Potato and Chickpea Tikka Masala is a comforting vegan dish to enjoy as the weather gets cooler. 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 Thai Pumpkin Curry!
Potato and Chickpea Tikka Masala
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! 😉
Ingredients in Potato and Chickpea Tikka Masala
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
How to make potato and chickpea tikka masala
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.
How to prep vegan tikka masala 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).
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.
- 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.