January 24, 2019

Easy Slow Cooker Vegan Tikka Masala

If you love Indian food, then you've gotta try this slow cooker tikka masala recipe.
Serves 4-6

Slow Cooker Vegan Tikka Masala! This slow cooker meal is SO good and perfect for healthy weeknight dinners. If you love Indian food, then you’ll love this simple chickpea tikka masala.

Raise your hand if you love tikka masala as much as I do. We get take-out about once a week, and 95% of the time, I want Indian food. It’s comforting, fairly healthy and always hits the spot. While I love the flavorful tikka masala sauce, it’s also hard to find a vegan version when we order take-out so I’ve taken to make my own.

If you can throw things in a slow cooker, then you can make this vegan tikka masala. If dinner had an easy button, this recipe would be it. Combine all ingredients and add them to the base of your slow cooker, stir and set. Can you believe how easy this is? Make a pot of steamed rice and warm some naan right before serving and ta-da; you’ve got a healthy, delicious dinner that rivals any take-out. 

vegan chickpea slow cooker tikka masala close up

Can I make this slow cooker tikka masala on the stove? 

If you want this tikka masala now and don’t want to wait on the slow-cooker, then it’s easy to adapt to the stove. To do this, simply saute the onion, garlic, and ginger until softened and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in all of the spices and cook another minute or two to allow the spices to warm and bloom; doing this adds lots of flavor using dried spices. 

Add in the rest of the ingredients from there, tomato sauce, chickpeas, cubed tofu and cook until warmed through, about 20 minutes. Before serving, whisk together the coconut milk mixture and add into the pot. Cook until thickened, another 5-10 minutes. Enjoy just like you would the slow cooker version, with steamed rice and naan. 

vegan chickpea slow cooker tikka masala served on rice

Time for vegan tikka masala!

I don’t have too much to tell you about this recipe other than it’s a.) deliciously bomb and b.) made in a slow-cooker and c.) indian food! We all love Indian food and that makes me so incredibly happy.

You all love my slow cooker butter chickpeas, coconut curry, saag paneer, biryani, vegan korma and chana masala. So I did it again for you! Chickpeas and tofu into a warm and comforting tikka masala sauce. It’s like a giant hug in food form, something it seems we could all use a little more of.

Serve it with naan and rice and dinner is served. Enjoy! xo

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slow cooker vegan chickpea tikka masala

Slow Cooker Vegan Tikka Masala

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: slow cooker, indian, healthy
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: Indian Inspired, Vegan, American, Gluten-Free

Description

Slow Cooker Vegan Tikka Masala! This slow cooker meal is SO good and perfect for healthy weeknight dinners. If you love Indian food, then you’ll love this simple chickpea tikka masala. Chickpeas and tofu in a fragrant tomato-coconut sauce.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: slow cooker, indian, healthy
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: Indian Inspired, Vegan, American, Gluten-Free
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: slow cooker, indian, healthy
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: Indian Inspired, Vegan, American, Gluten-Free
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14 oz) package firm tofu, drained and pressed and cubed
  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 large lemon, juiced
  • Cooked rice, for serving

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease the inside of your slow cooker with a bit of olive oil or spray and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients from onion to salt together until well-combined.
  3. Place the tofu and chickpeas in the base of the slow cooker and pour the sauce ontop. Gently mix together until everything is combined, making sure the tofu and chickpeas are well coated.
  4. Place the bay leaf on top and cover, cooking for 4 hours on high (or 8 hours on low)
  5. When done, in a small bowl combine the coconut milk, cornstarch and gently stir into the mixture. Cook for an additional 20-30 minutes until thickened. (I use this time to cook the rice/naan!)
  6. Add in the lemon juice and stir once more before serving. I love this on steamed rice, some naan and maybe a little extra chopped cilantro!

Notes

This makes 4 large servings or 6 normal servings, especially if you are serving with rice and naan. But! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, and the leftovers are so good for lunch.

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If you love this vegan tikka masala, then you’ll love these other vegan Indian recipes: Slow Cooker Butter Chickpeas, Slow Cooker Vegan Saag Paneer, Weeknight Vegetable Korma, Vegan Indian Biryani, and Indian Dal Chili

 

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

55 comments
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    1. Gurpreet
      January 3, 2022 AT 11:26 am

      Been cooking punjabi dishes for a long time and after my brother switched to a vegan diet, i struggled finding alternative recipes. This one is awesome!! I made a couple changes… i used a little more onion and garlic and only 8 oz tomato sauce + 1 chopped fresh tomato. I also added 2 cans of trader joes reduced fat coconut milk instead of 1. During a taste test i wanted to make it sweeter so i added a spoon of sugar. Its perfect! Will be making this many times. Thanks so much for putting the recipe together!

    2. Sandra
      December 19, 2021 AT 6:07 pm

      Beyond delicious. Your spicing combinations are so wonderful. Everything that I make from your website is so fantastic and I am a really bad cook usually! Thanks

    3. Emma S
      May 25, 2021 AT 1:35 pm

      This recipe is amazing! I make it almost every week and the leftovers are a great easy lunch. I make it exactly as written and it comes out perfect every time. Even non-vegetarian folks love it! 🙂

    4. Lynea
      January 28, 2021 AT 8:55 am

      I found your article about freezer meals. Your recipes look great but I don’t see instructions of how to make them a freezer meal. I’m new to meal prepping for the freezer. Any advice?

      1. Alex
        January 31, 2021 AT 7:17 am

        Hi Lynea,

        Thanks for the note! For most recipes, I prepare them as directed and then freeze. Before serving, I thaw overnight and then reheat on the stove. The only exception to this is casseroles, I tend to prep but then freeze before cooking and then cook from frozen.

    5. Theresa
      January 25, 2021 AT 1:31 pm

      I made this for lunch today. Delicious! The only minor changes I made were to pulse extra firm tofu in the food processor instead of cubing firm tofu. This adds a nice texture and the kids don’t notice that it’s tofu. I also used tomato puree as I didn’t have tomato sauce. I will be making this again! It is wonderful. Thank you so much for the recipe.

      1. Alex
        January 25, 2021 AT 1:37 pm

        Glad to hear, thanks Theresa!

    6. eileen
      January 18, 2021 AT 5:43 am

      Love reading your recipe
      I wanted to know what substitute can be for the coconut , I cook for someone who has some health issues and that has to much saturated fat to use
      Thank You for any suggestions
      Eileen

      1. Alex
        January 18, 2021 AT 7:42 am

        You can substitute light coconut milk or a oat milk/soy milk– it won’t be as creamy, but should still work. I’ve also seen recipes where they thin almond butter with water in curry– I haven’t tried it, but that may work as a low saturated fat option.

    7. Karen Friend
      January 17, 2021 AT 3:05 pm

      I haven’t made this yet but it is on the menu for this week!! Do I need to make any adjustments if I add brussel sprouts and cauliflower?

      1. Alex
        January 18, 2021 AT 7:41 am

        Hi Karen– shouldn’t need any adjustments, but will depend on how much you add. You may need to increase the sauce to be able to cover the sprouts and cauliflower.

    8. Sharon
      December 15, 2020 AT 4:53 pm

      We love this recipe! With vegetarian and dairy free requirements, I’m always looking out for things to make! Glad I found this! I actually double the tofu (and the tomato sauce) to increase the protein. I also use low fat coconut milk. Still great!

      1. Alex
        December 16, 2020 AT 1:23 pm

        So glad you like it!

    9. anum
      April 3, 2020 AT 8:36 am

      Ok, this recipe is amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to comment on a recipe before, maybe I’ve rated a couple, but I need to speak out about this one. Totally legit, coming from a Pakistani girl with decades of south asian eating experience. I substituted cheese for the tofu (no paneer to be found by me but manchego works). Love the flavors, was doubting the amount of spices but everything was on point. This is going on permanent rotation.

    10. Melissa
      April 2, 2020 AT 1:45 pm

      HI Alex!

      Maybe I’m missing it but how do you recommend to prepare the tofu before putting it into the slow cooker? Should we dice it ahead of time or put the whole block as is into the slow cooker?

      1. Alex
        December 16, 2020 AT 1:24 pm

        Hi Melissa! Sorry for the confusion– dice and place in the slow cooker.