Cauliflower Tikka Masala

Say hello to takeout 2.0

If I’m being honest, I kind of feel like I’m living in 2017 with this cauliflower recipe. I used to love love LOVE cauliflower and ate it quite a bit back then. Then I took a major cauliflower hiatus, unintentional of course, and I basically… forgot about it.

Well and, as they say, the b**** is back!

It isn’t like I took a break from ALL cauliflower per se. I still loved eating it riced, gnocchied, and pizza-ed. But in terms of enjoy cauliflower in its truest form, I had not done it in so long. And with the temperature plummeting (it’s a balmy -11 C in Philly today), I knew the only thing my body wanted was a stewy, cooked deliciousness.

And now we’re back! And we’re back with this bomb cauliflower, tikka masala-ed.

Chicken tikka masala is a kind of gateway drug to the deliciousness that is Indian food. It’s not too spicy, full of flavor, and makes the perfect accompaniment to naan (because, let’s be real: the best part of Indian food is the bread). Since becoming a vegetarian, however, I’ve missed having that flavor in my life. That’s why we are coming back with a vengeance.

I wanted to keep the dish as authentic as possible. So I first “marinated” the cauliflower in a mix of coconut milk, garlic, and ginger, so it soaks up all that flava. I then broil the cauliflower to give it a nice crispness and char. It definitely makes a difference in the final product.

While the cauliflower is “marinating”, I make the saucy goodness. The secret to having delish Indian food is making sure you use a ton of spices. I used a mix of garlic, ginger, garam masala, yellow curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne pepper for a warming and slightly spicy sauce. Feel free to cut back on the cayenne pepper if you think it’s a little much.

Then, it’s just coconut milk, tomato paste, and yogurt. Simple as that! If you are dairy free, feel free to substitute your favorite dairy free yogurt (coconut yogurt would actually be the move for this recipe).

You can serve it alongside some rice or naan and along with some of my other favorite Indian food recipes. Regardless of how you serve it, it will warm you from the inside out, so do not be alarmed if you start stripping layers. That is totally valid!

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

15 minPrep Time

1 hr, 15 Cook Time

30 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

4.5 based on 2 review(s)


  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 can lite or regular coconut milk, divided into 1/4 and 3/4
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, grated
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
  • 6 ounces tomato paste (from one can or tube)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (regular or dairy free)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • steamed rice and naan, for serving


Preheat the broiler to high. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, 1/4 of the can of coconut milk, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, and a pinch of salt. Let sit 10 minutes, Spread the cauliflower in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and broil for 3-4 minutes, until the cauliflower is just beginning to char on the edges. (you can also just roast the cauliflower, but I like it to have a bit more of a bite)

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the remaining garlic and ginger, cooking another 5 minutes. Stir in the garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the tomato paste and remaining 2 cups coconut milk. Stir to combine, bring the sauce to a boil, cook 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. If the sauce seems thick, thin with 1/4 to 1/3 cup additional coconut milk or water. Add the cauliflower and any juices on the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the cauliflower and sauce over bowls of rice/cauliflower rice with fresh naan and a squeeze of lime. EAT


  1. This looks amazing! I’m going to try your recipe this weekend. Thanks!
    1. Aww yay! Can't wait to hear what you think!
  2. Hi Sarah! Making this tonight! Tikka Masala is my ultimate comfort food. Are those chickpeas on the dish? And if so how did you prepare them?
    1. Yes! They're the roasted chickpeas from my kale and chickpea salad

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