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.Jump to Recipe
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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
- Kashmiri red chili powder
- Powdered ginger
- Garam masala
- Ground coriander
- Cauliflower florets
- Crushed tomatoes
- Heavy cream
- Dried fenugreek leaves
- 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
- First, steam the basmati rice in a small saucepan and keep warm until ready to serve.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cook until the cauliflower is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- 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.
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.
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.
Love this recipe? You may enjoy these recipes, too:
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Rice Bowl
- Slow Cooker Tomato Soup
- One Pot Spinach & Artichoke Pasta
Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- 3 cups water divided
- 1 cup basmati rice dry
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ med onion (yellow or white) diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tbsp kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 tbsp powdered ginger
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 18 oz cauliflower florets
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
- Naan bread optional side
- 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.