Cauliflower Tikka Masala

Last updated: June 5th, 2024

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This easy cauliflower masala recipe is a vegetarian version of chicken tikka masala you’ll want to make again and again. It’s smooth, creamy, and spicy – and cooks in about 30 minutes.

A bowl of homemade cauliflower tikka masala with basmati rice

Cauliflower tikka masala, traditionally called gobi masala, is an Indian dish that offers a vegetarian option of the popular chicken tikka masala. Much like chicken tikka masala, this cauliflower masala recipe is packed with spice and flavor. It’s a creamy and decadent dinner that goes perfectly with a side of steamed rice and naan – and you can make it in just 35 minutes.

Although it tastes super decadent, one of the best parts about this delicious saucy dish is that cauliflower is the main substance! Not only does this recipe help you get your daily serving of vegetables in, but you’ll leave the dinner table feeling satisfied and healthy.

Cauliflower Tikka Masala Recipe Ingredients

To make this vegetarian version of chicken tikka masala, you’ll need to grab some cauliflower florets, basmati rice, and a few ingredients to make the tikka masala sauce! Here’s everything you’ll need to make our cauliflower tikka masala recipe:

  • Vegetable oil
  • White or yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Kashmiri red chili powder
  • Powdered ginger
  • Garam masala
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Ground coriander
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Water
  • Heavy cream
  • Butter
  • Dried fenugreek leaves
  • Basmati rice
A spicy cauliflower tikka masala with basmati rice

In case you can’t find Kashmiri red chili powder at your local spice store, you can substitute with ground red cayenne pepper. It’s not quite as spicy, but it’ll do the trick! 

Similarly, substitute dried fenugreek leaves with fenugreek powder (use half as much as the recipe calls for), or skip this ingredient if you can’t find it. It’s a nice aromatic that brings some authentic flavor to this homemade tikka masala sauce, but not totally essential.

Heavy cream and butter are what make the masala sauce so smooth and creamy (and so delicious!). You won’t need special ingredients like coconut milk or yogurt to achieve this texture in your homemade cauliflower tikka masala.

How To Make Cauliflower Tikka Masala

You can prepare this easy vegetarian cauliflower tikka masala for dinner in about 35 minutes, with just 2 saucepots! Here’s how to make this delicious, spicy meal:

  1. First, steam the basmati rice in a small saucepan and keep warm until ready to serve.
  2. Next, heat the vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and sauté until the onions are slightly softened.
  3. Sprinkle the seasonings over the onions and garlic, stir to coat, and then add the crushed tomatoes, water, and cauliflower to the pot. Stir to combine and cover.
  4. Cook until the cauliflower is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Finally, remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream, butter, and fenugreek leaves. Serve hot with basmati rice and naan.

To make cooking this recipe as easy as possible, we recommend setting up your mise en place. This means having all your ingredients prepped and ready to go so they’re within reach when you need them! The most helpful thing you can do for this recipe is to measure and combine all the spices in a small bowl ahead of time, so you can easily sprinkle them over the onions and garlic all at once.

A bowl of cauliflower tikka masala with basmati rice and homemade naan on the side

Serving Suggestions

You can easily make a big batch of this vegetarian cauliflower masala for family dinner or even as meal prep for the week. It’s so delicious and really hits the spot when you’re craving something warm and comforting.

We always recommend serving a saucy Indian dish like this cauliflower masala with a side of steamed basmati rice and freshly made naan. This recipe for butter naan by Jennifer Pallian of Foodess has quickly become our new favorite – give it a try if you have a little extra time on your hands!

Storing & Reheating Leftovers

Store leftover cauliflower tikka masala in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can store the rice and cauliflower separately, or pack them together in portioned meal containers for meal prep.

To reheat, microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Vegetarian cauliflower tikka masala with rice and naan

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Cauliflower tikka masala is one of those go-to vegetarian dinners that hits the spot every. single. time. It’s spicy, it’s creamy, it’s tender, and it’s super comforting at the end of a long day. (Especially when you have some fluffy butter naan to scoop up all the extra sauce with!)

The best part is, you can make this recipe in about 35 minutes. Once you have the ingredients, dinner is only one episode of your favorite sitcom away! It’s a no-fuss, easy and delicious meal you can count on for busy weeknights no matter what.

Try our cauliflower tikka masala recipe and don’t forget to rate, comment, and share if you love it! We can’t wait to hear what you think.


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5 from 1 vote

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

This easy cauliflower masala recipe is a vegetarian version of chicken tikka masala you'll want to make again and again. It's smooth, creamy, and spicy – and cooks in about 30 minutes.
Servings 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water divided
  • 1 cup basmati rice dry
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ medium onion (yellow or white) diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 18 ounces cauliflower florets
  • 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • Naan bread optional side

Instructions

  • First, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the basmati rice, then cover and lower heat. Steam until all the water is absorbed and the rice is fluffy, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
  • In the meantime, heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add diced onion and garlic, season with a pinch of salt, and sauté until onions are slightly softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Combine the kashmiri red chili powder, powdered ginger, garam masala, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and ground coriander in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the cooked onions and garlic, then stir to combine.
  • Next, add the crushed tomatoes, remaining 1 cup of water, and cauliflower florets to the pot. Stir to combine, then cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Finally, remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream, butter, and fenugreek leaves. Serve immediately with steamed basmati rice and fresh naan.

Notes

Seasonings: If you can’t find Kashmiri red chili powder at your local spice store, you can substitute with ground red cayenne pepper. It’s not quite as spicy, but it’ll do the trick! Similarly, substitute dried fenugreek leaves with fenugreek powder (use half as much as the recipe calls for), or skip this ingredient if you can’t find it.
Mise en place: To make cooking this recipe as easy as possible, we recommend setting up your mise en place. This means having all your ingredients prepped and ready to go so they’re within reach when you need them! The most helpful thing you can do for this recipe is to measure and combine all the spices in a small bowl ahead of time, so you can easily sprinkle them over the onions and garlic all at once.
Serving suggestions: We always recommend serving a saucy Indian dish like this cauliflower masala with a side of freshly made naan. This recipe for butter naan by Jennifer Pallian of Foodess has quickly become our new favorite – give it a try if you have a little extra time on your hands!
Storing & reheating leftovers: Store leftover cauliflower tikka masala in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through.
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Author: Nicole & Alex
Calories: 455kcal
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: basmati rice, butter, cauliflower, coriander, crushed tomatoes, cumin, fenugreek, garam masala, garlic, ginger, heavy cream, kashmiri chili powder, meal prep, onion, paprika, restaurant style, takeout, turmeric, vegetable oil, vegetarian

Nutrition

Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 421mg | Potassium: 1205mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 2228IU | Vitamin C: 85mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 5mg

If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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