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Healthy Potato Tikka Masala Recipe (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

This potato tikka masala is everything you want in a cozy weeknight meal. It’s healthy, flavorful, and comes together in under an hour. Whether you’re following a gluten-free or vegan diet, or you just want to try something new, this recipe is sure to be a winner!

A white bowl of potato tikka masala with roasted cauliflower served over rice and garnished with cilantro.

When I followed a vegetarian diet, Indian restaurants were always one of my favorite places to go. Their menus are filled with boldly spiced, delicious plant-based options that are hard to find at other restaurants.

Unfortunately, I’m not blessed to live near many Indian restaurants. So, I had to take matters into my own hands and learn how to cook some Indian-inspired dishes at home.

Potato tikka masala or potato curry has always been one of my favorite dishes to recreate. It just feels so cozy and is perfect for a chilly fall or winter evening. I’m also just a really big fan of potatoes.

In order to keep the carbohydrates in check, however, I usually bulk up my potato curry dishes with cauliflower. For this recipe, I heavily spice and roast the cauliflower prior to adding it to the sauce. Doing so gives this dish another layer of flavor and texture that makes it oh so good.

So, if you’re looking for a new recipe to try, keep reading to learn how to make this delicious potato tikka masala with roasted cauliflower.

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Why This Recipe Works

  • Healthy- Rich in fiber, iron, and other vitamins and minerals, this recipe not only tastes amazing, but it’s good for you too. Fiber, in particular, is wonderful because it helps keep us feeling satisfied after a meal, can help lower cholesterol, and promotes the growth of gut-friendly bacteria in our digestive tract.
  • Flavorful- Like many Indian-inspired dishes, this potato tikka masala is full of flavor. Both fresh and dried spices work together in this recipe to create a warm, rich, deeply spiced sauce that brings all of the cozy vibes to your kitchen table.
  • Gluten-Free- For those following a gluten-free diet, you’re in luck! This recipe is naturally gluten-free. Of course, as always, make sure to double check the labels of every ingredient.
  • Vegan- This recipe is also vegan. I think most people associate tikka masala with chicken, but this version doesn’t need it! The potatoes and roasted cauliflower make this recipe decadent and deliciously satisfying in its own right.

Ingredient Notes

Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.

  • Potato- The star of the show. I use russet potatoes in this recipe because I love the soft, starchy texture they add in contrast to the cauliflower. If you’d like your potatoes to hold their shape a bit more, try a waxy variety such as red bliss or fingerlings.
  • Cauliflower- While this recipe is technically called potato tikka masala, I decided to add a bit of roasted cauliflower for texture and also to keep the carbohydrate count reasonable.
  • Coconut Milk- Usually, tikka masala sauce calls for heavy cream. However, I chose to use full-fat coconut milk to keep this recipe plant-based while still mimicking the same texture and mouthfeel of the cream.
  • Tomato Paste- I like to use a bit of tomato paste in this recipe to give the dish a richer tomato flavor. By cooking the tomato paste with the spices in the oil, it helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the tomato paste and remove any metallic taste.
  • Diced Tomatoes- Many tikka masala recipes call for tomato purée, which results in a relatively smooth sauce. I prefer a bit of texture to my sauce so, I tend to use diced tomatoes. You can use whichever tomatoes you prefer.
  • Garam Masala- If you’re not familiar with Indian cuisine, you may have never heard of garam masala. Garam masala is actually a blend of spices, which can vary depending upon the chef or the region of India where it comes from. Luckily, many grocery stores now carry garam masala in the regular spice section.
The ingredients to make potato tikka masala are laid out on a table.

Step by Step Instructions

Here is how you make this potato tikka masala.

Step 1: Roast the Cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together the cauliflower, olive oil, and spices and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, stirring halfway through.

A parchment-lined baking sheet with seasoned cauliflower ready to be roasted.
A parchment-lined baking sheet with golden brown roasted cauliflower.

Step 2: Sauté the Flavor Base. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add in the onion and sauté until translucent and the edges are beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Then, add in all of the spices, salt, and tomato paste. Cook until the spices become very fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

Sautéed onions, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, and spices in the bottom of a Dutch oven.

Step 3: Simmer the Diced Tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the diced tomatoes. Stir well and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. The sauce should thicken a bit and become darker in color from the spices.

Diced tomatoes with the flavor base simmering in a Dutch oven.

Step 4: Stir in Coconut Milk and Cook the Potatoes. Stir in the coconut milk and allow the sauce to come back up to a simmer. Once simmering, add in the potatoes and cover the pot with a lid. Gently cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until you can easily pierce them with a fork, about 30 minutes.

Potatoes added to the tomato and coconut milk tikka masala sauce in the Dutch oven.

Step 5: Add in the Cauliflower. Fold in the roasted cauliflower and remove the pan from the heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with rice or naan bread. Enjoy!

Finished potato tikka masala in a white bowl over rice and garnished with cilantro.

Tips and Tricks

  • Premix the Spices- Mix the spices together in a small bowl before you start cooking. Since they all go into the pot at the same time, it’s easier to just dump them all in at once instead of measuring one-by-one while you’re cooking.
  • Multitask- While the cauliflower is roasting, you can easily get the sauce started. This way, you’ll reduce the overall time it takes to make this dish!

Substitutions

Here are a few ways you can make this potato tikka masala fit your diet.

  • Refined Oil-Free- Instead of mixing the cauliflower with oil prior to roasting, toss with a teaspoon of water instead. This will help the spices stick. Roast according to recipe instructions. Similarly, replace the tablespoon of oil for sautéing the onion with a few tablespoons of water. Add more water as needed so the aromatics and spices do not burn prior to adding the diced tomatoes.
  • Lower Carb- To make this dish lower carb, use only one potato and add additional cauliflower to make up the difference. Alternatively, you could add other non-starchy vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, green beans, carrots, or broccoli.
  • Lower Fat- If you want to cut back on the amount of fat, try using reduced-fat coconut milk instead of the full-fat version. Keep in mind, this may result in a thinner, less creamy sauce.
  • Higher Protein- For a boost of plant-based protein, try adding a can of chickpeas! A half-cup serving of canned chickpeas contains about 6 grams of protein.

Serving Suggestions

Here are a few ideas of how you can serve your potato tikka masala.

  • White or Brown Rice- Commonly, tikka masala is served over white rice. If you want a little boost of whole grains, try serving this dish over brown rice instead.
  • Naan Bread- Often served with Indian dishes, especially thick, richly flavored curries, is a leavened flatbread called naan. Naan bread is best served warm with a little oil and garlic drizzled on top. Use it to scoop up a delicious mouthful of potato tikka masala.
  • Riced Vegetables- For those sticking to a lower carb diet, rice or naan bread paired with potatoes may not be the best choice. Luckily, this dish pairs well with riced cauliflower or riced broccoli as well.
  • Quinoa- An excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber, quinoa is another great side to serve with this dish. A one-cup serving of quinoa boasts 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.

Storage and Reheating

Storage

Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freezer: Allow to cool completely prior to freezing. Portion, label, and date your leftovers and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

How to Reheat

From Refrigerator: Reheat this dish in either the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop.

From Freezer: It’s best if you can plan ahead and thaw completely in the refrigerator prior to reheating. However, you can also thaw in the microwave or under cold, running water in a pinch. Then, reheat either in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop.

Nutrition Facts

One serving of potato tikka masala contains:

  • Calories: 261
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Carbs: 33 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Protein: 6 g
A white bowl filled with potato tikka masala with roasted cauliflower, garnished with cilantro.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is tikka masala?

Tikka masala is an Indian curry dish that has a tomato and cream-based sauce. The word tikka refers to meat or vegetables marinated in a spice mixture. Masala, on the other hand, means spices ground together into a paste or powder to be used in a dish.

What does aloo mean in Indian cooking?

This dish could also be called aloo tikka masala because the word aloo in Indian cooking literally means ‘a potato dish.’ So, any time you see the word aloo on a menu or in a recipe, you know it will have potatoes in it.

Is potato tikka masala spicy?

Traditionally, tikka masala is not a spicy dish. While many recipes call for some form of spice, it can vary depending on personal preference and is not necessary at all to make tikka masala.

Recommended Equipment

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Potato Tikka Masala

This potato tikka masala is everything you want in a cozy weeknight meal. It's healthy, flavorful, and comes together in under an hour. Whether you're following a gluten-free or vegan diet, or you just want to try something new, this recipe is sure to be a winner!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 261kcal
Author Ashley Petrie

Ingredients

For the Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 large head of cauliflower chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground

For the Potato Tikka Masala

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated or finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 large russet potatoes peeled and cubed into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped

Instructions

For the Roasted Cauliflower

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped cauliflower, olive oil, and all of the spices. Stir well to combine and spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Set aside.
    1 large head of cauliflower, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon ginger powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper

For the Potato Tikka Masala

  • While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté until softened and the edges are beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, then add in all of the spices, salt, and tomato paste. Cook the spices and tomato paste in the oil for another 2-3 minutes
    1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 medium yellow onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, 2 teaspoons garam masala, 1 ½ teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon coriander, ½ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the diced tomatoes. Stir well and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. The sauce should thicken a bit and become darker in color from the spices.
    1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Stir in the coconut milk and allow the sauce to come back up to a simmer. Once simmering, add in the potatoes and cover the pot with a lid. Gently cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until you can easily pierce them with a fork, about 30 minutes.
    1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk, 2 large russet potatoes
  • Fold in the roasted cauliflower and remove the pan from the heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with rice or naan bread.
    ¼ cup fresh cilantro

Notes

Store in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 261kcal
Did you try this recipe?Let me know! Comment below, or take a picture and tag me on Instagram @enwnutrition.
A white bowl filled with potato tikka masala with roasted cauliflower, garnished with cilantro.

Did you try this recipe?

Let me know! Comment below, or take a picture and tag me on Instagram @enwnutrition.

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