Vegan Tikka Masala (made in the slow cooker!)

Busy seasons of life call for extra easy, nourishing dinners. Don’t you think? It finally feels like fall here in Chicago and with back-to-back cookbook photoshoots, I’ve been craving all of the warming recipes.

This easy vegan tikka masala recipe is one that Abra and I perfected 5 years ago now and scarfed down pretty much right after it came out of the slow cooker. It’s DANG good. Sweet, savory, full of texture (thanks to all the veggies), and incredibly cozy for a cold night.

And here’s more good news: there are plenty of cold-fighting ingredients involved (garlic, ginger, turmeric), making it a great recipe to make when you’re feeling under the weather.

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vegan tikka masala in bowls

What is tikka masala?

Tikka Masala is a popular Indian dish made up of chicken in a curry-spiced tomato-based sauce that’s typically infused with heavy cream and/or butter. In this vegan tikka masala recipe, we’re swapping the chicken for tofu and using creamy coconut milk instead of any dairy!

If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, feel free to try my amazing Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.

ingredients for tofu tikka masala in a slow cooker

Ingredients in this vegan tikka masala

Oh baby, this tofu tikka masala is packed with amazing flavor, veggies, and protein. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy and so delicious that you won’t be able to stop eating it. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Tofu: I like to use the extra-firm tofu in this recipe so that it doesn’t fall apart in the slow cooker. See below for tips on prepping the tofu! You could also add chickpeas for an additional boost of protein.
  • Veggies: YESS. This recipe involves a hearty dose of veggies including carrots, potatoes (or sweet potatoes), cauliflower, red bell pepper, and onion. I also like to stir in peas! It’s good for ya so eat it up.
  • For the sauce: the flavorful tikka masala sauce includes tomato sauce, coconut milk, fresh ginger, garlic, a touch of maple syrup, and spices.
  • For the spices: The spices are a mixture of garam masala (a spice blend available at most grocery stores), cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne pepper. I’m very into it.

vegan tofu tikka masala in a slow cooker

Don’t forget to prep your tofu

I like to use the extra-firm tofu in this recipe so that it doesn’t fall apart in the slow cooker. To prep it before adding it to your slow cooker:

  1. Wrap your extra firm tofu block with a dish towel and place it on a plate
  2. Place a wooden cutting board on top
  3. Put something heavy on top of the cutting board like a pot of water, books, etc. so that the water begins to squeeze out into the towel. Press for at least 10 minutes. Then cube the tofu and use it as written in the recipe!

Alternatively, you can also use a tofu press specifically designed for squeezing out tofu!

slow cooker vegan tikka masala

How to make vegan tikka masala in the slow cooker

This slow cooker tofu tikka masala recipe couldn’t be easier to make. It’s literally three steps! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Mix the sauce & veggies. Add all of your veggies, sauce ingredients, and spices to your slow cooker and give it all a stir.
  2. Add the tofu. Carefully fold in the tofu chunks, then cook the tikka masala on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
  3. Finish & serve. If you’d like stir in the frozen peas about 5-10 minutes before you’re ready to eat. Then serve the tikka masala with your fav sides!

tofu tikka masala in bowls with naan

Our fav ways to serve tikka masala

This tofu tikka masala is delicious on its own, but we love it on top of:

tofu tikka masala in a bowl with naan

Storing & freezing tips

Store this vegan slow cooker tikka masala in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.

  • To freeze: Let the tofu tikka masala cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container or bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. I would not recommend freezing the tikka masala with rice.
  • To reheat: thaw the tikka masala in the refrigerator. While the curry is thawing, feel free to make rice, cauliflower rice or quinoa to serve with it. Reheat on the stovetop by bringing it to a simmer or in the microwave for 2 minutes until heated through.

Overall, this is a really delicious, easy plant-based recipe to get more veggies in. I suggest serving it on game days, at parties, or just prepping for your weekly lunches/dinners. Oh and don’t forget to serve this with a little naan on the side, because you know the saying — when I dip, you dip, we dip!

vegan tikka masala in a bowl

More slow cooker recipes to try

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If you make this vegan tikka masala be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Vegan Slow Cooker Tofu Tikka Masala

tofu tikka masala in a bowl

Prep Time 30 minutes

Cook Time 3 hours

Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

Serves4 servings

This unbelievably nourishing vegan tikka masala recipe is packed with veggies and plenty of protein from tofu! It’s a great recipe for crowds or to make for meal prep and is delicious with a side of naan bread for dipping. Use your slow cooker for an easy meal with little cleanup!


  • 1 (16 ounce) package extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups diced gold potatoes* (from about 2-3 medium gold potatoes)
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can lite coconut milk (can also use full fat coconut milk)
  • ½ tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more if you like things a little spicier
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup frozen peas
  • Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnishing


  • In a large slower, add garlic, diced onion, sliced carrots, cauliflower florets, diced potatoes, tomato sauce, coconut milk, maple syrup, fresh ginger, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine. Add in tofu cubes, and give a gentle stir. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours.

  • Before you are ready to serve, stir in the frozen peas and allow to cook uncovered for 5-10 more minutes. Serve with as is with a side of naan bread, or with brown rice or quinoa. If you are not vegan, I suggest serving with yogurt! Garnish with cilantro before serving. Serves 4-6.

Recipe Notes

*Feel free to sub cubed sweet potatoes or cubed butternut squash for the gold potatoes.
See the full post for tips, tricks, and storing instructions!


Serving: 1servingCalories: 303calCarbohydrates: 35.7gProtein: 14.8gFat: 11.5gSaturated Fat: 5.7gFiber: 8.7gSugar: 13.1g


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