Instant Pot Cauliflower and Chickpea Tikka Masala with Coconut Rice (vegan)

A vegan spin on tikka masala made with tender cauliflower, hearty chickpeas and sweet and creamy coconut milk!  This cozy recipe uses mostly pantry items that you likely have on hand.  It is a ridiculously easy and flavorful meal that comes together quickly.  Everything goes into the Instant Pot and out comes the most incredible sweet, spicy and savory Indian stew-like concoction that is begging to be poured over sweet and creamy coconut rice.

This dairy-free and healthier tikka masala dish is my new weeknight dinner bestie.  When time is short and I want a cozy, filling and nutritious meal quickly, I go for recipes that use mostly pantry ingredients, require little chopping/hands on time and don’t take long to cook.  This instant pot vegan tikka masala hits all that criteria and more!  It also happens to be infused with big flavor from the spice blend and loaded with plant-based protein and veggies.  Plus, it is gluten-free and nut-free making it allergy-friendly and something that most everyone can enjoy.

This dish is sweet, spicy, savory, cozy and super filling.  It really has it all going on.  Plus, it is impressive on any table and very nutritious.

Let’s Talk About the Instant Pot Vegan Tikka Masala

Most tikka masala recipes contain meat and dairy.  This vegan version is still filling with the addition of chickpeas and cauliflower.  It gets its creaminess from full fat coconut-milk instead of heavy cream and whole milk yogurt.  And I promise you won’t miss it at all!  Coconut milk is one of those miracle foods for all us dairy-free folks.  I always have a couple cans in my pantry.

Here is all you need to make it:

  1. olive oil
  2. onion
  3. garlic
  4. canned or jarred crushed tomatoes
  5. coconut milk
  6. water
  7. lots of yummy spices!
  8. garbanzo beans
  9. cauliflower

Most of these items are pantry staples so all you will really need to shop for is fresh cauliflower.

What are the health benefits of cauliflower?

Cauliflower is a powerhouse vegetable that is low in calories while offering dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid.  This recipe is a delicious way to get more cauliflower into your diet without it feeling like a chore.  Here, I used a head of white cauliflower but you could swap it for orange cauliflower, purple cauliflower or even romanesco.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Tikka Masala

Let’s Talk About the Instant Pot Coconut Rice

Ooooomigosh.  I’m beyond obsessed with this easy side dish.  I typically make a double batch to have on hand for meals like this.  It completely transforms boring white rice into the most creamy, sweet and fluffy magical rice you will ever taste.  I don’t know that I will ever cook rice another way!  Seriously.  I could eat this stuff plain by the spoonful.

It couldn’t be easier to make too.  The only ingredients you need are:

  1. full fat coconut milk
  2. white basmati rice
  3. salt

Everything goes directly into the Instant Pot and out comes the most incredible rice to ever touch your lips.  Dramatic? Yes.  True? Also, yes.

I discovered this coconut rice recipe from my friend Laney (thank you, Laney!) from Life is but a Dish.  If you are looking for stovetop directions you can find that in her blog post.  I included the Instant Pot coconut rice recipe below.

So while this coconut rice part of the tikka masala recipe is certainly not required, I highly recommend making it.  It is the perfect bed to sop up all the flavors and juices from your tikka masala.  You will definitely not regret it.  And it makes the dish even more filling.  It also makes the dish more creamy and sweet to offset the strong spices in the tikka masala.

Want more Instant Pot recipes in your life?

Try these vegan and gluten-free pressure cooker recipes (both savory and sweet):

  1. Chickpea Bolognese Spaghetti Squash
  2. Mushroom Risotto
  3. Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup
  4. Acorn Squash Breakfast Bowls
  5. Mashed Potatoes
  6. Easy Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowls
  7. Easy Butternut Squash Soup
  8. Refined Sugar-Free Apple Butter (No-Peel)
  9. Sweet Potato Casserole with Crumble Topping
  10. Homemade Pumpkin Puree
  11. Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers
  12. Toddler & Kid-Approved Creamy Carrot Soup
  13. Whipped Sweet Potatoes
  14. Lemon Olive Oil & Dill Potato Salad (No Mayo)

Now, Let’s Make This Instant Pot Vegan Tikka Masala with Coconut Rice!

I’ve been making this recipe weekly and no one seems to be complaining in our household.  It is cozy, comforting and full of so much amazing flavor.  I cannot wait for you give this vegan tikka masala a try!

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Cauliflower and Chickpea Tikka Masala

Instant Pot Cauliflower and Chickpea Tikka Masala with Coconut Rice


  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 50
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

A vegan spin on tikka masala made with tender cauliflower, hearty chickpeas and sweet and creamy coconut milk!  This cozy recipe uses mostly pantry items that you likely have on hand.  It is a ridiculously easy and flavorful meal that comes together quickly.  Everything goes into the Instant Pot and out comes the most incredible sweet, spicy and savory Indian stew-like concoction that is begging to be poured over sweet and creamy coconut rice.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Coconut Rice

  • 1 cup white basmati rice, rinsed well
  • 1, 13.5 ounce can full-fat coconut milk, room temperature, shaken well
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

For the Cauliflower Chickpea Tikka Masala

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1, 18 oz jar (or can) crushed tomatoes
  • 1, 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1, 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 head cauliflower, stem and leaves removed and cut into florets, then chopped

Garnish

  • fresh cilantro (large stems removed)
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

For the coconut rice (make in advance if possible):

  1. Add the rice, coconut milk and salt to the bottom of the Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Close lid and make sure the vent is on sealing. Press the rice function and cook for 12 minutes. Let naturally release for 5 minutes.  Press ‘OFF’ and release any remaining pressure.  Open lid and fluff with a fork.  Remove the coconut rice from the Instant Pot and set aside in a bowl.  Clean and dry the Instant Pot for the tikka masala.

For the tikka masala:

  1. Hit the “saute” button and add olive oil or coconut oil. Once hot, add in onion, garlic and all of the spices. Stir for 2 minutes until the onions begin to soften and the spices are very fragrant.
  2. Add in crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, water, garbanzo beans and chopped cauliflower florets and stir.
  3. Press the “off/cancel/keep warm” button. Lock the lid and turn the vent to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes, then manually release the pressure.
  4. Hit “cancel/keep warm” and let it sit until ready to serve. Serve over coconut rice with cilantro and lime wedges for garnish.

Notes

I recommend making the coconut rice in advance and having on hand for this meal.  I typically make a double batch.

A big thank you to Laney from Life is but a Dish and Mary from Mary’s Whole Life for the inspiration behind this recipe.

  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: dairy-free tikka masala

The tikka masala recipe is inspired by and adapted from my friend, Mary of Mary’s Whole Life.  You can check out her original recipe with chicken here.  Her recipe is Whole30 compliant.

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12 Comments

  1. Shawna

    This turned out delicious! We aren’t vegan but enjoyed this thoroughly.

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      Thank you so much for letting me know! I’m so glad you loved it 🙂

      Reply
  2. Trudi

    Can you make this without an insta pot?

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      Yes. The Instant Pot just keeps it fast and hands off. But you could do everything in the stovetop and stop cooking it when the cauliflower is fork tender. You could also make the coconut rice on the stovetop. Here is how: Add all the coconut rice ingredients to a small saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn heat the low, cover and cook for 15 min. Turn off burner and keep covered for 10 min. Fluff with a fork and serve.

      Reply
  3. Jenn

    This was excellent! I made the rice in a rice cooker and put the malasa in the instant pot. I am adding this one to my favorite list. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      Thank you so much for letting me know, Jenn! Smart to divide the dish into two appliances :). This is one of my favorites as well for an easy weeknight comforting meal. So glad you enjoyed. Thank you again! Best, Elaine

      Reply
  4. Jennifer Perez

    Could you use dry chickpeas with the recipe?

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      You would have to cook the dry chickpeas in advance if you want to follow the instructions. Otherwise you would have to cook the recipe for much longer and adjust the liquid. I have not tested this so I do not recommend. Also, it would overcook the cauliflower. I hope this helps – good luck!

      Reply
  5. Donna

    We made this with a gorgeous head of cauliflower from the farm stand. It was delish!! Will make it again for sure!

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      OMG sounds amazing – I love farmer’s market produce – nothing better! Glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe… it is a family favorite over here for sure 🙂

      Reply
  6. PHL

    I don’t have coconut milk, but I do have heavy cream. Can I use that?

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      Hm, I’m honestly not sure as I have never substituted heavy cream for full-fat canned coconut milk. I’m sure it will help with the creaminess but the flavor will be slightly different. I think it is worth a shot! If you give it a try please let me know how it turns out for you.

      Reply

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