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. vegetable broth
  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
  4. water

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.