Healthy Chickpea Tikka Masala

Enjoy authentic Indian flavors in this Healthy Chickpea Tikka Masala. Perfect vegetarian tikka masala for a weeknight meal or to serve in the party.

Enjoy authentic Indian flavors in this Healthy Chickpea Tikka Masala. Simple and easy vegetarian tikka masala recipe for a weeknight meal or to serve in a party. | #watchwhatueat #tikkamasala #chickpea #chickpeacurry #Indiancooking

Have you ever tried tikka masala dishes in any Indian restaurant and wonder how they make it? Then you have come to the right place.

Yes, here I am sharing with you our all-time favorite healthy tikka masala recipe. Usually, you will find chicken tikka masala or paneer tikka masala in Indian restaurants. However, going out of the box I make this healthy tikka masala recipe using chickpeas.

Toasted chickpeas dunked in creamy tomato authentic tikka sauce to make this easy restaurant-style healthy chickpea tikka masala.

Why chickpeas?

Because chickpeas are among some of the perfect options for making a protein-rich vegetarian and meatless dish. And you still get all the authentic flavors in this tikka masala recipe.

I am sure you won’t miss chicken or paneer in this dish. I have made it several times for potluck dinners in the last few months. And every time I got a request to share the recipe from our friends and family.

Let’s get started.

How to make Restaurant Style Chickpea Tikka Masala

This recipe involves a two-step process.

1. Making chickpea tikka

In a medium mixing bowl add cooked chickpeas. Mix them with little oil, finely minced fresh garlic and ginger, garam masala, some chili powder, and lemon juice. Also, add salt to taste. Bake these spiced chickpeas in a preheated oven to develop the roasted taste.

Chickpeas marinated with authentic Indian spices and then toasted in the oven for making Chickpea Tikka Masala.

2. Preparing authentic tikka masala sauce

To prepare the sauce cook onion, garlic, ginger, tomato and raw cashews in little oil. At the end add cumin powder and coriander powder. Blend this masala base with water in a blender until smooth. Fry some chili powder in little oil in the frying pan and then add prepared masala. Finally, add some garam masala and salt according to taste. Once the sauce is ready, add toasted chickpeas. Mix well and serve warm.

Find instructions in detail below.

Chickpeas marinated with authentic Indian spices and then toasted in the oven for making Chickpea Tikka Masala.

What goes with tikka masala?

Serve this chickpea tikka masala with homemade naan bread, vegetarian biryani or chicken biryani, rice pulao, homemade mango lassi etc. It will be a perfect party menu. For the weeknight meal, you can serve it with plain rice or pulao or simple wheat flatbread (chapati).

Toasted chickpeas dunked in creamy tomato authentic tikka sauce to make this easy restaurant-style healthy chickpea tikka masala.

Vegetarian Tikka Masala – Helpful Tips!

  • Do not use overcooked chickpeas in this recipe. Preferably cook chickpeas at home. Just soak them for few hours and cook until tender, yet firm. You can use canned chickpeas too–just make sure they are not too soft to break easily. I use my Instant Pot to cook raw chickpeas. It takes 5-6 min to cook if chickpeas are soaked and around 30 min otherwise (without soaking).
  • Use fresh tomatoes for making the tikka masala sauce. It gives a nice fresh taste to the dish.
  • This dish is dairy-free or vegan. However, you can cheat and add a little cream at the end of cooking if you want.
Enjoy authentic Indian flavors in this Healthy Chickpea Tikka Masala. Simple and easy vegetarian tikka masala recipe for a weeknight meal or to serve in a party. | #watchwhatueat #tikkamasala #chickpea #chickpeacurry #Indiancooking


Toasted chickpeas dunked in creamy tomato authentic tikka sauce to make this easy restaurant-style healthy chickpea tikka masala.

Print Pin 4.89 from 17 votes

Restaurant Style Chickpea Tikka Masala | Vegetarian Tikka Masala

Toasted chickpeas dunked in creamy tomato authentic tikka sauce to make this restaurant-style healthy chickpea tikka masala. Course: Lunch / Dinner,Main CourseCuisine: Indian,Indian Inspired Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Total Time 35 minutes Servings :4 Calories :268kcal Author:Swati Kadam Gulati | Watch What U Eat


For Chickpea Tikka

  • 2 cup chickpeas cooked
  • 2-3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1/2″ ginger finely minced
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp  chili powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste

For Tikka Masala Sauce

  • 1 small onion cut in 8 pieces
  • 4 medium tomatoes cut in quarters
  • 2-3 garlic whole cloves
  • 1/2″ ginger peeled and cut into 2-3 pieces
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp oil divided
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt to taste


Chickpea Tikka

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • In a medium mixing bowl add and mix all the ingredients listed under Chickpea Tikka above. Spread it evenly on a nonstick baking tray.
  • Bake the chickpeas in preheated oven for 10 min. Using a spatula stir them and again continue baking for 10 more min.

Tikka Masala Sauce

  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp oil in a large frying pan or skillet. Add whole garlic cloves, ginger, and onion. Cook the onion until translucent for 2-3 min.
  • Then add tomatoes and raw cashews. Cook them until tomato softens and gives sauce like consistency for about 4-5 min. 
  • Now add cumin powder and coriander powder. Mix well and transfer this mixture to the blender jar, add 1 cup water and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Heat remaining oil in the frying pan on low heat. Add chili powder and cook it slightly until fragrant.
  • Add blended tomato mixture and bring it to boil.
  • Now add garam masala and salt to taste. Mix well and simmer (cover with lid) on low heat for 5 min.
  • Finally, add roasted chickpeas, garnish with cilantro and serve warm.



  1. You can add little more water if you do not want the sauce to be too thick for your liking.
  2. Use freshly ground roasted cumin and coriander seeds powder whenever possible. It really adds an amazing aroma and flavor to the dish. I usually roast around 1 tsp cumin and 2 tsp coriander seeds (for this recipe) together in a frying pan. And using a stone molcajete I crush the roasted seeds into powder.
  3. For more useful tips see the Helpful Tips section above.


Calories: 268kcal Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @watchwhatueat or tag #watchwhatueat! OR leave us a comment & rating below. Your feedback is very important to us.

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We are Swati and Tushar, our passion for food and cooking has now led us to share some healthy, tasty recipes and the benefits of eating certain ingredients with the goal of inspiring you to eat well and live well.

Reader Interactions


  1. Meghan & Melissa says February 25, 2019 at 8:06 am This looks great! Reply
  2. Image Earth Travel says February 25, 2019 at 8:15 am Looks delicious! Reply
  3. Bryan says February 25, 2019 at 8:17 am I have had the chicken variety, but never chickpeas. It sounds like a excellent, meatless alternative and highly nutritious, too! Reply
    • Gareth says November 17, 2020 at 1:52 pm Tasty, but just missing something! Gonna try with coconut milk rather than water next time (and possibly some desiccated coconut) – and appreciate that this makes it more like a passanda! Reply
  4. Jodi Graham says February 25, 2019 at 2:04 pm 5 stars Mmmmm oh my gosh this looks delish! I love this kind of recipe, that’s so healthy and high in protein without meat! And this gives me a perfect excuse to use up the rest of my garam masala LOL! Reply
  5. Sashi Sehgal says March 14, 2019 at 2:50 pm 5 stars This is a really tasty meal. The process of cooking the chickpeas twice is interesting and brings the flavour right out. Its a new family favourite. Thank you for this recipe, amazing! Reply
  6. Vera says June 08, 2019 at 7:18 pm 5 stars My husband and I quite enjoyed this! The chickpeas were so tasty and the sauce so delicious. We added some fresh basil as garnish, which added an unexpected complement. A new favorite for our house! Reply
  7. Kiley says July 31, 2019 at 1:02 am 5 stars My family and i really enjoyed this recipe! I enjoyed making it, too. Simple and fluid recipe. I didnt have enough tomatoes so i used 2 tomatoes and a tbsp of ketchup and it turned out well. Served with brown rice. Definitely will make again, and im excited to try it with all tomatoes next time! Reply
  8. Alta says August 03, 2019 at 4:52 pm 5 stars I’ve made this twice now. It’s super good. Both times I’ve added some mushrooms and peas. The roasted chickpeas are amazing. Reply
  9. Stephanie says August 04, 2019 at 2:19 pm I am making this for the first time, but mine doesn’t have that rich orange color of yoyrs or other tikka masalas I’ve had before. The flavor is good, might add a little more spice… But mine is more pink than what is typical. What am I missing??? I am making a double batch to freeze for food prepping for the school year. I really want to get this eight so I can make a lot of it for the future! Reply
    • Watch What U Eat says August 04, 2019 at 10:30 pm Hi Stephanie, Bright red-colored tomatoes and chili powder bring out that color in the tikka masala. You can also add a little concentrated tomato paste while cooking onions and tomatoes to enhance the color. Reply
  10. Priyanka says September 05, 2019 at 2:23 am Hi, what substitute could I use instead of cashews? Could I use blanched almonds? Reply
    • Watch What U Eat says September 19, 2019 at 9:54 pm Yes, you can use blanched almonds. Also, you can add dairy cream if you prefer. Reply
      • Leila says December 28, 2020 at 9:24 pm 5 stars This was my first time making tikka masala and it was restaurant-quality good! I didn’t have all the ingredients so I made a few substitutions and it worked out fine!
        · No lemon juice, used apple cider vinegar instead.
        · I only had a little bit of onion, so I added some dried onion to the tomato mix and blended it in.
        · I didn’t have cashews, so put the same amount of almonds in hot water and added them instead of the cashews. Turned out so good! Would add some extra veggies next time. Reply
  11. Erin Perkins says September 17, 2019 at 1:49 pm Are the cashews soaked before adding them to the recipe? Reply
    • Watch What U Eat says September 19, 2019 at 9:51 pm Hi Erin, There is no need to soak cashews for this recipe. Reply
  12. DeeGrz says September 22, 2019 at 5:58 pm Texture was a little different than I was expecting, but really likes this recipe. Will make again. Reply
  13. June Vejar says November 14, 2019 at 9:44 am 5 stars This recipe was absolutely delicious! You were right in saying that it was restaurant quality, that is exactly what my husband said. Can’t wait to make it again! Reply
  14. Brent Gross says December 12, 2019 at 1:17 pm 5 stars The suggestion to roast my chickpeas in a blend of spices and oil added a lot to this dish. I added green bell peppers, crushed cashews and halved grape tomatoes, and the result was excellent. Reply
  15. Sabrina says February 14, 2020 at 2:16 pm Loved this the first time I made it! Serving with some nice warm naan bread tops it off. I plan to make a double batch the next next time I make it so we have enough for leftovers. The first time I made it, I cooked the chickpeas in an instant pot. Wondering if I can skip this step by using canned chickpeas. If I use canned, do I need to cook them first? How would you recommend doing this? Reply
    • Watch What U Eat says February 16, 2020 at 6:43 pm Hi Sabrina, I am glad that you loved the dish. You can use canned chickpeas instead of cooking chickpeas at home. As far as I know, canned chickpeas are precooked and you can just use them in the recipe without the need to cook them. I hope this helps. Reply
  16. Tara says February 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm I would love to make this!!! However I have but allergies. What can I use instead of cashews? Is there a good substitute?
    ???? Thank you Reply
    • Chris says January 10, 2021 at 6:57 pm This is really delicious and simple. Excellent served over rice. I made it with coconut milk instead of water due to Gareth’s comment and I highly recommend it. Reply
      • Mary says July 28, 2021 at 7:00 pm Another alternative that turned out delicious, is adding some yogurt to the masala. It created a creamy texture and added a nice flavour. I highly recommend this addition. Oh, I also added a bit more cumin and garam masala because our family loves a punch of flavour in our food! Reply
  17. Kitty says May 07, 2020 at 9:59 pm 4 stars Flavor of this dish was wonderful, I really liked it. The only problem I had was the texture of the chick peas. I soaked and cooked my own until firm and tender. The roasting gave kind of a starchy, dry, stale texture to the chickpeas. Not sure what I did wrong there. I think next time I will just sautee chickpeas with the spices and then add into the tikka sauce for soft, moist texture.. Reply
  18. Freddy says May 27, 2020 at 8:12 am 5 stars The Tikka was super yummy and easy to cook! Reply
  19. Angela says October 28, 2020 at 1:19 pm 5 stars I was happy to find a tikka masala recipe without cream or coconut milk in it. This turned out so rich and creamy and… heavenly really. Thank you so much for this recipe. It was easy and delicious, and I’m sure I’ll be making it again and again, maybe substituting other vegetables, like cauliflower and/or sweet potatoes, for the chickpeas sometimes. Reply
  20. Lady E says February 01, 2021 at 8:53 pm 5 stars Great recipe! I was looking for something to do with leftover chickpeas, and this recipe came up. It was perfect, and I had exactly the right amount of chickpeas! I will definitely be making this again. I loved how quickly I was able to make it, too. Reply
  21. Megan Gleeson says February 24, 2021 at 5:24 am 5 stars Love the sound of this recipe! Going to make it tonight. However, I have a nut allergy and don’t like coconut milk, is there anything I can use as an alternative? Thanks! Reply
    • Watch What U Eat says February 24, 2021 at 11:13 am Hi Megan, you can use dairy cream instead. Reply
  22. Laurie says March 18, 2021 at 1:15 pm 4 stars Made this tonight for dinner and it was really good! Served it with some naan bread. I did only 4 stars because it didn’t make much for a family of 4. I was hoping for some leftovers. Reply
  23. Debra Cochran says July 10, 2021 at 8:56 pm 5 stars This was absolutely delicious! I will put this in my favorite recipe folder. Great comfort food. Thank you for sharing! Reply
  24. Dave G says July 29, 2021 at 9:46 am 5 stars I added about 1/8 tsp. of chilli powder to both the chickpeas and the sauce which brought some nice heat to the dish. Also had to sub in a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes for the tomato portion since I didn’t have any fresh. My kids who can be fairly picky eaters loved it. Three of us had no problems polishing it off, need to possibly double next time to have leftovers. Reply
  25. Katie says August 07, 2021 at 8:56 pm I am super excited to try this recipe! One question though: I have some tikka masala spice in my cabinet. Could I use that instead of the garam masala in this recipe? My knowledge of these spices is currently almost zero 😅 Reply
    • Watch What U Eat says August 10, 2021 at 9:44 am Hi Katie, Tikka masala spice should also work in this recipe. Reply

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