Made with a rich tomato base and flavorful garam masala, this incredibly easy Chickpea Tikka Masala will quickly become a family staple!
We love chickpeas in our house. They are hearty, protein-packed and make for quick, weeknight dinners. We love Crispy Oven Roasted Chickpeas. Vegan Chickpea "Tuna" Salad is a staple in our house. For some spicy, our Favorite Buffalo Chickpea Salad is a must. And we especially love Easy Chickpea Tikka Masala! Made with mostly pantry-staple ingredients, it's a flavorful, quick and easy recipe that our entire family enjoys. We love to pair this dish with some homemade Indian flatbread or some creamy coconut rice.
Ingredient You Need for Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala
This recipe relies mostly on pantry-friendly ingredients, making it great for those nights when you have no fresh groceries in the house.
To make this recipe, you'll need the following ingredients:
- Garam masala, organic if possible!
- Tomato sauce
- Crushed tomatoes
- Full-fat coconut milk
- Lemon juice
What is Tikka Masala?
If you hear "tikka masala" you'll almost always hear the word "chicken" before it.
Chicken tikka masala is a popular Indian dish where chicken is simmered in a flavorful curry sauce.
The chicken for this dish is marinated in yogurt beforehand in order to tenderize the meat. To season the sauce, the yogurt is usually mixed with spices like garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and coriander and when added to the sauce, these spices provide the bulk of the flavor.
Tomatoes make up the base of the curry sauce and lastly, fresh cream and cilantro are stirred in towards the end to add richness and extra flavor.
It really is one of the most amazing dishes you'll ever taste!
But of course, since this is a plant-based food blog, there is no chicken involved in my seitan tikka masala recipe or this chickpea tikka masala.
While I love making my seitan tikka masala for more special occasions where I want to wow my friends with meat-like goodness, I've been wanting to create a simplified recipe for a chickpea-based tikka masala.
This chickpea tikka masala couldn't be easier or more delicious and it's all thanks to garam masala!
What is garam masala?
So, what is garam masala?
If you've never heard of or used garam masala you need to jump in your car and drive to the closest indian market and pick some up ASAP. (Or you can just hop on-line and order some).
It's that good.
Garam masala may actually be my favorite spice. While not every garam masala is the same, it often contains some combination or variation of the following spices: cumin, coriander, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.
While "garam" means hot, not all garam masala is spicy. I personally love when my garam masala provides a kick, but you can always try out a few different brands to find one which provides the level of spiciness you desire.
Like I said, garam masala is the star of this recipe. While I cut out quite a few of the ingredients and steps used to make traditional chicken tikka masala, this chickpea tikka masala is just as delicious and flavorful.
Since this recipe is meat-free, there is no need to marinate any meat in yogurt. This allowed me to swap out the yogurt for full-fat coconut milk, which I simply stir in at the end along with a squeeze of lemon juice which adds a nice tangy flavor.
Unsweetened yogurt would also be incredible, but in trying to make a quick and easy version of tikka masala, I opted for what most people already have on hand: coconut milk and lemon juice!
I really hope this chickpea version of tikka masala seems doable to you and that you give it a try.
We are in love with the flavor of this dish and I couldn't be happier with how easy it is to make and how few ingredients it requires.
If you do give this recipe a try, please leave a comment down below letting me know your thoughts! If you enjoy it, please leave a star rating and be sure to share it with others!
How to Store Leftover Chickpea Tikka Masala
Chickpea tikka masala is one of those dishes that tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge.
If you have any leftovers of this dish, simply place them in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
You can also freeze the extras by placing them in an airtight container or freezer-safe zip-lock bag and storing them in the freezer for up to 2 months.
More Vegan Indian Dishes
I don't have a ton of authentic indian dishes on my blog (yet!), but I do have enough to help you make a full-on Indian inspired meal!
If you want a more meaty tikka masala, be sure to check out my Seitan Tikka Masala...it's amazing!
Then on the side you can impress your friends with some traditional Indian flatbread called Chapati.
Lastly, pair your dessert with some dairy-free chai!
Get all the recipes below!
Easy Chickpea Tikka Masala Recipe
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 cup tomato sauce 8 oz.
- 14 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 28 ounces chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
- juice of ½ lemon + more to taste
- ½-1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Large handful of cilantro minced + more for garnish
- In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in a little water or oil until soft.
- Add in the garam masala and stir well, cooking 1-2 more minutes or until the garam masala is fragrant and the onions and garlic are coated with the spices.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the temperature to a simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer until thickened and heated through, about 10 minutes.
- Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir in the cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Serve over rice with more cilantro and fresh lemon wedges.