Crispy tofu is slathered in a spiced tomato sauce to make this comforting Vegan Tofu Tikka Masala. This Indian-inspired meal is so easy to throw together, completely versatile, and incredibly delicious!
Not quite Butter Chicken or a Vegan Curry, this Vegan Tofu Tikka Masala fits into its own tasty category and features crispy fried tofu dressed in a richly spiced and creamy tomato sauce. It all comes together easily in one pan using simple ingredients. The Indian-inspired flavors are sure to warm you all over and are a real crowd pleaser!
Enjoy this tofu tikka masala for dinner tonight! Not only is it delicious, but it’s also:
- Saucy, comforting, and full of Indian spices.
- Naturally gluten free and dairy free.
- Perfectly paired with rice and vegan naan.
- Really easy to customize. Make it with tofu, vegan chicken, chickpeas, or cauliflower!
- Made in one pot with easy to find ingredients.
- Way better and cheaper than takeout!
If you’re loving the Indian flavors in this super simple dish, then you’re sure to love my Indian Mulligatawny Soup as well!
Tofu tikka masala ingredients
- Tofu - Crispy pan-fried tofu is the meat substitute in this recipe. Coating the cubes of extra firm tofu in oil and cornstarch is my go-to method for making golden brown and crunchy tofu.
- Vegetables - A simple mix of onions, garlic, ginger, and green chilies are sauteed and then blended to make the vegan tikka masala sauce.
- Tomato sauce - To use as the base of the sauce.
- Coconut milk - This adds creaminess to the finished sauced and helps balance out the flavors.
- Seasonings - A blend of garam masala, cumin, coriander, chili powder, turmeric, cayenne, and cinnamon make this vegan tikka masala taste just like the authentic version!
How to make vegan tikka masala
I love this vegan tikka masala recipe because it all comes together in one pan. All you have to do is pan fry the tofu, make the sauce, and enjoy the two together with some rice! The steps are so simple:
- This recipe moves fast so prep and chop all of your sauce ingredients and mix the spices in a bowl first.
- Slice the pressed tofu into cubes and place them in a ziploc bag with the oil. Seal and shake until the cubes are coated. Add the cornstarch, salt, and pepper to the bag and shake again to coat.
- Heat some oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add the tofu. Cook undisturbed until it starts to develop a crispy golden brown crust. Repeat until all sides are golden brown then remove and set aside.
- To make the vegan tikka masala sauce, add the vegan butter, onions, and some salt and pepper to the same pan. Next, add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Transfer the onions, garlic, and ginger to a blender and blend with the tomato sauce and green chilies.
- Pour the tomato-onion sauce into the pan and stir in the spices, cilantro, sugar, and coconut milk. Let it simmer on low heat until it thickens.
- When the tikka sauce is ready, season with salt and pepper to taste and add in the tofu. Once it’s warm, scoop it into bowls with basmati rice and enjoy! For full ingredients and instructions see printable recipe card below
Tips for success
- Make sure you use pressed extra firm tofu or else the tofu will have too much moisture and won’t crisp up.
- To press tofu, slice the brick lengthwise into 2-3 slabs depending on the thickness. Wrap them in paper towels and gently squeeze out the excess moisture with your hands.
- You can easily make this with more or less tofu if you like. You’ll likely have to fry it in two batches to achieve a crispy exterior.
- For more of a chewy chicken-like texture, use tofu that’s been frozen and thawed.
- If you don’t have coconut milk, substitute it with cashew cream or dairy free milk. I recommend recipe as written though!
- For the most intense flavors, make the tikka masala one day ahead of time. This will give all of the spices and ingredients time to mingle together and taste even more delicious!
- Cauliflower tikka masala: Break up a medium head of cauliflower and place the florets in a bowl. Toss with a drizzle of oil, then ½ teaspoon each garam masala, salt, and curry powder. Spread the cauliflower florets on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 425°F for 25-30 minutes. Add to the tikka sauce and serve.
- Chickpea tikka masala: Add 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas to the sauce. Heat through and serve.
- Vegan chicken tikka masala: This tikka masala sauce is also wonderful with soy curls, storebought vegan chicken, or homemade vegan chicken!
Frequently asked questions
Tikka masala is more intensely spiced, has a tomato base, and is less creamy than butter chicken. Both are mouth-watering Indian dishes but have their differences!
Scoop portions of vegan tikka masala into bowls with basmati rice, quinoa, or another grain you love. Top it with fresh cilantro and serve garlic naan bread or roti on the side.
Keep the leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can freeze the tikka masala sauce on its own or with the tofu if you’d like. Keep the batch in an airtight container or sealed freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Hungry for more vegan meals made with tofu?
Enjoy everyone! Happy Day! Please feel free to comment below and give this recipe a rating. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!Print