Slow Cooker Potato & Chickpea Tikka Masala
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Potato and Chickpea Tikka Masala is a comforting vegan dish. Potato, chickpeas, green peas and bell peppers slow cook in a tomato-based sauce along with a warming spice mix. Blended cashews give the sauce a dreamy creamy texture. This vegan tikka masala is an easy, healthy meal that you’ll want to make again and again.
If you’re looking for other vegan dinner ideas, try my quick Sweet Potato & Chickpea Coconut Curry!
Slow cooker meals have seen me through some of the busiest times of my life. When my daughters were newborns, I would chop vegetables in the morning whenever I had a few minutes, then I would start the slow cooker around midday and forget about dinner until it was time to eat (seriously, a life saver at that stage!).
When I went back to school for nutrition and had to commute 45 minutes to campus each day, I would prep ingredients the night before and throw them in the slow cooker before leaving the house (see the “how to” below for this recipe). Slow cookers are the best.
This recipe was created thanks to my dear husband. For many years, I was a strict vegetarian, so he naturally started eating more vegetarian and vegan foods. Sadly, one item he will never like is tofu. I made a tofu tikka masala and he asked me never to make it again (not because the recipe wasn’t good, he just really hates tofu). So, I went on a mission to create a vegan tikka masala that he would like. This recipe is the result!
This vegan tikka masala checks all the boxes for healthy comfort food:
- Filling: the potato and chickpea combo will keep you full for hours!
- Veggies: I wanted a variety of colours and textures
- Protein: this tikka masala has an estimated 18g of protein per serving, so you’re well on your way to getting what you need in a day!
- Delicious: check!
For the spice blend, you’ll need
- Garam masala – you should be able to find this in your spice section, sometimes with specialty spice blends.
- Sugar – I include a small amount to balance the acidity of the tomato purée
- Cayenne pepper – optional, if you want to increase the spiciness. I leave this out when my kids will be eating it.
- Sea salt
For the tikka masala, you’ll need
- Coconut oil – if you’re sautéing the onion, garlic and ginger
- Grated ginger – or store-bought ginger paste to save time
- Potatoes – enough for 3 cups when they’re diced
- Chickpeas – one large can (about 19oz)
- Bell pepper
- Frozen green peas
- Tomato purée – also called strained crushed tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes will work, too.
- Fire-roasted tomatoes – one 14oz can
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice – to brighten the flavour after cooking
- Sea salt
1. Make the spice blend. Combine all spices in a small bowl and stir to combine.
2. Heat coconut oil in a small non-stick frying pan. Sauté the onion until it starts to become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and grated ginger and sauté another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Transfer the sautéed onion mixture to the slow cooker. This step is completely optional, but adds great depth of flavour if you have time to do it.
3. Add the potato, chickpeas, green peas, bell pepper, jalapeño, tomato purée, fire-roasted tomatoes and spice blend to the slow cooker. Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed, then set the slow cooker to cook on High for 4 hours.
4. While the tikka masala is slow cooking, place cashews in a bowl of water and set aside. A few minutes before the slow cooker is done, drain and rinse the cashews. Place the cashews in a high speed blender with 3/4 cup fresh water and blend until smooth and creamy.
5. Once the slow cooker is done, add the cashew cream and lemon juice and stir until well combined. If needed, add salt to taste. Serve immediately with basmati rice or naan.
Can I make this without cashews?
Yes, if you’d rather not use cashews or you don’t have a high-speed blender, you can use coconut milk instead. Add a 15oz can before slow cooking.
How to prepare it ahead of time
This slow cooker meal is perfect for weekdays if you prep the ingredients ahead of time. I loved this recipe when I was working outside the home. If the chopping and measuring are done the night before, you just need to dump everything in the slow cooker and you’re done! To save time on busy mornings, I skip the sautéing step.
The night before,
- Make the spice blend, cover and put aside.
- Prepare the onion, garlic, ginger, potatoes, bell pepper and jalapeño.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Measure out 1 cup of frozen green peas and 2 cups of tomato purée.
- Place the vegetables, chickpeas and green peas in a large freezer bag or large sealable storage container and top with the tomato purée. Place in the refrigerator. Be sure to put the diced potato on the bottom. Cut potato starts to darken when exposed to oxygen, so the goal is to keep the potato as air tight as possible. I’ve never had an issue with potatoes darkening when I store them this way overnight, but if you want to be extra safe, you can store the diced potato in a separate container, covered with water. You’ll have the extra step of draining the potatoes in the morning.
- Place the cashews in a glass or container and cover with water. Put in the refrigerator to soak.
- In the morning, dump the entire freezer bag into the slow cooker, add the canned fire-roasted tomatoes and spice blend. Leave the cashews in the refrigerator. Stir until ingredients are evenly distributed and cook as directed.
- When you get home, follow the final step of the recipe below (adding cashew cream and lemon juice).
Other vegan recipes you may enjoy
- Creamy Vegan One Pot Pasta
- Thai Pumpkin Curry
- Pasta with Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Sauce
- Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing
- Southwest Sweet Potato, Kale and Black Bean Skillet
Slow Cooker Potato & Chickpea Tikka Masala
For the spice blend
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
For the tikka masala
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional, if sautéing )
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated (I use store-bought paste to save time)
- 3 cups white or yellow potato, diced
- 2 cups tomato purée (Also called strained crushed tomatoes. Plain old crushed tomatoes work, too.)
- 1 19oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 14oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
- 3/4 cup cashews, soaked and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- Make the spice blend: Add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir until well combined. Set aside.
- Heat coconut oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Transfer mixture to the slow cooker.
- Add the potato, chickpeas, green peas, bell pepper, jalapeño, tomato purée, fire-roasted tomatoes and spice blend to the slow cooker. Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed, then set the slow cooker to cook on High for 4 hours.
- While the tikka masala is slow cooking, place cashews in a bowl of water and set aside. A few minutes before the slow cooker is done, drain and rinse the cashews. Place the cashews in a high speed blender with 3/4 cup fresh water and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Once the slow cooker is done, add the cashew cream and lemon juice and stir until well combined. If needed, add salt to taste. Serve immediately with basmati rice or naan.
- Sautéing the onion, garlic and ginger is an optional step. It adds great depth of flavour, but you can skip this step and still get a great result.
- The potatoes should be fully cooked after 4 hours, but if you like your potatoes on the softer side, you can increase the time up to 5 hours.
- If you don’t have a high-speed blender or would rather not use cashews, you can substitute a 15oz can of coconut milk for the cashew cream. Add the coconut milk before slow cooking.
- Store in the refrigerator and consume within 4 days, or freeze for up to 4 months.
- Nutrition estimate is only for the tikka masala (no rice or naan).
Recipe inspired by Tofu Tikka Masala at Yup..It’s Vegan.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a review below!
I’d love to hear from you!
Hey, I’m Laura!
Creator of The Recipe Well
If you’re looking for easy meals and Instant Pot recipes, you’re in the right place! I use my nutrition degree to create simple, approachable recipes that will help you find your happy place in the kitchen.
Will these portions fit in a 3 qt slow cooker or should the recipe be cut down?
Hi Joy, I use a 6-quart model and it’s more than half full with the recipe as written. I would halve the recipe to be sure it fits!
Yum! Yum! Yum! 🙂😋
Very good. The spices are incredible. Easy recipe
This was so yummy but it took much longer than 4 hours for me. It rooms around 8 hours on high.
Hi Gloria, so glad you enjoyed it, but it shouldn’t take that long to cook! What kind of slow cooker did you use?
We really enjoyed this! I opted for the coconut milk option rather than cashews, and subbed cubed butternut squash for the potatoes because I had some to use up before it went south. The base of this recipe will be a staple and I plan to try different veggies/protein additions in the future.
This is delicious and super easy. My whole family loved it and there’s enough for another meal. It’s going to be a regular in our household.
Amazing and easy dish – absolutely loved! Question – how big is the suggested serving exacty?
Hi Kelly, I tend not to measure or weigh my servings. When I make this for meal prep, I just divide the whole recipe by 6 and it’s a good meal-size amount!
A bit of chopping at the beginning, but this was easy and oh so good. I did what another person suggested, sauteed the spice mix with the onion. I also didn’t have a can of fire roasted tomatoes, just regular tomatoes – so I added a bit of chili paste to the crockpot. I like the amount of kick this has to it, not too hot and not too bland.
Made this on the stovetop tonight. Holy FLAVOR. I sautéed the onions, added mushrooms, then sautéed the garlic, ginger, and spices with the onions and mushrooms. After a minute or so of the spices being in I added everything else. Let it simmer for as long as it takes the potatoes to cook. It was outstanding!! This will be a regular.
Love hearing this, Sara! Thanks for leaving a review.
Would this work with sweet potato?
Yes, sweet potato will work! I would check for doneness at 3 hours instead of 4. I suspect they’ll cook faster than regular potatoes.
The only change I made was just as the sautéed veggies where dine I added the spice blend and gave it a good mix until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Then put that in the slow cooker. This releases all those wonderful flavors and is in keeping with how traditional Indian dishes are prepared.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Yes, it freezes well! Defrost in the fridge overnight or in the microwave, then reheat on the stovetop.
Made this today, and it was a hit! Made about a recipe and a half to feed our family. I couldn’t add the heat (jalapeno or cayenne) because of the kids, and just threw two cans of no-salt-added diced tomatoes into the blender in place of the tomato puree. Even the carnivore in the family had seconds. Cooked it on low for ~9 hours based on our schedule.
So glad it was a hit with your family!
Made this tonight. The whole family loved it! What a treat!
This is wonderful to hear! Thanks for leaving a review, Carlee!
Wish there was an instapot version of this
What a coincidence, I just told my husband I was going to adapt it for the Instant Pot. I’ll let you know when it’s ready!
Perfect. Looking forward to it
I’ve got it in the instant pot now!
This curry was so good! I made mine with coconut milk and the prep was quick and easy. I will definitely be making this again and sharing the recipe with my friends!!
Thrilled to hear you enjoyed it, Kathleen! Thanks for leaving a review!
Delicious meal! Our guests absolutely loved it. We will definitely be making it again.
Thrilled to hear this, Kiersten! Thanks for leaving a review!
I’ve never left a review on a recipe before, but I tried this out and it was one of the best things i’ve ever had! Definitely making it many more times!
Love hearing this, Jason! So happy you enjoyed it!
Are the nutritional facts for one serving or the whole recipe?
Hi Lindsey, the nutrition estimate is per serving (1/6th of the recipe).
Could I use peanuts instead of Cashews? I am allergic to Cashews.
Hi Stephanie, I think the peanut flavour would overpower the dish and may not be as creamy. If you’re able to have coconut, a can of coconut milk is a great sub for the cashew cream (see the note in the recipe card). Hope that helps!
If I’m using stove top and not slow cooker, how different are the cooking instructions?
Hi Vanessa, I haven’t made this on the stovetop so I can’t advise with exact details/timing. If I were to try it, I would sauté as in the second step, then simmer everything (covered) except the cashew cream and lemon juice until the potatoes are nicely cooked. Then I’d stir in the cream and lemon at the end to warm it up and let the flavours blend. You may also need to add a bit more liquid if you lose some to evaporation. Hope that helps! Let us know how it goes if you try it!
I LOVED this. I couldn’t shut up about it while eating — I was driving my husabnd crazy. It made for excellent leftovers. I will definitely put this in the regular rotation.
This made my day! So happy to hear you liked it, Rachel!
Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of a can? If so how much.
Hi there, if you’d like to replace the fire-roasted with fresh, you would use 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes.
I’m going to try this tomorrow!
Can I also add tofu, diced? If so, should I add it directly or later?
Lots of love
Hi Nadia, you can add tofu at the beginning and slow cook it with everything else. Hope you love it!
I love Indian food and this was great! Hit the spot on a rainy day!
So happy to hear this, Michelle! Thanks for leaving a review!
Hi Laura, Could I use cashew butter instead of the cashew cream? I have cashew butter on hand so it would cut out one step for me 🙂 … I want to make this tomorrow, along with some other Indian dishes…
Hi Ava, I don’t see why not! I would add the 3/4 cup of water before slow cooking so you end up with the same amount of liquid, then add about 1/4 cup cashew butter at the end. Add more cashew butter if needed, until you’re happy with the texture!
I am making this tomorrow along with your naan recipe! If I double this recipe, what do you recommend as the cook time in the crockpot? 6-8 hours instead of 4? Thank you!
Hi Claire, I haven’t tried doubling this one myself, but you should be fine with about 6 hours on high (as long as it all fits in your slow cooker, I used a 6 quart). You just want to make sure the potatoes are cooked until tender, so I would start testing for doneness around 5-5.5 hours. Let us know how it goes!
Thank you! Ended up just making one serving because my crockpot was too small for doubling the recipe. Making again tonight along with your delicious naan!
Excellent recipe, went straight into my tested keepers folder. Making it for my second time right now, also love that it is vegan! Thank you so much, I also used coconut milk instead of cashew and It was bang on!
Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review, Catherine. So glad you enjoy this recipe!
I made this last night and it was excellent. A really versatile recipe that can be easily adjusted, depending on the ingredients you have on hand. I will definitely make it again. Thank you!
So glad you enjoyed it, Leigh! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!