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.