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This recipe is a vegan take on the always popular chicken tikka masala and uses cauliflower instead of chicken. Using red, yellow, or orange bell pepper rather than green gives the dish the desired color. Serve this lovely recipe with flatbread or rice to soak up the deliciously rich and creamy sauce.   Excerpt from The Essential Vegan Indian Cookbook by Priya Lakshminarayan, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2021 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Cauliflower Tikka Masala [Vegan]

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Cooking Time


Ingredients You Need for Cauliflower Tikka Masala [Vegan]

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 green chile peppers
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 3 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper (any color), coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (optional)

How to Prepare Cauliflower Tikka Masala [Vegan]

  1. In a pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Temper the mustard and cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the ginger paste, garlic paste, and green chile peppers. Sauté for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, and ⅓ cup of cilantro. Sauté for 5 minutes, then take the pan off the heat and allow to cool.
  3. When cool, transfer the ingredients to a food processor, add 1/2 cup of coconut milk, and process to a smooth paste. You can strain this sauce if you want.
  4. Fill a large pot with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and the turmeric, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set the cauliflower aside.
  5. In the pan used for cooking the onion, combine the sauce with the remaining 1 cup of coconut milk. Cover the pan and bring to a boil, about 6 minutes.
  6. Add the chili powder, coriander, ground cumin, garam masala, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Mix and sauté for 1 minute, then stir in the cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Mix in the kasuri methi (if using) and remaining ¼ cup of cilantro and remove from the heat.
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VariatIon tIp: Instead of cauliflower, you can prepare this same dish with any other vegetable.

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