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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

Vegan Chickpea Tikka Masala with Green Rice

4.62 from 26 votes
Chickpea Tikka Masala with Green Rice
prep10 mins cook30 mins total40 mins


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
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: chickpea, healthy, vegan
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! 

Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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  1. 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!

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

  3. 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

  4. 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?

    1. 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!

  5. 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!

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

  6. 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)

  7. 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.

  8. 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.