Drowning in a creamy and fragrant sauce, this Chickpea Tikka Masala is easy to make on the stove or in the Instant Pot. Serve it with rice and naan for a comforting Indian-inspired meal.
Saucy, fragrant, and delicious, Chickpea Tikka Malasa is the ultimate comfort food. It’s a one-pot recipe that can easily be made on the stove or in the Instant Pot. Throw it together and in minutes you have a warming and comforting plant based meal!
This easy vegan chickpea tikka masala is made with pantry staples, like coconut milk, tomato sauce, canned chickpeas, onion, ginger, and garlic. Make sure you aren’t skipping out on the spices! Garam masala and a handful of other Indian spices infuse rich flavor into each bowl, though I’m sure this recipe is far from authentic.
You can easily customize this meal by adding in more veggies or serving it with rice or quinoa on the side. Better yet, it freezes well and makes for healthy lunches throughout the week! Don’t forget a few pieces of my soft vegan naan on the side to make this meal complete.
What is chickpea tikka masala?
Chickpea tikka masala includes easy canned chickpeas in a warming curry sauce made from ginger, coconut milk, spices, and tomatoes. Traditional tikka masala is made with meat or vegetables and a cream-based sauce. Both vegan and non-vegan recipes are creamy, a little smokey, and full of Indian spices.
How to make chickpea masala on the stove
Start by sautéing the onion, ginger, and garlic together in a large pan.
Next, add in the spices, salt, tomato sauce, coconut milk, and chickpeas. Give it a good stir to bring it all together.
Let the mix simmer on the stove while you stir it frequently. Spoon the finished tikka masala over rice and serve with naan on the side.
Instant Pot option
Saute the onion, ginger, and garlic on Saute mode in the Instant Pot.
When they’re soft and fragrant, turn the Instant Pot off and add in the rest of the ingredients. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally.
A saucy tikka masala is best spooned over a bowl of white rice, brown rice, quinoa, or coconut rice. Cook up 4 or 5 cups to go with this serving size.
Serve each bowl with 1 or 2 pieces of fresh vegan naan on the side. It’s more fun to eat with than a fork! Sprinkle some cilantro, parsley or chopped green onions on top and you’re ready to dig in.
Helpful tips and substitutions
- The longer you let it simmer, the better it will taste. Leave the batch to simmer on the stove for at least 15 minutes to let the spices and flavors get to know each other.
- If you don’t like chickpeas, make my Vegan Tikka Masala with tofu or replace them with cauliflower florets instead.
- Make this meal a little more hearty by adding in diced sweet potatoes, carrots, or zucchini.
- Don’t have garam masala? Leave it out or substitute it with yellow curry powder. The flavor won’t be quite the same though.
How to store, freeze, and reheat chickpea tikka masala
Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They also freeze very nicely for 2 or 3 months!
When it’s time to reheat, heat the leftovers in a pot on the stove until they’re warmed through. If you’ve packed it for a healthy lunch, just reheat each portion for a few minutes in the microwave.
More Indian-inspired vegan recipes
Chickpea Tikka Masala
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 14 ounce can tomato sauce
- 13.5 ounce can full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup water, as needed to thin the sauce
- (2) 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4-5 cups cooked white or brown rice
- Vegan Naan
- chopped cilantro, parsley or green onions
- In a large pan, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 more minute.
- Now add the spices, salt, tomato sauce, coconut milk and drained/rinsed chickpeas. Stir until smooth and combined, then simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Taste; add more salt or spices as desired. Serve immediately over rice with Vegan Naan and enjoy!
To make it in the Instant Pot
- Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes in the IP using the sauté feature, then add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Turn off the IP. Add the rest of the ingredients and give it a good stir. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes or longer. Release any remaining pressure, open the lid, stir and serve over rice.
- Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, so it’s perfect for meal prep! You can also freeze chickpea tikka masala.
- Consider adding some vegetables to the dish, such as sliced zucchini, chopped and peeled sweet potatoes, cauliflower florets or carrot rounds. Spinach or kale would also be good thrown in.
- Nutrition information does not include added rice.
This recipe is outstanding! The flavor is incredible and it is so easy to make. Thanks Nora!
You are welcome, Kim! Thanks for sharing your fabulous feedback and review!
Another drool-worthy, easy Nora Cooks recipe! We have to limit saturated fat in our house, so I made this with organic, unsweetened soymilk instead of coconut milk. It was very creamy and delicious without the coconut milk. The house smells amazing when cooking this dish! Added 1 tblsp of fresh lemon juice when it was finished cooking.
Hi Kate. Thank you for sharing your most wonderful feedback and review! I’m thrilled that you loved the recipe! I agree, the house smells wonderful when cooking this recipe!
I make this once a month! I make Butter Chicken for my family to go along with the chickpeas! Lots of Balsamic rice of course! Thank you for always sharing your delicious recipes !
You are so welcome, Margit! I love sharing my recipes! I’m thrilled that you and your family are enjoying them! It’s so great that you make the masala on a regular basis! Thanks for your wonderful feedback and review!
Nora, I haven’t actually made this but I’ve made sooo many of your recipes. This website is my go-to for any meal or dessert ideas. I just have to say that you have helped my boyfriend and I stay healthy vegans who can truly say they love the food they eat!
Hi Alyse. I am so happy to hear that you and your boyfriend are loving my recipes! Thank you for sharing your fantastic feedback, and for using my site! Enjoy the Tikka Masala!
What can be used as a substitute for coconut milk? Whipped silken tofu? Thanks and I can’t wait to try this!
Hi Tammy. You can use 1 1/2 cups of non-dairy milk if you don’t want to use coconut milk. Happy cooking!
I’m wondering about using garam masala that contains some of the same spices that are in the ingredients list. Do I use garam masala AND more of the same spices found in it?
Yes, exactly. You need both the garam masala and the other warm spices to achieve a well-balanced, warm flavor profile.
You are amazing! Thank you so much. I have made this a few times as written (wow)…this time I added mushrooms, carrots with 1 can of chickpeas…with cashew cream on the side. Fantastic. YOU ARE VERY APPRECIATED…and doing very important work. I can’t wait to try the chickpea meatloaf. Thanks again!
Your words of appreciation are so valued! Thank you or sharing your wonderful feedback! I am so glad you are enjoying my recipes!
Does this taste like coconut?
The spices infuse rich flavor into the sauce, resulting in more of a rich, deep, and spicy flavor.
This was my first time making an Indian dish!! (This girl grew up on meatloaf and potatoes – so fun to find new flavors!). I followed this recipe to a T, came out perfectly spiced and textured.
Served it with your delicious naan bread!
Thanks for making something seemingly exotic materialize so simply.
You are so welcome, Emily! (hi again) I’m so glad you loved the flavor of the tikka masala. I also love these wonderful and rich flavors! I appreciate you sharing your wonderful review and comments!
Thank you for another great recipe! This turned out fantastic. I added a tsp of cornstarch to thicken it up, and served over rice. The spices were spot on! We will definitely make this again.
I’m so glad you loved it! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and comments
This was my first time finding you online. The chickpea tikka masala was an absolute hit with my entire family, which is extremely unusual to find something that everyone enjoys. Thank you so much! We will definitely be making this again soon.
I’m so glad the masala was a hit with your whole family! Welcome to my site! Let me know if you have questions about any of my recipes! Happy cooking!
Delicious!!! Family loved this dish. The rest are my meat eaters, so when ever we try one of your dishes and they like it, it is a win.
I’m so glad the recipe was a hit with your family! Thank you for using my recipes, and for sharing your wonderful review and comments!
This was delicous! But is there any way to turn down the spicyness?
If you add less cayenne pepper or omit it altogether, that will make it less spicy. Glad you enjoyed it, thanks!
Just made it and ate it. Excuse my French, but holy dayum! This recipe makes a dish every bit as delicious as my favorite *veg Indian restaurant in the Bay Area!
I substituted light coconut milk, but that is the only substitution I made. I didn’t have to add any extra salt or spices. The flavor is deep, rich, and spicy!
I’m so thrilled you loved the masala! It is one of my favorites, for sure! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful review and comments!
A keeper for sure! Excellent recipe and was enjoyed by all. Did not sub anything and followed the stovetop method. Served with choice of scallions and/or cilantro to finish as well as cayenne pepper to add ‘heat’ if they wished. Served over basmati rice. Sadly I did not make the naan.
Thanks for posting and keep the recipes coming – not my first Nora recipe and won’t be my last. Saved the Aquafaba to try your “new favorite brownie” as my current favorite recipe can be found here https://www.noracooks.com/vegan-brownies-recipe ?
Thanks for taking time to share your great review! I appreciate your kind words, and am glad you are loving my recipes! Happy cooking!
This is by far one of my favorite recipes. It is delicious and so easy to make! The combination of spices is perfect.
Amazing recipe. Honestly the best Indian dish I’ve made at home. Thanks so much.
Thank you, Jamie!
I made this recipe a few nights ago and it was delectable!!! I added spinach & kale. Hmmm mmmmm!
And, I just want to let you know that I just purchased your new e-book. I’m delighted to do it! You are SO generous with these fantastic recipes. Purchasing your ebooks is the very least I could do!!!
Thank you so much Marji, that means so much to me. I hope you enjoy the book! I’m so happy you enjoyed the chickpea tikka masala.
I also added spinach. Incredible!
So glad you enjoyed it, thank you!
Wonderful! Is “tomato sauce” tomato purée? Or is it passata?
Hi there! Tomato sauce is thinner than tomato purée. Tomato puree has a thicker consistency and a deeper flavour than sauce. Tomato puree is essentially the cooked version of tomato passata. I hope this helps.
So this recipe showed up in my email this morning and I immediately knew it was for dinner. I had all the ingredients on hand. This was simply amazing! Rich, developed flavors and creamy goodness in a bowl. Nora really does know her way around the vegan kitchen. I followed the recipe as it is and when I served it, I added a squeeze of fresh lime to go along with the the fresh cilantro. What a wonderful meal on this cold, rainy evening. Thanks, Nora! This will definitely go into my regular rotation. Hands down, a truly wonderful, simple, flavorful dish.
Thank you, McKay, for taking your time to leave your fantastic review! It means a lot to me. I am so glad you loved the tikka masala1. Thank you for using my recipes, and happy cooking!
Oh Nora, if I ever meet you I’m going to give you big fat kiss in the cheek (with your permission, of course). Whenever I haven’t planned something for dinner or am feeling uninspired I type in an ingredient I’d like to use and always come away with the best fare. And almost always have the proper ingredients (or easily subbed ingredients) on hand. That’s another beauty of your recipes, they are so darn accessible. Thanks for another grand slam!❤️
Hi Jessica! Your feedback is absolutely wonderful and makes me so happy! I strive to share delicious, easy recipes with accessible ingredients! I am so glad you are enjoying my recipes! Thank you for using them, and for taking time to share your fantastic review and comments!
Nora, Nora, Nora ……. YOU have done it again!!! Absolutely AMAZING !
Chickpea Tikka Masala……BOOM ! (insert mike drop here)
Thanks again. I made your Mushroom Bourguignon & Best Dang Vegan Mashed Potatoes several weeks ago and my husband Scott is still talking about that meal!
– Kind Regards, Chad & Scott
Greetings Chad & Scott! Thank you for you wonderful and fun review! I’m glad you both love the tikka masala! Thank you for using my recipes. It is trilling to me that you love them! Happy cooking!
As always, simply delicious, Nora! Love all of your recipes! Thank you for all that you do!
Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words. 🙂
This looks so good. I will definitely be making it. I noticed that you did not include the nutritional information, and was wondering if you will be adding it to your post. I really appreciate that you add nutrition info to your recipes. Thanks!
Yes, I will be updating that soon. The online tool I use was down and I wanted to get it out, but as soon as I can I will enter in the info. Thank you!
Thank you, Nora. I made it this weekend. I will be enjoying it over brown rice for my lunches this week! 🙂