This vegetarian chickpea tikka masala tastes just like takeout… or better! Super rich and perfectly spicy, this vegetarian version of the Indian classic dish is filling but meatless. Saucy and perfect over rice, this recipe uses a simple technique to take your tikka masala to restaurant-level! Easy to make vegan.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Indian food is absolutely my #1 comfort food, especially warm, spicy tikka masala. This recipe is restaurant quality at home and is perfectly seasoned, amazingly flavorful, and vegetarian!
- This vegetarian version of tikka masala swaps out the chicken for chickpeas, which are just as filling and so easy to cook. Even committed carnivores will go crazy for this recipe.
- We used a couple of easy tricks and ingredients to make this recipe taste just like it came from your fave Indian restaurant. You won’t believe how delicious it is!
- To make chickpea tikka masala vegan, swap out the butter for vegan butter or a neutral oil (like vegetable or avocado) and use 1 cup plant-based half and half instead of the dairy version. We love Ripple half and half, but you can also use pure coconut cream (the solid part of a can of coconut milk) if you prefer.
- The fenugreek leaves are optional, but they really make this recipe taste more like restaurant-quality. You can find it online here or here if you’re unable to find it at the grocery. Don’t buy fenugreek seeds by mistake! They’re different!
What Makes This Recipe So Good
The key to restaurant quality taste is caramelization.
First, we caramelize the onions. Don’t skip it! Caramelizing the tomato sauce and tomatoes in step 4 is equally as important. This takes the tomato-y edge off and takes your tikka masala from “homemade” tasting to professional quality. Trust me, you will be amazed if you follow both steps!
What is Ginger Garlic Paste, and Why Do We Love It?
Garlic ginger paste is a must if you cook Indian food. You can buy it premade, but it’s so easy to make, and it will last up to 6 months! Here’s how to make ginger garlic paste at home:
To a skillet over medium heat, add 1 deseeded jalapeno, 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, and 5 cloves of garlic, then reduce the heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture turns a nice medium brown, almost toffee colored. This will take about 20 minutes. Add a little water here and there if the mixture is sticking.
Keep it in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, or freeze it for it to last 6 months.
More Indian Recipes You’ll Love
- Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe (Restaurant Style)
- Instant Pot Dal
- Quick Creamy Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry
- The Best Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Whole30, Paleo, Low Carb)
- Easy Golden Milk
- Paneer Tikka Masala
- 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas drained
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion medium, chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup half and half
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 lemon juiced juiced
- 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes undrained
- 1 bell pepper sliced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fenugreek leaves optional
- 4 tablespoons cilantro
- cooked rice or cauliflower rice to serve
- Heat butter over medium heat, then add onion and cook until slightly softened.
- Add ginger garlic paste and cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of water as needed so paste doesn't burn. Add spices and cook for 1 minute.
- Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, bell pepper, chickpeas, and salt. Mix everything well. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let the sauce simmer until it thickens slightly and turns a darker color, usually about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat as needed so that the sauce remains at a simmer.
- Stir in cream, lemon, and fenugreek and reduce heat slightly. Simmer for 5 more minutes, then add more salt to taste. Serve over rice or cauliflower rice with naan. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
- To make ginger garlic paste: Add 1 deseeded jalapaneo, 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, and 5 cloves of garlic, to skillet over medium heat, then reduce the heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture turns a nice medium brown, almost toffee colored. This will take about 20 minutes. Add a little water here and there if the mixture is sticking. Keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, or freeze it for it to last 6 months.
- Vegan: Swap out the butter for vegan butter or a neutral oil (like vegetable or avocado) and use 1 cup plant-based half and half or 1 cup pure coconut cream (the solid part of a can of coconut milk).
- Fenugreek leaves: Optional, but they really make this recipe taste more like restaurant-quality. You can find them online here or here.
- Caramelization: Do not skip caramelizing onions or tomato paste!
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.