Vegan Tofu Tikka Masala

Vegan tofu tikka masala recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Marinate Time: 60 mins
Total: 115 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
231 Calories
14g Fat
13g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 231
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 367mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Protein 17g
Calcium 501mg 39%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Try this vegan version of the classic and wildly popular British and Indian dish known as tikka masala that uses tofu in place of chicken or another meat protein. Many Hindus in India eat a vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian diet with recipes using grains such as rice and wheat, legumes, green vegetables, and soy products. This dish adds plenty of aromatic and flavorful spices with these grains, and your home will be filled with a tantalizing aroma. Taking less than an hour to make, you will be going back for seconds when you sit down to enjoy this meal.

As with most Indian recipes, there are quite a few spices that go into the perfect recipe. Turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, and paprika will have your taste buds enjoying this dish. If you don't have one or two of them on hand, you can still make it and have a good result. More important than the spices is to make sure your tofu is well pressed. For an even more flavorful dish, you also can freeze the tofu, thaw it, and then gently press it again. 

Serve your tofu tikka masala with steamed rice or naan (a popular Indian flatbread) for a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) package firm or extra-firm tofu (well pressed)
  • For the Tofu Marinade:
  • 4 ounces soy yogurt (vanilla, plain, or lemon flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the Vegan Tikka Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or another neutral oil like safflower, canola, or peanut oil)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 ounces soy yogurt
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • Serving Suggestion: steamed rice or naan

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this masala dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Prepare the Tofu and Marinade

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for marinade
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Cut the pressed tofu into bite-sized cubes and arrange them in a wide shallow pan in a single layer. Set aside while making the marinade.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 4 ounces of soy yogurt with the oil, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, and salt until well blended.

    Whisk together marinade ingredients
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  4. Cover the pieces of tofu with the marinade. (You also can place the marinade and the tofu cubes in a plastic zip-top bag and very gently shake it to make sure the tofu is covered with marinade on all sides.) Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 F.

    Tofu marinading

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Bake the tofu in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice.

    Bake tofu

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Make the Tikka Sauce

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or sauté pan. Add tomatoes, cumin, paprika, the 4 ounces of soy yogurt for the tikka sauce, and if you have any extra marinade from the tofu, you also can add that to the sauce mixture. Heat until the sauce is well combined and slightly thickened, about 8 minutes.

    Tikka sauce ingredients in pan
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Add the tofu, stirring just until heated through and the tofu is well coated in tikka masala sauce. Serve over steamed rice or naan, if desired.

    Add tofu to skillet
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Tip

  • Pan-frying also will work if you're short on time, but it is highly recommended to try baking the cubed tofu for maximum flavor. They will come out of the oven absolutely delicious, and you might be tempted to eat them all up then and there, but try to resist and finish making the rest of this recipe.

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