A delicious tofu tikka masala recipe made without onions or garlic. Tofu is marinated in aromatic spices and creamy non dairy yogurt, then baked and simmered in a rich Indian tomato gravy. A vegan spin on paneer tikka masala and one of the best restaurant-style Indian dishes to make at home.
This easy vegan recipe for Tofu Tikka Masala is made without garlic and onions. A plant-based spin made with tofu, that is vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free but is simultaneously indulgent and oh-so-creamy thanks to the addition of vegan yogurt.
This is better than anything you might have eaten at a restaurant! I am talking about pure harmony of flavors: tangy, spicy, and buttery, just how we like it. I love making a big pot of this as leftovers are just so good the next day! As with all Indian curries, the flavor of the gravy tends to get stronger as the sauce or dish sits for a while.
Tikka Masala is the tangier cousin of butter chicken sauce. The tikka, protein is marinated in a tangy yogurt spice based marinade and baked or roasted to make the tikka. In this version I omit the onion and garlic. Spices like kala namak(Indian sulphur salt) are added to compensate for the garlic paste that would be in the marinade. Zucchini makes up the volume instead of onion in the sauce. If you aren’t avoiding onion or garlic, feel free to add them.
Like with all my Indian Recipes, I try to keep the flavors as authentic as possible while making the recipe as simple as possible. You can change up things based on availability and preference. If you are out of some of the spices, don’t worry. It doesn’t affect the amazing flavor, the sauce will be flavorful enough and some changes here and there don’t affect the overall deliciousness.
If you don’t want to use tofu, you can just make the sauce and add in chickpeas or other veggies such as roasted pumpkin/sweet potato/butternut squash or make my cauliflower tikka masala
If you make this Tikka Masala, do let me know how you liked it ! Do tag me on social #veganricha
I started posting on tik tok. Some short content with everyday food and behinds the scenes.
More Indian Recipes:
- Aloo Gobi
- Amazing Korma
- Tofu Vindaloo -spicy chili sauce
- jalfrezi – smoky pepper sauce
- Tofu Amritsari Masala
- Mushroom Matar Masala
- Bombay Potato and Peas
Tofu Tikka Masala (No Onion, No Garlic)
For the tofu tikka:
- 14 ounces (396.89 g) of firm or extra firm tofu pressed for at least 15 minutes and then cubed
For the marinade:
- 1 teaspoon mustard oil or regular oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon Indian Sulfur Salt(Kala Namak)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mango powder (amchur) or use lime juice
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves Kasoori Methi
- 1 teaspoon flour or cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons non dairy yogurt
For the sauce:
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 hot green chili finely chopped I use serrano or Indian chilies. Use mild chilies for less heat
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or Indian Red Chili Powder
- a generous pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves kasoori methi
- 1/2 cup (62 g) peeled and thinly sliced zucchini
- 1.5 cup (223.5 g) chopped tomatoes
- 6 to 8 ounces (170 g) tomato puree
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) non-dairy yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (111.75 g) sliced or cubed green bell pepper optional
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- cilantro and pepper flakes for garnish
- Make the tofu tikka: In a bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients until well combined. Then add pressed and cubed tofu and toss well to coat.
- Spread this tofu over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Keep the cubes atleast half an inch away from each other. Bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit (205 c) for 20-25 minutes.
- Make the sauce: Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in the cumin seeds and cook until they're fragrant.
- Then add in the bay leaves and green chili and continue to cook for a minute. Then add in the rest of the spices. Coriander, cardamom, black pepper, cayenne, fenugreek leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix well for a few seconds.
- Then add in the zucchini and cook until the zucchini starts to get translucent. Add in the tomatoes and a pinch of salt and cook. Add in a few splashes of water if needed. Cook until the tomatoes are tender. mash the larger pieces. about 3-5 minutes.
- Then add in your tomato puree, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and mix well and bring to a boil.
- You can, at this point, add in half of a green bell pepper thinly sliced as well (optional) . Add 1/2 a cup of water or non dairy milk and add in the baked tofu and mix well.
- Bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, adjust consistency if needed by adding more non dairy milk for saucier. Taste and adjust salt and flavor. Add a touch of sugar to cut through the tang if needed.
- Add a good smoked paprika just before switching off heat for the smoky flavor. See notes for other ways to add smoky flavor. Garnish with pepper flakes, cilantro (and optionally with non dairy cream drizzle) and serve with Naan or rice.
- Extra firm tofu is required for this recipe. Anything softer will fall apart.
- Non dairy yogurt: use a thick and creamy variety! A thin variety of yogurt will add more liquid and make the marinade and gravy watery.
- whole spices: bay leaves, cumin
- ground spices: ground cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, cardamom,
- fresh chili and Indian chili powder are added for heat.
- fenugreek leaves adds a bold, savory flavor to the marinade and the masala
- Indian Sulfur Salt or Kala Namak makes the tofu taste tangier like tikka
- veggies: bell pepper, chopped tomatoes, zucchini
- tomato paste is added for body, sweetness and acidity
- lemon juice adds freshness
- Pressing the tofu before baking is important. If you have a tofu press, use that. If not, wrap the tofu in a thin dish towel and weigh it down with a heavy book or a plate weighted down by several cans. Remove the towel after 10 minutes, replace it with a fresh one, and repeat.
- To make this dish with onion and garlic, just substitute the zucchini with 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic.
- To make this less spicy reduce or omit the chili powder and remove the seeds from the green chilies and use less
- Indian red chile powder is close to cayenne as it’s a pure chili powder. Use either cayenne or Indian chili powder. Chili powder blends have other ingredients such as oregano and onion etc which don’t work in Indian recipes
Make the tofu tikka: In a bowl, mix all the marinate ingredients until well combined. Then add your pressed and cubed tofu and toss well to coat.
Distribute this tofu over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Keep the cubes at least half an inch away from each other. Bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit (205 c) for 20-25 minutes.
Make the sauce: Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in the cumin seeds and cook until they’re fragrant.
Then add in the bay leaves and chili and continue to cook for a minute.
Then add in the rest of the spices. Coriander, cardamom, black pepper, cayenne, fenugreek leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix well for a few seconds.
Then add in the zucchini and cook until the zucchini starts to get translucent.
Add in your tomatoes and a pinch of salt and cook. Add in a few splashes of water if needed. Cook until the tomatoes are tender. mash the larger pieces. about 3-5 minutes.
Then add in your tomato puree, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and mix well and bring to a boil.
You can, at this point, add in thinly sliced half of a green bell pepper as well.
Add 1/2 a cup of water and add in the baked tofu and mix well.
Simmer for 5-7 minutes then garnish with pepper flakes, cilantro and serve with rice or Rotis or naan.
To make it With onion garlic: substitute the zucchini with 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic
How long do leftovers last?
Store leftovers in the fridge for upto 4 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.