Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala with Green Rice

Need a new dinner idea this week? Try this Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala. It comes from my friend Kathryne’s new cookbook, Love Real Food, which was just released this week!

If you’re not familiar with Kathryne’s blog, Cookie and Kate, she shares delicious vegetarian recipes made with whole food ingredients. Along with some cute pictures of her dog, Cookie! Not surprisingly, her cookbook is loaded with beautiful photography and plenty of crowd-pleasing vegetarian recipes. 

There’s a nice variety in these 100 “feel good” recipes, including recipes that call for gluten, eggs,  soy, and dairy, but I love how Kathryne has noted substitution ideas at the bottom of many of her recipes to help readers make them gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, or nut-free to accommodate special diets and allergy needs.

Some of her other recipes that I’m excited to try include:

  • Fresh Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
  • Kale and Quinoa Salad with Plumped Cranberries and Lemon Dressing
  • Fresh Greek Nachos with Herbed Tahini Sauce
  • Beans and Greens Quesadillas
  • Lemony Almond Blueberry Cake
  • Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream Sundaes

If this Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala recipe is any indication, I have a feeling that all of the recipes in this book will be a hit. What I especially love is the “green rice” that you serve it with.

Normally, a recipe that has two parts might turn me off from trying it. As you may know, I like things to be as fast and easy as humanly possible, and that does NOT usually involve making two recipes for a single meal. However, trust me when I say this green rice actually comes together really fast and is totally delicious! The flavor is mild, yet very refreshing. I look forward to using my leftover green rice as the base for a burrito bowl later this week.

To make things as easy as possible, I actually cooked my green rice in my Instant Pot instead of using the stove. It doesn’t get much easier than dumping the ingredients in the pot and pressing a button! The rice turned out perfectly using the “rice” setting (12 minutes on low pressure), in case you want to do the same.

This Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala is loaded with fragrant spices, without being too spicy, and gets its creaminess from dairy-free coconut milk. Since this is a quick stove-top meal, you can taste as you go until the flavor is just right for you! I ended up adding some extra coconut milk, salt, and a splash of maple syrup to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, so feel free to adjust it as you see fit for your family. This recipe will set you up for success!

5 from 1 vote
Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala with Green Rice
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Chickpea Tikka Masala with Green Rice
Servings: 4
Calories: 206 kcal
Author: Kathryne Taylor
Green Rice
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper , seeded, deribbed, and roughly chopped
  • ¼ large yellow onion , roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¾ cups water , divided
  • 1 ½ cups long-grain brown rice , preferably basmati, rinsed
Chickpea Tikka Masala
  • 1 tablespoon grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic , pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional, if you like some heat)
  • 1 box (28 ounces) whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ large yellow onion , finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • ¾ cup canned coconut milk , or more if needed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro , plus more for garnish
  1. To prepare the green rice: In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach, jalapeño, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, and ½ cup of the water. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan, reserving the food processor or blender bowl for later.
  2. Add the remaining 1 ¼ cups water to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook on a low simmer until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid, about 40 minutes. There will be a layer of green on top, so you’ll need to take off the lid and check underneath with a fork to be sure it’s done. (If the rice has absorbed all of the moisture but is still a little crunchy, add a couple more tablespoons of water and cook for a few minutes longer.) Once the rice is done, remove the pot from the heat and let the rice steam, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, to prepare the chickpea tikka masala: The tikka masala comes together quickly, so before you get started, prepare the ginger and garlic and place in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine all of the ground spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and cayenne, if using). Place both bowls near the stove so they are handy.
  4. Rinse out the food processor or blender bowl. Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  5. In a large, nonreactive skillet or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and salt. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the puréed tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk, and cilantro. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
  6. Fluff the rice with a fork, stirring the green on top back into the rice, and season with additional salt if necessary (I always need at least ¼ teaspoon more). Season the tomato mixture with additional salt until the flavors really sing (again, I always need at least ¼ teaspoon more). If necessary, add another splash of coconut milk to mellow the spices.
  7. To serve, spoon the rice into individual bowls and top with the chickpea masala. Finish the bowls with a light sprinkle of chopped cilantro. If you have leftovers, store the rice and masala separately. Leftover masala is also great with warm whole-grain naan.
Recipe Notes

Tip: A “nonreactive” skillet is one that will not react with acid, such as stainless steel, enamel-coated (like Le Creuset), or one with a quality nonstick surface. Don’t use your cast iron skillet, since the acidity in the tomatoes can eat away at the seasoned surface that you’ve worked so hard to maintain

Text excerpted from Love Real Food, © 2017 by Kathryne Taylor. Reproduced by permission of Rodale Inc. All rights reserved.

Substitution Notes:

  • I haven’t tried any substitutions with this recipe yet, but I imagine you could use quinoa instead of rice for extra protein, or perhaps even make the green rice using “cauliflower rice” as a grain-free option.
  • As always, please leave a comment below if you try something different so we can all benefit from you experience.

Reader Feedback: What has been your favorite dinner this week? I love hearing new ideas, or being reminded of old favorites! 

Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

9 thoughts on “Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala with Green Rice

  1. Kristen

    Hi, I found this recipe for a Creamy Avocado Cilantro Lime dressing and made it last night. But it just wasn’t flavorful enough. Thought I’d pass it on to you Megan to see what you would do with it to make it better… Thanks for what you do!

    1 Avocado
    1 clove garlic
    1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
    1/4 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt
    1 T fresh lime juice
    3 T extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    water for thinning to the consistency of your liking

    Blend all ingredients together til smooth

  2. Marjorie

    Looks wonderful and I am going to give it a try, but as I am watching my carbs it would be nice to have the carb and fiber content of the recipe.
    Kindly regards

    1. Bruno

      Marjorie, I added all the ingredients in cronometer and the carbs and fiber results are :
      Carbs 168.2 g
      Fiber 28.4 g
      Starch 104.0 g
      Sugars 31.2 g
      Also, it says 1488 calories, divided by 4 portions gives 372 calories/portion.

  3. Yana

    With tomatoes twice the amount of anything else the whole thing looks and tastes like tomato soup. No coconut flavor, no spices, just tomatoes front and center. Really disliked the dish.
    Also, no curry?

    1. sona

      I haven’t made this yet, but agree the quantity of tomatoes seems too much compared to the chickpeas. Curry, btw, is the mix of spices (the dry chickpea masala)

      1. Megan Gilmore Post author

        My family loves the sauce-to-chickpeas ratio, and you can always increase the spices since you can taste the sauce as you go. I think I doubled the salt and coconut milk, and added probably a tablespoon of maple syrup to help balance it all out. Feel free to experiment and make it your own!

  4. Heather

    I have never heard of green rice, what a great idea! And thanks for sharing how you cooked the rice in your Instant Pot. I got one last year and am still trying to perfect how long to cook what. 🙂


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