, continue to cook, stirring continuously for another minute.4 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp ginger, 2 green chillies
- Sprinkle the rest of the ground spices over and stir well.1 tsp garam masala, ½ tsp ground coriander, ½ tsp turmeric
- Pop in the tomato purée.½ cup tomato puree
- Pour in the vegan cream and stir well, it will turn into a delicious deep red sauce.250 ml vegan cream
- Add 1 cup of water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Check that the potatoes are cooked all the way through.250 ml water
- Now add the peas and heat through.110 g peas
- Place the baked cauliflower into the curry and stir well, season with salt to your liking. Some of the cauliflower marinade will naturally fall into the sauce, which will deepen the flavour of the sauce. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and enjoy!400 g cauliflower, Fresh Coriander, Salt
- You could use broccoli instead of cauliflower, but reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes.
- In the marinade, coconut cream or cashew cream can be used in place of the vegan yoghurt.
- Coconut milk can be used instead of the vegan cream in the sauce.
- Other veggies can also be used in place of the potatoes and peas. Sweet potato, green beans, carrots, aubergine and mushrooms will all work well.
- This curry can be frozen for up to 3 months. The sauce can be made a few hours ahead and then the cauliflower can be cooked and added just before serving. Keeps in the fridge for 3 days.