This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
Savory, bold, and mildly spiced, this Cauliflower Tikka Masala is a flavor-packed recipe that your whole family will love. It's a pure comfort meal that is easy to make and it's budget-friendly too!
If you love spicy food that's comforting and loaded with veggies, then you're going to LOVE this Cauliflower Tikka Masala! It's a family favorite over here, so I added it to the Vegan Huggs dinner collection so you can enjoy it too!
You won't believe how easy it is to make either. If you've tried my Cauliflower Coconut Curry, the cooking method is very similar to that. The cauliflower is roasted for maximum flavor while the sauce is prepared and simmered to perfection. It's glorious!
Ingredients for Cauliflower Tikka Masala
(FULL AMOUNTS IN RECIPE CARD BELOW)
The ingredients are simple and easy to find at you local grocery store. You'll need: Cauliflower, Oil, Red Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Cumin, Turmeric, Smoked Paprika, Crushed Red Pepper, Garam Masala, Salt, Pepper, Tomato Purée, Agave Nectar, Coconut Milk, and Lime Juice.
How to make Cauliflower Tikka Masala
First, preheat your oven to 450° F (230° C) and set out a large baking sheet. Mix the spices for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
- STEP 1 - Drizzle the cauliflower florets with oil and season. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tender, tossing halfway.
- STEP 2 - Sauté onions in a large pan over medium heat until translucent and slightly golden.
- STEP 3 - Add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- STEP 4 - Stir in the combined spices and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- STEP 5 - Now add tomato puree, agave, and salt. Gently simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, stirring often. You want the purée to get really thick (see photo 5A).
- STEP 6 - Pour in coconut milk and gently simmer 2-4 minutes to thicken.
- STEP 7 - Stir in 1 tablespoon of lime juice and taste before you add more.
- STEP 8 (8A) - Now add roasted cauliflower and gently toss to combine well. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed, then remove from heat. Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.
Tips and Tricks
- Cut the cauliflower into similar-sized florets for even cooking.
- It's essential to cook down the tomato purée to yield a thick rich and full-bodied sauce. It also helps cut down the acidity.
- For extra spiciness, you can sauté a small serrano pepper (slice first) with the onions. Or you can add a few pinches of ground cayenne pepper or red chili powder with the spice mix.
- To make it less spicy, omit the crushed red pepper and reduce the cumin.
- If the sauce is too thick for your taste, you can add a few splashes of water or broth to thin it out. You can also add more coconut milk if you want it creamier.
- The coconut milk has a very subtle flavor and it balances well with the tomato base and spices. However, if you're very sensitive to its flavor, you can use lite canned coconut milk. The sauce will be a little thinner, but still delicious.
- For added protein, add a cup of chickpeas to the pan after the coconut milk.
Does it freeze well?
I haven't tried freezing it with the cauliflower, but the sauce freezes nicely for 2-3 months. You may need to add a splash of water or vegetable broth on the reheat to thin it out a little.
What can I serve with Cauliflower Tikka Masala?
- Cilantro or Basil
- Vegan Sour Cream
- Lime Juice
- Toasted nuts
- Bean sprouts
- Green Onion
- Hot Peppers
More cauliflower recipes to enjoy
- Cheesy Vegan Cauliflower Casserole
- Roasted Vegan Cauliflower Soup
- BBQ Cauliflower Wings
- Chili Cauliflower and Tofu
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU
If you make this Cauliflower Tikka Masala recipe, I’d love to hear what you think in the comment section below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Cauliflower Tikka Masala
Tikka Masala Sauce
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil , or preferred oil
- ½ medium red onion , finely diced (sub yellow onion)
- 3-4 cloves garlic , minced or crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger , grated (sub frozen or paste)
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika (sub with sweet)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 cups tomato purée (strained tomatoes)
- 2-3 teaspoons agave nectar (or any sweetener)
- ¾ teaspoon salt , more to taste (more for roasting)
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (shake can before pouring)
- 1-2 tablespoons lime , juiced (sub lemon)
For Serving (Optional)
- Rice (about 3 cups cooked)
- ½ cup cilantro , chopped
- For the cauliflower, preheat oven to 450° F (230° C). Place cauliflower florets on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with garam masala, salt, and pepper. Combine together with your hands. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Toss halfway.
- In a small bowl, combine the garam masala, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and crushed red pepper. Set aside.
- In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent and slightly golden. About 3-5 minutes.
- Turn heat down one notch. Now add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Now add the combined spices and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add tomato puree, agave, and salt. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat (if needed) to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring often to prevent sticking. You want the sauce to get very thick. Stir in coconut milk and lightly simmer 2-4 minutes to combine and thicken (don't boil - lower heat if needed). Stir in 1 tablespoon of lime juice and taste before you add more.
- Now add roasted cauliflower and gently toss to combine well (heat longer if needed). Taste for seasoning and add more if needed, then remove from heat. Top over rice and serve with naan, lime wedges, and cut cilantro if desired. Enjoy!