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Cauliflower Tikka Masala - Easy Vegan Curry served in a small kadai with a spoon in it

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

Cauliflower Tikka Masala is a creamy vegan gravy recipe made with cauliflower and Indian spices. This vegetable tikka masala is a budget-friendly comfort meal that can be made in 30 minutes. 
Course entree, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 363.01kcal



To make the masala paste

  • 2 red bell pepper roughly chopped
  • 2 tomatoes roughly chopped
  • cup cilantro chopped
  • ½ tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 3 green chilies or 1 jalapeno
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 13.5 oz coconut milk

To parboil cauliflower

To prepare the curry


To make the masala paste

  • Add roughly chopped red bell pepper, tomatoes, and cilantro to the blender. Blitz to make a smooth puree.
  • In a pan, heat oil. Temper mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they crackle, add minced garlic, ginger paste, and green chilies. Saute for 2 minutes. Then add the chopped onions. Continue to saute till the onions turn translucent. Take the pan off the flame and allow it to cool.
  • Transfer this onion mixture to the same blender and blend it to a puree.
  • Add half the can of coconut milk while blending. Once done, keep this masala base aside for now.

To parboil cauliflower

  • Add water in a pan, along with turmeric and salt. Once it comes to a boil, add the cauliflower florets. Let it cook for 8-10 minutes or till the cauliflower turns soft.
  • Drain and keep the parboiled cauliflower florets aside for now.

To prepare the curry

  • Heat oil in the same pan, and add green peas. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the prepared masala base to the pan and bring it to a boil. Add water or stock to adjust the consistency. This could take 6-7 minutes.
  • Then you can add the tikka masala spices like coriander-cumin powder, garam masala, paprika, turmeric powder, sugar and salt. Give it a mix so that the dry spices get mixed into the gravy. Cook for another minute.
  • Lastly, add the parboiled cauliflower florets and the remaining coconut milk. Cover the pan and cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes. Once the florets are fully cooked, garnish with chopped cilantro and crushed Kasuri methi.
  • Squeeze lemon juice on top if you like. This veggie cauliflower tikka masala recipe serves best with steamed rice. It also tastes good with any flatbread, bhakri, tortillas, mashed potatoes, creamed polenta, alternate grains like quinoa, or even cauliflower rice.


For a more earthy flavor, you can fry/air-fry/grill the cauliflower and then add it to the gravy. The cooked cauliflower needs to hold its shape. Cook only till that point. If overcooked, it will get mushy and mash easily - and the dish will lose the crunch. Plus it will change the texture of the gravy and make it soggy.
If you consume dairy, swap coconut milk with cream or whole milk. Coconut milk can also be substituted with cashew cream. However, the flavors will change a tad bit. Garnish with toasted cashews or peanuts for that extra crunch. 
Frozen cauliflower florets can also be used in this recipe. In that case, skip the parboiling part and directly proceed with the recipe. Use paneer/tofu or other veggies such as broccoli/pumpkin/sweet potato/butternut squash/zucchini and make your own vegetable tikka masala.
You can also throw in some beans, chickpeas, or lentils for a more hearty meal. Use any curry powder you have in absence of the tikka masala spices mentioned here. 
This can also be made in an Instant Pot. This curry refrigerates well for 4-5 days. You can also freeze this as a complete meal or just prepare and freeze the masala. You can then toss in the cauliflower in real-time. 


Calories: 363.01kcal | Carbohydrates: 31.01g | Protein: 9.25g | Fat: 25.49g | Saturated Fat: 18.72g | Sodium: 183.3mg | Potassium: 1132.34mg | Fiber: 9.27g | Sugar: 12.09g | Vitamin A: 3058.28IU | Vitamin C: 178.22mg | Calcium: 100.19mg | Iron: 6.8mg