Enjoy authentic Indian flavors in this homemade healthy chickpea tikka masala. A perfect vegetarian dish for a weeknight meal or to serve at a party.
Have you ever tried tikka masala dishes in any Indian restaurant and wondered how they make it? Then you have come to the right place.
Here I am sharing with you our all-time favorite chickpea tikka masala recipe.
Usually, you will find paneer or chicken tikka masala in Indian restaurants. However, going out of the box, I make this recipe using chickpeas.
Because chickpeas are among some of the perfect options for making a protein-rich meatless dish, and you still get all the authentic flavors in this recipe. I am sure you won’t miss chicken or paneer (Indian cottage cheese) in this dish.
Let’s get started.
- Chickpeas – you will need cooked chickpeas to prepare this dish. You can either cook them at home or use canned chickpeas.
- Garlic and ginger – add raw ginger pieces and garlic cloves to the sauce. Use fresh garlic and ginger, it makes a lot of difference in the taste.
- Onion and tomato – cut onion and tomato into thick pieces to prepare the gravy base.
- Cashews – helps to thicken the sauce and make the dish creamy.
- Spices – tikka masala sauce is rich in spices, so you will need garam masala (a classic blend of Indian spices), ground coriander, and ground cumin to add flavors. Additionally, use some chili powder to add some heat and nice color to the final dish.
- Oil – Use your choice of cooking oil. I prefer using avocado or olive oil suitable for sauteing and grilling.
Find the full list of ingredients and quantity in the recipe card below.
- Raw almonds – Use whole almonds instead of cashews to thicken the sauce. Add some water and then boil/blanch them in the microwave for 3 mins. This helps to loosen the skin. Allow them to cool down, remove the skin and then use these peeled almonds instead of cashews in the recipe.
- Replace cashews – if you are allergic to nuts, use heavy whipping cream or whole milk to prepare the sauce base. Also, some readers have successfully made it with coconut milk.
- Broth – use chicken or vegetable broth to prepare the sauce instead of water.
- Use tofu/paneer – add grilled tofu/paneer tikka instead of roasted chickpeas.
- Chicken – follow this chicken tikka masala recipe to make this dish using chicken.
How To Make Restaurant-Style Chickpea Tikka Masala
This recipe involves two steps:
1. Making Roasted Chickpea Tikka
a. In a medium mixing bowl, add cooked chickpeas. Mix them with oil, finely minced fresh garlic and ginger, garam masala, chili powder, and lemon juice. Also, add salt to taste.
b. Bake these spiced chickpeas in a preheated oven to develop the roasted taste.
2. Preparing authentic tikka masala sauce
a. To prepare the sauce, cook onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, and raw cashews in oil. In the end, add ground cumin and ground coriander.
b. Blend this masala base with little water in a blender to a smooth puree.
c. Fry some chili powder in oil in the frying pan and add the prepared onion-tomato puree. If you do not want to use chili powder, skip this step and add puree directly to the pan.
d. Finally, add some garam masala and salt according to taste. Once the sauce is ready, add toasted chickpeas. Mix well and serve warm. Find detailed step-by-step instructions in the recipe card below.
- Serve it with simple wheat flatbread (Indian chapati), homemade naan bread, and/or plain white rice with sliced cucumbers and onion on the side for a wholesome meal.
- Add it to the party menu along with whole wheat naan, vegetarian biryani or chicken biryani, rice pulao, homemade mango lassi, etc.
- Do not use overcooked chickpeas in this recipe. Preferably cook chickpeas at home. Just soak them for a few hours and cook until tender yet firm. You can also use canned chickpeas–just make sure they are not too soft to break easily. I use my Instant Pot to cook raw chickpeas. It takes 5-6 minutes to cook if chickpeas are soaked and about 40 minutes otherwise (without soaking).
- Use fresh tomatoes to make the sauce. It gives a nice fresh taste to the dish.
- This dish is dairy-free or vegan. However, you can cheat and add a little heavy whipping cream at the end of cooking if you want to make the dish richer in taste.
Let the leftover tikka masala cool down completely, then store it in the air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Reheat the leftovers on the stovetop or in the microwave until steamy hot. Serve warm.
Yes, freeze the leftovers in freezer-friendly containers or bags for up to one month. However, I always prefer using it while it is fresh.
Deep red-colored tomatoes and chili powder give a rich orange color to this dish. You can also add a bit of concentrated tomato paste to enhance the color.
Yes, you can add some coconut milk to give a creamy texture to the sauce.
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments if you REALLY like this recipe. Thank You!
Vegetarian Chickpea Tikka Masala
For Chickpea Tikka
- 2 cup chickpeas cooked
- 2-3 garlic cloves finely minced
- ½″ ginger finely minced
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ tablespoon oil
- salt to taste
For Tikka Masala Sauce
- 1 small onion cut in 8 pieces
- 4 medium tomatoes cut in quarters
- 2-3 garlic whole cloves
- ½″ ginger peeled and cut into 2-3 pieces
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 teaspoon oil divided
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 cup water
- salt to taste
Roasted Chickpea Tikka
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a medium mixing bowl add and mix all the ingredients listed under Chickpea Tikka above. Spread it evenly on a nonstick baking tray.
- Bake the chickpeas in preheated oven for 10 min. Using a spatula stir them and again continue baking for 10 more min.
Tikka Masala Sauce
- Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large frying pan or skillet. Add whole garlic cloves, ginger, and onion. Cook the onion until translucent for 2-3 min.
- Then add tomatoes and raw cashews. Cook them until tomato softens and gives sauce like consistency for about 4-5 min.
- Now add cumin powder and coriander powder. Mix well and transfer this mixture to the blender jar, add 1 cup water and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Heat remaining oil in the frying pan on low heat. Add chili powder and cook it slightly until fragrant.
- Add blended tomato mixture and bring it to boil.
- Now add garam masala and salt to taste. Mix well and simmer (cover with lid) on low heat for 5 min.
- Finally, add roasted chickpeas, garnish with cilantro and serve warm.
- Use vegetable or chicken broth (or stock) instead of water to prepare the sauce.
- You can add a little more water if you do not want the sauce to be too thick for your liking.
- Use freshly ground roasted cumin and coriander seeds powder whenever possible. It really adds an amazing aroma and flavor to the dish. I usually roast around 1 teaspoon cumin and 2 teaspoon coriander seeds (for this recipe) together in a frying pan. And using a stone molcajete, I crush the roasted seeds into powder.
- For more useful tips, see the Helpful Tips section above.
Lady E says
Great recipe! I was looking for something to do with leftover chickpeas, and this recipe came up. It was perfect, and I had exactly the right amount of chickpeas! I will definitely be making this again. I loved how quickly I was able to make it, too.
I was happy to find a tikka masala recipe without cream or coconut milk in it. This turned out so rich and creamy and… heavenly really. Thank you so much for this recipe. It was easy and delicious, and I’m sure I’ll be making it again and again, maybe substituting other vegetables, like cauliflower and/or sweet potatoes, for the chickpeas sometimes.
The Tikka was super yummy and easy to cook!
Flavor of this dish was wonderful, I really liked it. The only problem I had was the texture of the chick peas. I soaked and cooked my own until firm and tender. The roasting gave kind of a starchy, dry, stale texture to the chickpeas. Not sure what I did wrong there. I think next time I will just sautee chickpeas with the spices and then add into the tikka sauce for soft, moist texture..
I would love to make this!!! However I have but allergies. What can I use instead of cashews? Is there a good substitute?
???? Thank you
This is really delicious and simple. Excellent served over rice. I made it with coconut milk instead of water due to Gareth’s comment and I highly recommend it.
Thank you for this recipe, was a hit with the kids and will be on a regular menu at our home. Can this recipes freeze well ?
Another alternative that turned out delicious, is adding some yogurt to the masala. It created a creamy texture and added a nice flavour. I highly recommend this addition. Oh, I also added a bit more cumin and garam masala because our family loves a punch of flavour in our food!
Loved this the first time I made it! Serving with some nice warm naan bread tops it off. I plan to make a double batch the next next time I make it so we have enough for leftovers. The first time I made it, I cooked the chickpeas in an instant pot. Wondering if I can skip this step by using canned chickpeas. If I use canned, do I need to cook them first? How would you recommend doing this?
Watch What U Eat says
I am glad that you loved the dish. You can use canned chickpeas instead of cooking chickpeas at home. As far as I know, canned chickpeas are precooked and you can just use them in the recipe without the need to cook them. I hope this helps.
Brent Gross says
The suggestion to roast my chickpeas in a blend of spices and oil added a lot to this dish. I added green bell peppers, crushed cashews and halved grape tomatoes, and the result was excellent.
June Vejar says
This recipe was absolutely delicious! You were right in saying that it was restaurant quality, that is exactly what my husband said. Can’t wait to make it again!
Texture was a little different than I was expecting, but really likes this recipe. Will make again.
Erin Perkins says
Are the cashews soaked before adding them to the recipe?
Watch What U Eat says
Hi Erin, There is no need to soak cashews for this recipe.
Hi, what substitute could I use instead of cashews? Could I use blanched almonds?
Watch What U Eat says
Yes, you can use blanched almonds. Also, you can add dairy cream if you prefer.
This was my first time making tikka masala and it was restaurant-quality good! I didn’t have all the ingredients so I made a few substitutions and it worked out fine!
· No lemon juice, used apple cider vinegar instead.
· I only had a little bit of onion, so I added some dried onion to the tomato mix and blended it in.
· I didn’t have cashews, so put the same amount of almonds in hot water and added them instead of the cashews. Turned out so good! Would add some extra veggies next time.
Had this tonight and it was a hit, the flavour was amazing. Although my family are not fans of chickpeas, I will try it again but with chicken.
I am making this for the first time, but mine doesn’t have that rich orange color of yoyrs or other tikka masalas I’ve had before. The flavor is good, might add a little more spice… But mine is more pink than what is typical. What am I missing???
I am making a double batch to freeze for food prepping for the school year. I really want to get this eight so I can make a lot of it for the future!
Watch What U Eat says
Bright red-colored tomatoes and chili powder bring out that color in the tikka masala. You can also add a little concentrated tomato paste while cooking onions and tomatoes to enhance the color.
I’ve made this twice now. It’s super good. Both times I’ve added some mushrooms and peas. The roasted chickpeas are amazing.
My family and i really enjoyed this recipe! I enjoyed making it, too. Simple and fluid recipe. I didnt have enough tomatoes so i used 2 tomatoes and a tbsp of ketchup and it turned out well. Served with brown rice. Definitely will make again, and im excited to try it with all tomatoes next time!
My husband and I quite enjoyed this! The chickpeas were so tasty and the sauce so delicious. We added some fresh basil as garnish, which added an unexpected complement. A new favorite for our house!
Sashi Sehgal says
This is a really tasty meal. The process of cooking the chickpeas twice is interesting and brings the flavour right out. Its a new family favourite. Thank you for this recipe, amazing!
Jodi Graham says
Mmmmm oh my gosh this looks delish! I love this kind of recipe, that’s so healthy and high in protein without meat! And this gives me a perfect excuse to use up the rest of my garam masala LOL!
I have had the chicken variety, but never chickpeas. It sounds like a excellent, meatless alternative and highly nutritious, too!
Tasty, but just missing something! Gonna try with coconut milk rather than water next time (and possibly some desiccated coconut) – and appreciate that this makes it more like a passanda!
Lori Anne Haskell says
I tried this with coconut milk instead of water and it was amazing that way.
I was going to recommend trying the same! I’d love to know if anyone tried with coconut milk because I think that would be a better liquid than the water!
Image Earth Travel says
Meghan & Melissa says
This looks great!