Cauliflower Tikka Masala

January 06 , 2018 by: Taylor Main Dishes

This recipe for Cauliflower Tikka Masala has been battle-tested – I’ve literally made it at least 20 times in the past few months. I first made this for my meal prep service and it was a hit; so, I decided to make it for the class that I teach at Savory Spice in Brookside. Then, so many people signed up, I ended up giving the class three times in one day! I had so much fun and I can’t wait for my class this month (which is going to be three different recipes with tofu – details coming soon). So suffice it to say, we’re starting 2018 off with a real winner!

Now I know the Cauliflower Tikka Masala has a lot of ingredients, but it’s SO worth it and it’s actually really easy. It just takes some time. First, you roast the cauliflower. Then you make the curry sauce which is basically just adding things to a pot bit by bit, layering flavors. Then you put it all together; add the roasted cauliflower and some chickpeas to the curry sauce and bam – delicious, rich, beautiful Cauliflower Tikka Masala for days.

If you want to quicken the recipe up a bit, instead of roasting the cauliflower, you can just add the cauliflower to the curry and let it cook while the sauce simmers away. Also, this recipe uses vegan butter (or coconut oil) and cashew cream, but if you aren’t vegan, you can just use regular butter and heavy whipping cream.

I am also sharing a super easy recipe for garlic naan in this post because curry with naan is perhaps my favorite combination ever. Typically naan is made with yeast and dairy (milk and/or yogurt) but in my recipe, I omit the dairy and use baking powder instead of yeast. So, my recipe has less ingredients and takes less time, since you don’t have to wait for the dough to rise. BUT, the naan are still soft and fluffy and delicious! Win-win!

I did a ton of recipe testing to get these naan right, and the two tips I have for you are:

  1. Don’t skip the kneading and
  2. Definitely add the garlic butter!

If you don’t knead the dough, it will be dense and crumbly instead of soft and fluffy; and the naan are still really good without the garlic butter, but with it, they’re irresistible!

Now if you don’t feel like making naan, totally fine – just serve it with rice or pick up some pre-made naan. I absolutely love these Stonefire Mini Naan! I get them from Costco but I’ve seen them in grocery stores as well.

Alright, on to the recipes, happy new year friends!

Cauliflower Tikka Masala with Garlic Naan
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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Category: Main Dish

Cuisine: Indian

Yield: 6 servings curry, 8 small naan bread

Cauliflower Tikka Masala with Garlic Naan

Rich, creamy, delicious - make this Cauliflower Tikka Masala for a delicious and healthy dinner any night of week! It's best served with this soft and fluffy, easy garlic naan bread- recipe below! (But rice is good too.)


  • 1 small or 1/2 large cauliflower, (1 1/2 lb) chopped into bite-size florets
  • 4 Tbsp neutral oil, divided
  • 2 tsp garam masala, divided
  • 2 tsp ground cumin, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeno*
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 15-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream** (or heavy whipping cream)
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed)
  • For serving - Rice, Naan Bread
    For the naan:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • scant 1/2 cup water
  • Melted vegan butter, optional
  • Minced garlic, optional


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Toss the cauliflower in 2 Tbsp of oil, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp ground cumin, and 1/2 tsp salt. Roast cauliflower for 25 minutes on bottom rack. Remove from oven and set aside. (If you are crunched for time, instead of roasting the cauliflower, you can just add the uncooked cauliflower when you add the tomatoes and water at the end of step 3 and cook the cauliflower in the sauce. I prefer it roasted, but it is delicious both ways.)
  • 2. In a large deep skillet or pot, heat 2 Tbsp oil on medium heat. Add onions and 1/2 tsp salt and sauté for 10-15 minutes until very soft and golden brown.
  • 3. Next, add the vegan butter, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño and cook for a minute or two until just aromatic, stirring constantly. Then add 1 tsp each cumin, garam masala, and turmeric and the tomato paste. Stirring constantly, cook for two more minutes, then add the tomatoes, water and 1 tsp salt. Give it a stir and bring to a simmer. Let simmer, stirring every few minutes, for 15 minutes.
  • 4. Taste the curry and add more salt to your liking. Next, add the cashew cream, roasted cauliflower, and chickpeas. Stir and cook for 5 more minutes just to heat the cauliflower and chickpeas through. I like to drizzle it with some more cashew cream at this point, then serve with rice, naan or both!
    For the naan:
  • 1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl and stir well. Add water and stir until a dough forms.
  • 2. Turn out onto an oiled surface. Dough will be sticky, resist adding flour. I recommend oiling the surface and your hands periodically and using a spatula to unstick the dough from the cutting board. Knead for 3-4 minutes until dough is smooth and bounces back to the touch. Divide dough into 8 equal parts, set on an oiled plate and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  • 3. Heat a skillet (I use a cast-iron) on medium heat. Prepare your melted butter to brush on the cooked naan now. To make garlic naan, add raw minced garlic to the melted butter and stir.
  • 4. Oil your hands and a clean surface and spread one ball of dough into a 1/4" thick oval with your fingers and transfer it to the hot pan. Let cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on one side and flip. Cook for 1 minute and remove from pan.
  • 5. Immediately brush with melted garlic butter, and start the next naan. Cook the rest of the naan. Enjoy with curry, soup, use as a wrap for a sandwich or just by themselves as a delicious snack!


* Use more jalapeño if you want it to be spicy, 1 tsp will be very mild.

** Do NOT use cashew milk, it's too watery. To make cashew cream, simply blend cashews and water in equal parts until completely smooth. I do 1 1/2 cups cashews and 1 1/2 cups of water. This will make more than you need. If you don't have a high-powered blender, you will need to soak the cashews for 6-8 hours to get a smooth cream.

*** If you have leftover naan, it's best to reheat them in the toaster (as opposed to the microwave)!



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