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Chickpea Tikka Masala

Chickpea Tikka Masala – Dinner is on with this flavorful & saucy Indian-inspired vegan tikka masala recipe! It’s lusciously creamy and easy to make right at home in one pan with simple ingredients!

top down view of a bowl filled with a serving of easy vegan chickpea tikka masala and rice in a bowl with spoon.

This curry dish is another great addition to the vegan Indian recipes here on TSV! I don’t have nearly enough of them yet, but here’s one more and I know you’re going to enjoy it!

Why We Love This Recipe!

  • It’s all about the sauce and spices here, you’ll love how incredibly saucy and flavorful it is!
  • This chickpea tikka masala comes together in under an hour, which most of the time it’s just simmering away on the stove while you relax.
  • It’s a perfect comfort food served with rice, cilantro lime rice, quinoa or with a side of vegan naan bread.
  • You can easily customize it by adding cauliflower florets, diced sweet potatoes and/or carrots for an even heartier, veggie packed meal.

Recipe adapted from Deb of Smitten Kitchen.

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

top down view of ingredients needed to make healthy chickpea tikka masala.

Ingredient Notes

In this recipe, we’ll make a delicious tomato curry sauce with chickpeas for a warm and comforting Indian Chickpea Curry.

Here’s everything you will need, including ideas on substituting ingredients:

  • Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Use 2 cans or 3 cups fresh cooked.
  • Tomato. Use canned diced tomatoes for ease, or 4 – 5 ripe tomatoes, diced. If you don’t care for chunks of tomato, use 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes.
  • Onion. The original recipe calls for 2 onions, but I found 1 large onion a little more favorable. Use 2 if you prefer.
  • Garlic. Feel free to adjust the garlic to your taste.
  • Ginger. Fresh minced or grated ginger adds a nice zing.
  • Cumin Seeds. You can pick up a package of whole cumin seeds for a reasonable price in the Mexican section of your local grocery store, or you can find them bottled in the general spice section.
  • Garam Masala. Literally means warm spices, and is a blend of Indian spices such as coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, and cloves. It’s a wonderful blend that gives the dish so much flavor.
  • Turmeric. This yellow aromatic spice adds another layer of flavor.
  • Cayenne. Adjust the amount to your liking. I think 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne is a safe amount, but if you love heat use up to 1 teaspoon.
  • Coconut Milk. Full or low-fat.
  • Tomato Paste. 
  • Oil. I’ve used light flavored olive oil, but coconut oil or your favorite oil will work. To make this oil-free, simply use 1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth when sauteeing.
  • Salt. My favorite salt of all time is this Himalayan pink salt which contains essential minerals and trace elements that other salts don’t offer.
top down view showing the process of making chickpea tikka masala.

How To Make Chickpea Tikka Masala

Prepping the onions, ginger, and garlic is the hardest part, the rest is easy, requiring stirring occasionally and then a nice simmer.

Here’s a simplified rundown of the steps involved (note – the full printable recipe instructions are at the bottom of the post):

  • Saute the onions and cumin seeds in oil or water/broth, until onions are browned around the edges.
  • Toss in the ginger and garlic, cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the spices and cook until nice and fragrant.
  • Pour in the tomatoes and cook until they breakdown a bit, about 4 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste, chickpeas and coconut milk, simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes.

And now you’re ready to serve with a grain of choice!

Tips For The Best Tikka Masala Sauce

  • Don’t rush it. For the most intense and delicious sauce you’ll want to really let the onions cook down bringing out the sweetness.
  • Simmer, don’t boil. Make sure to simmer the masala over low heat to avoid the coconut milk from curdling.
  • Save the leftovers. Leftover chickpea tikka masala tastes phenomenal the next day because the spices have more to develop overnight.

top down view of a pot full of freshly made vegan chickpea tikka masala.

How To Store Leftovers

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container.
  • Freezer: Chickpea Tikka Masala freezes well for up to 2 – 3 months! My favorite way to freeze soup is in these freezer safe meal prep containers. You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags.
  • Reheat: Simply re-warm on the stovetop or the microwave. It makes a great meal prep for the week with homemade Vegan Naan on the side for swiping up the juices.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a grain such as basmati rice, cilantro lime rice, brown rice or quinoa.
  • Pair with a side of vegan naan.
  • Add fresh toppings like sliced tomatoes and fresh chopped cilantro.
top down view of a bowl filled with a serving of easy vegan chickpea tikka masala and rice in a bowl with spoon.

More Easy Recipes!

Let me know if you make this chickpea tikka masala recipe! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



Dinner is on with this flavorful Indian inspired Chickpea Tikka Masala recipe! It’s lusciously creamy and easy to make right at home in one pan with simple ingredients!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop, Simmer
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Indian


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 1/4 cup water/broth
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 34 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander, optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 heaping teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/21 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon mineral salt
  • 2 cans (14oz) diced tomatoes, with juices (or 4 tomatoes chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans (14oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15oz.) coconut milk (full or low fat – cream is ok too)

To Serve

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • grain of choice (rice, quinoa, couscous)
  • homemade vegan naan


In a large pot, heat oil or water over medium heat, add onions and cumin seeds, cook for 5 – 7 minute, until onions are browned around the edges. Add the ginger and garlic, cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the garam masala, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne  and cook for 1 – 2 two minutes, or until nice and fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes, until they breakdown a bit. Add tomato paste, chickpeas and coconut milk, stir to combine and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve with rice, cilantro lime rice, quinoa, couscous, or pair with vegan naan.

Serves 6


Optional add-ins: For a veggie filled meal add in one or more of the following with the chickpeas.

  • 1 sweet potato, diced into 1/4 – 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup sliced carrots

How To Store

  • Refrigerator: Store in covered containers for 5 – 6 days..
  • Freezer: Store in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months. I like storing in these freezer safe meal prep containers. You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags.
  • Reheat: Re-warm on the stovetop or the microwave.

Recipe adapted from Deb of Smitten Kitchen.

Keywords: chickpea tikki masala, vegan tikka masala recipe, creamy tomato curry sauce

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  1. Love this recipe!!! I’ve made it twice now. Added sweet potato and had it over roasted cauliflower. So good!!!

  2. I have cooked this recipe many times, and I love it. I did not add the cumin seeds, but it is delicious! With some Nan bread and dinner is served!

  3. Vali Williams says:

    Absolutely amazing! My husband and I have been on our vegan journey for a little over a year now, this recipe is so delicious and super filling! Definitely a great go to, quick week night dinner that the kids LOVE!

  4. Delicious!! I made homemade naan with this and it was the perfect meal

  5. I left off the cilantro. Even my picky eater loves it!

  6. Shirley Boock says:

    I have always wanted to try tikka masala. I’m mostly vegan and my kids are because of that. They didn’t even miss the meat! This was so good. I want to share it with everyone. Even with 1/2 tsp cayenne it was not spicy. I made the vegan naan in my bread maker using the dough feature and served with cilantro, fresh tomato halves like your pic and jasmine rice. Next time I will add sweet potato because the family loves that!

  7. This is delicious, I added the sweet potato, my vegan family ate it up and asked me to make more. Thank you for
    The recipe.

  8. Bobby Jones says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe, it looks great! Just a minor thing, but no need to call it “Naan Bread” since Naan basically already means bread. You can just call it Naan.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Thank you for the feedback, Bobby! Enjoy the masala!

      1. Lynley Simmonz says:

        This is a winner. Very tasty and quick to make. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Love the spice combo. I made this with carrots, cauliflower, and a red pepper and I used Hunts canned fire roasted diced tomatoes. My fiancé said I could make this for him anytime. Yummy!

    1. Jennifer Feliu says:

      I absolutely love the recipe! I didn’t use coconut milk because it’s added saturated fat. I hope to use another recipe soon.

      1. What did you use in place of coconut milk. I too can’t use this because of the fat content. Thank you, I really want to try this.

  10. I love this! I used unsweetened almond milk instead of coconut milk. I also added some additional curry powder. It is amazing and I am so thankful for your recipe. This may become a weekly dish:)

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