Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala with Green Rice

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vegan chickpea tikka masala with green rice in a bowl

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. love real food cookbook

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.

green rice ingredients in a food processor and an instant pot

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!

vegan chickpea tikka masala with green rice

Vegan chickpea tikka masala with green rice
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Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala with Green Rice

Chickpea Tikka Masala with Green Rice
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Keyword chickpea, healthy, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 206kcal


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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rinse out the food processor or blender bowl. Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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


Serving: 1g | Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 590mg | Potassium: 149mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 5.3mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1.1mg
Per Serving: Calories: 206, Fat: 21g, Carbohydrates: 4g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 1g
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! 

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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


    Add cumin!! And some onion or onion powder and a little chili powder. It’s great!


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


    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.


This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the instant pot directions.


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?


    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)

      Megan Gilmore

      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!


    I’ve made this from the original Love Real Food cookbook and used two cans of chickpeas and 1/4 cup red lentils and it was perfect. Just enough ‘sauce’ but the lentils soak some of it up and the extra chickpeas are necessary so it’s not soupy!


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. 🙂


This looks amazing, and so healthy. My husband loves making indian food!


I have Kathryne’s new cookbook and actually made this lat night for my Mom. We both LOVED it and I can’t wait for my leftovers at lunch! I actually used Trader Joe’s Broccoli Rice instead of rice and poured the green sauce over the entire bag of it. I didn’t miss the rice at all and it all tasted fantastic!! I think I like broccoli rice more than cauliflower rice now! <3


Made this over the weekend and I find it delightful! I’m a big fan of both sauce and spice, so I used a whole can of coconut milk and increased all of the spices by about 1/3. Of course, I didn’t actually measure anything so I had a little too much cinnamon happening at the end, so I added another teaspoon of cumin. And although I wasn’t a huge fan of the green rice on it’s own (I used cauliflower rice), together with the tikka masala I thought it was quite lovely. Oh, and it made enough for an army. If my freezer wasn’t full I would freeze some, but since it is I will just eat it all week and through the weekend — which I’m more than happy to do. Will definitely make it again.

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m so glad you enjoyed them! The white chocolate variation sounds delicious. 🙂


When using the instant pot, did you adjust the liquid at all or use the same amounts as the stove top recipe? I’m always so nervous about messing up the liquid ratios for the pressure cooker!

    Megan Gilmore

    I always use the same amount of water whether cooking in the Instant Pot or on the stove. I haven’t noticed a difference– it always turns out well for me using the rice setting, then a quick release.


This was so good! I used roasted zucchini instead of chickpeas, and cauliflower rice instead of regular. I had to force myself to not eat it all in one sitting.

    Megan Gilmore

    That sounds amazing! I’ll have to try a version like that next time. 🙂


My husband and I loved this recipe! We’ll definitely repeat this recipe! I used 2 cans of chickpeas, an extra 1/4 cup of coconut milk, and added 1/2 teaspoon garam masala. So yummy!! Loved the green rice!


LIKE others, i wanted to loved this. But even After doubling the spices it just tasted lIke tomato sauce


Delicious. Thanks.


I added lentils and steamed cauliflower to the sauce. Upon serving, I added a dollop of greek yoghurt – spectacular! These additions made the recipe more substantial. The rice was unlike any I had ever had and was wonderful and complimentary to the dish. Thank you for this great recipe.


I am confused as to how I would do this in an insta pot as there is no direction on this? I just got my insta pot and would love to try this recipe with it but how would I go about doing so instead of everything on the stovetop?

    Megan Gilmore

    I only cooked the green rice in the Instant Pot, and I shared what I did in the comments above the recipe– dump everything in and hit the “rice” button. (12 minutes on low pressure) The rest of the recipe is from a published cookbook, so I included her stove top directions in the printable recipe.


Hi Megan is the recipe for the instant pot still 12 minutes if using brown rice? Just want to make sure because I thought that wasn’t the time white rice took to cook and don’t want to mess it up! Thanks!

Caroline Coffaro

Can this be frozen?? Looks delicious and I have a ton of chickpeas I just soaked and cooked

Jeff coleman

Found this very bland, had to add tons more spice. Also the green rice….big loser, bland, crunchie (i used brown rice..but not basmati). I threw the rice out, and ended up using a basmati white rice. So disappointed.


I liked the concept of a vegan tikka masala sauce, but the recipe is very misleading. A more accurate definition would be “Vegan Chana Masala”. This recipe does not taste like a traditional Tikka masala, it tastes like Chana Masala. Considering that it’s chickpeas and it’s heavily tomato based, it technically is Chana masala. Aside from the mislabeling, the taste is too tomato(y), its almost like a mildly spicyItalian tomato sauce. It’s very bland, I would not recommend this recipe to someone looking to make Tikka Masala.

    Kali Prescott

    Yeah chickpeas, onions, and tomatoes do not a masala make. I combined with a traditional masala recipe and WAY increased the spice measurements.


This was so delicious! I did the rice on the stove and it came out perfectly. I didn’t have any cardamom, so I subbed a teaspoon of garam masala. It tasted amazing! We loved it. Thanks for the keeper recipe!


AMAZING! This was a huge hit when I made it (except for the really picky eaters)


This recipe was delicious. The only changes I made were: half the amount of tomatoes and double the chickpeas. And it was perfect!


I used two bunches of cilantro instead of the spinach. Really came out well. The contrast in flavor between the green rice and tikka masala was surprisingly delicious. We really enjoyed this dish.


Definitely a keeper. Everyone loved it!!


This was a frustrating recipe for me because of the rice. I have two instant pots and have had them for three years. In short, I’m an experienced user of instant pots.

I followed the rice recipe exactly including the instant pot instructions in the blog. I had decided to cook a batch in each of my Instant pots to freeze some for burrito bowls later in the month.

I had to keep cooking the rice multiple times and it never came out quite right. It was edible but with two kids under two, it’s frustrating to invest time cooking and have something go wrong for what seems like no reason.

I think I will stick to my regular rice recipe.


    Do the rice normally but blend the other ingredients in a blender and fold in when done should work great and be really fast


I have made this recipe 6 times and have made a few changes based on our preferences. I double the garlic, ginger, and chickpeas. I add the entire can of coconut milk and add add some chopped zucchini! Other than than it is our favourite,


I have the cookbook Love Real Food and have made this in the past. All I can say is “Boy was this good!”
I didn’t know about the cast iron skillet and tomatoes. I do now. Won’t do that again.


Hi! Do you have direction for how to make the Masala in the Instant Pot? I have two IPs and like to cook everything using them! Thank you.


You see it’s the second time I find a recipe that doesn’t need the instant pot 🙁 and I get all excited about it until I read the procedure and is not an instant pot recipe. In order to make it less misleading maybe a “non instant pot recipe” category is needed. Thanks

Kali Prescott

I did and avocado rice with this (avocado, cilantro, spinach, lime with rice cooked in diluted coconut milk) and added potatoes, tofu, and bell peppers to the masala. Obviously the amounted to a bigger sauce yeild so i bumped up the number of tomatoes and spices and it came out amazing.


Another winner! I have made this twice in two weeks. I serve with riced broccoli and cauliflower because we are not eating many grains right now. The second time I mixed it all up then cooked in my slow cooker on low for about five hours. It’s just as good this way.

maureen tischler

I made some changes. I doubled the chickpeas and halved the tomatoes. I used more spices- 1/2 tsp garam masala (mine has cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper). My stock cumin is pan-roasted before grinding. It was delicious. I give it for stars for the basic recipe which is so easy I’ll make it often.


This is very similar to another recipe that I habitually make, the difference with this one is that instead of curry paste, it uses dried spices, which in my opinion is a bit more convenient.
I put in extra veges (diced zucchini)

Lyn Hickman

This is ABSOLUTELY delicious!!!


Hi Megan! I LOVE this recipe, but I have finally admitted to myself that chickpeas bother my stomach. What can I use instead? Lentils? I’d love to hear your ideas!

    Megan Gilmore

    I’ve always heard that lentils are easier to digest than other beans, so I think that’s worth a shot!

Lisa Marsh

My question isn’t directly about this recipe, but it is the closest recipe I can find. Tonight I made your chicken Tikki Masala from page 164 of your cookbook. I used the pot in pot method for my rice for the first time. When I opened the lid I was disappointed to discover that the rice was tinted from the tomatoes bubbling up and over into the 7-inch pot. Was I supposed to put a lid on the rice pot inside the instant pot?

    Megan Gilmore

    What size trivet did you use? I haven’t had the tomato juice go into the bowl before, but if the trivet was shorter and the bowl was lower in the pot, I could see how that might happen. You can definitely put a plate over the bowl or some sort of lid next time, as long as there is still plenty of room around the bowl for pressure to build up. I hope it tasted good regardless!


I bought the Love Real Food a few weeks ago. I love every recipe that we have tried so far!
Really delicious vegetarian food- brilliant at blending flavors to bring out the best in every dish


This is such a great recipe! I have made it several times over the course of a few months. The whole family likes it.


This is absolutely delicious. I make it all the time. The only modification I make is that I double the chickpeas in the recipe to give it a heartier texture. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

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