Skip to content

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

Cauliflower Tikka Masala
View Recipe

The following recipe and photography were provided by local blogger Carolyn Hodges of The Dinner Shift.

Cauliflower stands in for chicken in this plant-based version of classic tikka masala, and I promise it’s just as satisfying! This weeknight friendly recipe is ready in about 30 minutes and perfect for those nights when you’re craving something that delivers big flavor but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. While the cauliflower roasts, you’ll prepare a simple tomato curry sauce seasoned with lots of garlic and ginger and spices like garam masala and turmeric.

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

Don’t be intimidated by this ingredient list. The majority of items listed below are pantry and spice cabinet goods. To add a bit more plant-based protein and fiber, feel free to stir in a can of drained chickpeas with the green peas at the end.

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

Cauliflower Tikka Masala


  • 1 medium-to-large head of cauliflower, about 3 lbs.
  • ¼ cup Heinen’s avocado oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. garam masala, divided
  • 2 tsp. Heinen's ground cumin, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp. Heinen's turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. Heinen's cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 6 oz. can Heinen’s organic tomato paste
  • 1 14.5 oz. can Heinen’s organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup canned Thai Kitchen coconut cream, or 1 can Heinen’s full fat coconut milk (well-stirred)
  • 2 tsp. packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup Heinen's frozen peas
  • 1 14.5 oz. can Heinen's chickpeas, drained (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Heinen's cooked brown rice and/or Heinen's naan, warmed


  1. Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray or oil.
  2. Break the cauliflower into bite-size florets. Toss them with 2 Tbsp. of the oil, 1 tsp. of the garam masala, 1 tsp. of the ground cumin and salt, to taste. Arrange them in a single layer on the sheet pan. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until just tender.
  3. While the cauliflower roasts, prepare the tikka masala sauce. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic, ginger, remaining 2 Tbsp. of garam masala, remaining 1 tsp. of cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, coconut cream or milk and brown sugar. Stir until combined and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Check the sauce for seasoning and add salt if needed. For a richer sauce, add more coconut cream. Stir in the peas and chickpeas (if using). Fold in the roasted cauliflower and cilantro.
  7. Serve over brown rice.

Cauliflower Tikka Masala


Carolyn Hodges

By Carolyn Hodges

Carolyn is a mom of boys and culinary dietitian in Cleveland, Ohio. The Dinner Shift is dedicated to helping busy moms get dinner on the table after the weekday grind, however that is defined for you and yours.

Related Recipes & Stories