Vegan Cauliflower Tikka Masala

By: Julia Huston

Serves: 6

Time: 1 hour

Tikka Masala is a delicious Indian curry dish that is typically made with chicken, lamb, or fish, in a thick spiced sauce. I’m here to let you all know that it’s wonderful with cauliflower as well! The sauce is typically loaded with cream and heavy oils, so here is a recipe that uses pureed vegetables as the primary base for the sauce. Indian spices can be highly beneficial to the body. They have long been known for their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties; for example garam masala contains cloves and cumin which both help to boost digestion (NDTV Food 2019). Cinnamon is another great spice with many benefits; it is full of powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols, and it can also lower blood sugar levels (Leech 2018). This recipe is best served with a side of jasmine rice or naan bread. Enjoy!


  • 1 medium cauliflower 
  • 1 cup diced sweet white onion
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, skin removed and minced
  • 1 green jalapeno
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 3 medium tomatoes 
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro 
  • ¾ cup full fat coconut milk 
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish 
  • Jasmine rice to serve with (optional)
  • Naan to serve with (optional)
  • Spices:
    • ¾ tsp garam masala
    • ½ tsp coriander
    • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • ½ tsp salt


Step 1 — Roast Cauliflower

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Cut your cauliflower head into bite size pieces
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the cauliflower
  4. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
  5. Bake for 20 min or until golden brown (After 10 minutes, take the cauliflower out and stir it around with a spatula to ensure even cooking). 

Step 2 — Make the Sauce

  1. In a blender, add the tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, and coconut milk and blend on high speed for about 30 seconds until completely smooth. Set aside. 
  2. In a large non-stick pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. 
  3. Add the mustard seeds and let them fry for 1 minute. They will start to sizzle and pop.
  4. Add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Stir continuously to avoid browning. 
  5. Remove pan from heat and transfer all of the contents from the pan to the blender with the sauce mixture. Blend again until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  6. Pour the sauce mixture from the blender into a dutch oven and heat on medium-low for five minutes. The sauce should be at a low simmer.
  7. Add in the cauliflower and cook for another fifteen minutes. 
  8. Serve over jasmine rice if preferred and top with fresh cilantro!

Reference List:

“Garam Masala Benefits: 5 Reasons The Indian Spice Mix Is Healthy For You.” NDTV Food, 28 Oct. 2019,

Leech, Joe. “10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Cinnamon.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 5 July 2018,

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