This easy veggie tikka masala recipe is a quick and easy Indian dish that yields a creamy and developed sauce, perfect for serving with naan, rice or pasta. It’s bold, with hints of ginger and curry, making it a comforting meal for any occasion. And with everything being done in less than 30 minutes, it is the perfect dinner for the family on the go!
What Is Tikka Masala?
Tikka masala is an authentic indian recipe where a spiced spiced curry sauce is typically served with pieces of marinated chicken in it. The creamy orange colored creamy sauce is flavored with a lot of spices originating in India, including garam masala, curry, turmeric and ginger.
The complex combination of spices and aromatics provides the signature flavor of the tomato and cream based sauce.
In this simple ingredient vegetarian version, we thicken the sauce by blending the tomato sauce, spices and cream with cauliflower. The cauliflower adds a slight sweetness to the dish and helps to make it a healthy instant pot dinner!
How To Make Veggie Tikka Masala In The Instant Pot:
This vegan tikka masala recipe pretty much can’t get any easier. Chicken tikka masala has the added step of marinating the chicken, but since we don’t use it, we save time!
We quickly sauté the aromatics on low to medium heat, then dump the rest of the ingredients in the instant pot and pressure cook! When its done, pour in the coconut milk and blend everything into a sauce.
Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full list of ingredients and instructions!
Lets Break It Down:
Serve this instant pot Indian recipe with rice, naan, pasta or quinoa!
What If I Get A Burning Sign On My Instant Pot?
Okay, so this happened to me one time and it is SO frustrating! It is a nice feature to be able to sauté in the instant pot to make it a one pot tikka masala, however, why have that option if it is going to tell me it is burning every time I try to pressure cook after?! (sorry, that was a rant).
To help prevent this from happening, make sure to not let anything burn onto the bottom of the pot when sauteing. If there is anything at all sticking to the bottom, add a few tbsp of water to the pot and scrape it off using a wooden spoon BEFORE you put the lid on to pressure cook.
If for some reason it still tells you it is burning when you try to pressure cook, press ‘cancel‘, and let the pot sit for longer than you normally would. While the pressure is coming down, it will continue to cook, and hopefully by the time you open the lid, the cauliflower will have cooked through. That is what I did, and it was totally fine!
How To Make Cauliflower Tikka Masala On The Stove Top
If you don’t have an instant pot, you can absolutely make this plant based masala on the stove top as well!
All you have to do is follow all of the instructions exactly, and instead of putting a pressure cooker lid on the pot, just place your regular pot lid on and allow it to simmer for around 25 minutes. You will want to stir it occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking.
Vegetable Tikka Masala In The Slow Cooker
You can also toss all of the ingredients into a slow cooker and slow cook for 4-6 hours, but note that the flavors will develop in a different way since we skip the sauteing process. Reserve the coconut milk and add it in at the end of cooking.
What To Serve Vegetarian Tikka Masala With:
As you can see from my photos, I served this Indian dinner with rice AND naan. Most tikka masala recipes are served with rice, but there are quite a few other options, so here are a few.
If you need an instant pot pressure cooker, this is the one that I use!
Frequently Asked Questions:
|How long does this take, start to finish?||The prep shouldn’t take you long at all, you just have to rough chop the garlic and ginger, get your spices and open a few cans/jars. The sautéing takes about 2 minutes. The actual pressure cooking time will depend on how quickly your pressure cooker comes up to pressure. For me, this took 10 minutes. So add 10 minutes to the 12 it takes to cook, and your looking at around 30 minutes for the entire process! Not bad!|
|What if I want to add tofu?||So I think tofu would be great with this dish, HOWEVER, you will need to add it at the end. The reason for this is, if you add it to the pot to cook with the sauce, you will have to manually remove each piece of tofu before blending the sauce, which would be quite the pain in the bum.|
|Tikka Masala usually has onion, why doesn’t yours?||The reason I omit onion in this recipe is because the cauliflower flavor is so strong that I found the onion to be obsolete when it came to the flavor of the dish. But if you want to add onion for the flavor or health benefits, just make that the first ingredient you sauté before adding the garlic and ginger.|
|Can I use frozen cauliflower?||You absolutely can! That is what I did, and it worked great! Fresh cauliflower is also totally acceptable. Not everyone has access to fresh ingredients, so I wanted to make it a frozen cauliflower recipe as well!|
|Can I add chicken?||You betcha! To make this a chicken tikka masala instant pot recipe, just toss the chicken in at the same time that you add the cauliflower, and increase the pressure cooking time to 20 minutes on high. Then, before you blend the cauliflower with the sauce, remove the chicken. You definitely don’t want blended chicken in the sauce!|
Leftovers And Freezing Tikka Masala
This makes a great meal prep recipe if you want!
More Vegetarian Recipes You Will Love
Did you make this cauliflower tikka masala recipe? It would mean so much to me if you would rate it below the recipe card and tag me in your creation on Instagram so I can admire your work! @RecipeHippie
Veggie Tikka Masala Recipe
- instant pot
- 1 12oz bag of frozen cauliflower or the equivelent in fresh cauliflower
- 1/2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp chili powder okay to omit if you don't like spicy food
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped (not too small, to prevent burning)
- 2 tbsp ginger, rough chopped (not too small, to prevent burning)
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 14oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 15oz can of coconut milk (I used un-sweetened)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
To Make In Instant Pot
- Begin by setting the instant pot to the 'sauté' option on low. Allow it to heat up, then add the coconut oil. Toss in your rough chopped garlic and ginger, and sauté for 60 seconds, stirring occasionally.
- Now add the tomato paste and spices, and cook for another 60 seconds, sirring frequently to prevent burning. (if any buring occurs, add a tbsp of water to the pot and scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the pot)
- Add to the pot the cauliflower and the tomato sauce. Stir to coat. Place the lid on the instant pot and lock it in place. Press the 'pressure cook' button, and set the timer to 12 minutes on HIGH pressure. Make sure the pressure valve is positioned to prevent air from escaping.
- When the pressure cooker is done cooking, allow it to sit for a few minute more (about 10 minutes) before releasing the pressure knob. Open the lid, and scoop out a few of the cauliflower (or just blend them all, its up to you!).
- Pour in the can of coconut milk, and using a hand blender, blend the ingredients together until a creamy sauce forms. Toss the cauliflower back to the pot, stir, and serve!
To Make On Stove Top
- Follow all of the instructions exactly, and instead of putting a pressure cooker lid on the pot, just place your regular pot lid on and allow it to simmer for around 25 minutes. You will want to stir it occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking. Add the coconut milk at the end, similar to the IP recipe.