Easy Vegetarian (Make Ahead) Chickpea Tikka Masala

Easy (Make Ahead) Chickpea Tikka MasalaEasy Vegetarian (Make Ahead) Chickpea Tikka Masala- DoesXrayIDoFood.com

Its Meatless Monday!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got an intense case of the “Mondays”. I just didn’t want the weekend to end despite this death grip winter seems to have on the city of Chicago. I need something to look forward to in order to get me through this day. In my world, that means something edible to look forward to. Although I love these creamy warm chickpeas on a cold day like today, they are also perfect on hot summer days wrapped up in naan with a cold glass of iced chai tea as well. The tomato base, spiced up with ginger, serrano chilies, and a plethora of spices will have you licking the bottom of the pan! (Just be sure to first let it cool.)

Layers of Flavor


The beauty of Indian food is its layering of flavors coming from long lists of spices, each of which on their own may be a little. . . flat. Combining what may typically be considered “sweet” spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg with “savory” spices creates a warmth in flavor I just love. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. Most of these are probably in your pantry and spice rack at this moment.  The mincing and gathering of ingredients for this simple recipe may appear extensive, but once its finished the dish comes together quite quickly.

Easy Vegetarian (Make Ahead) Chickpea Tikka Masala - HeDoesXrayIDoFood.comMeatless, but Meaty


The meaty texture of garbanzos, combined with their protein and fiber content make them an easy substitute for the usual chicken. Although I’m not a Vegetarian, I skip the real chicken pretty often. Its expensive to get poultry of good quality these days and vegetarian options are just so extensive in 2018. Try adding in a bag of Morningstar “Chik’n Strips”, or Gardein chicken substitute.

Easy (Make Ahead) Chickpea Tikka MasalaEasy Vegetarian (Make Ahead) Chickpea Tikka Masala- DoesXrayIDoFood.com

Buttery Goodness

There is a second layer of richness in this dish. (The first being the minimal amount of heavy whipping cream I would never omit.) There is a buttery bite that comes from creamy cashews mixed in among the chickpeas. Their softened texture with the smoothness of the sauce is an obvious pairing.

So, for your next Meatless Monday, give this meal a try!

*Make ahead*:

I like to double this recipe and separate out half of the sauce before adding in the chickpeas. Just put it in an airtight container or even a freezer bag, and freeze. Simple as that! Now you have a meal ready to go for those crazy weeknights. Just reheat the sauce, stir in a can of chickpeas from the cupboard, and done!

Want a another Meatless Monday Recipe? Check out my Philly Cheese”Fakes”; Vegetarian Cheese Steak sandwiches, a healthier option to satisf

Easy (Make Ahead) Chickpea Tikka Masala

Serves 4-6


  • 3 tbsp Butter, unsalted
  • 1 large onion (1.5 cups), minced
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger- Use a microplane or fine cheese grater
  • 2 Serrano chilis, seeds & membrane removed, minced
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cin stick
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 6 tbsp (1/4 cup+2 tbsp) tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala (Buy pre-made or see my recipe below)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1-2 tsp Sea Salt, start with less and add slowly
  • 2 cans organic chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (not packed), rough chopped
  • 4-6 naan

My recipe for garam masala:

Simply stir these together and store in an airtight container or spice jar:

  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg


  1. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add in the cinnamon stick and cloves. Sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  2. Add in the onions and sauté for 6-8 mins over medium heat until they are softened. Add the grated ginger and minced Serrano peppers. Sauté another minute.
  3. Pour in all the spices and sauté another 30 sec.  Stir in the tomato paste and combine with onion mixture. Cook 1-2 minutes.Easy Vegetarian (Make Ahead) Chickpea Tikka Masala- HeDoesXrayIDoFood.com
  4. Slowly add in cream about a quarter at a time stirring constantly to incorporate. Continue until it’s all combined. Simmer 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in the water and a 1 tsp of salt, stirring to combine. Once fwater and salt is fully incorporated, add in the maple syrup. Simmer about 8 mins over low heat while stirring occasionally.
  5. Check to see if it needs an additional 1/2-1 tsp of salt. If so, stir in to combine. Stir in your chickpeas and cashews, then cook 3-4 mins more.
  6. To make naan pizzas: heat your naan, smear with the chickpea mixture and top with cilantro. You can also serve over rice, quinoa, or eat with naan on the side.

Easy (Make Ahead) Chickpea Tikka MasalaEasy Vegetarian (Make Ahead) Chickpea Tikka Masala- DoesXrayIDoFood.com

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