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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, and most of the time, it simmers 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. For ease, use canned diced tomatoes or 4 – 5 ripe tomatoes diced. If you don’t care for chunks of tomato, use a 28-oz. can of 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 meaning warm spices – it’s a blend of Indian spices such as coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, and cloves. This wonderful blend 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 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 as can be!

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, and 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, and 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. To avoid the coconut milk from curdling, make sure to simmer the masala over low heat.
  • 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 can be stored for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator 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 freshly 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 Dinner 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.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 53 reviews

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.

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  1. Very good! Added more of the indian seasoning and added cinnamon and it was top notch!

  2. Tried this, it was delicious! It tasted similar to an etouffee. My only issue was I added sweet potatoes and carrots which the recipe suggested. Delicious Recipe!!

  3. Our family thought this was very good! Thanks for posting the recipe

  4. This was sooooo good! I used 9 Roma tomatoes instead of the cans, and added sweet potatoes when I added the chickpeas

  5. Made this as called for (pureed my own tomatoes) and it was amazing!!!!! Sooo good.

  6. I added lemon juice and a bit of Stevia to balance the “salt, sour, spicy, sweet” rule! WOW, this is awesome! Thank you 🥰

  7. I made this the other night, it was so easy and tasted wonderful!

  8. Such a nice recipe! It tastes so good 🥰

  9. I’ve been making this recipe for a couple of years now! I absolutely love it. It’s so flavorful and filling. It also holds up well frozen. I portion and bag leftovers into ziploc bags and pop them into the freezer. I love aromatic smells that fill my kitchen. I pair this with jasmine rice and sometimes vegan naan when my local grocery store has it.

  10. Delicious! Just made this for dinner tonight & it was fabulous. Thank you Julie. Xoxo.

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