Wellness tips to make cauliflower tikka masala for a healthy plant-based diet

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

Elise Museles
March 28, 2021

If there was ever a dish to convince people that plant-based food can be full of flavor and satisfying, too, this is it! The perfectly seasoned cauliflower combines with healing spices and a bold, creamy sauce that will leave you feeling comforted and nourished from the inside out. Coconut milk is used in place of dairy for a lighter take on this Indian-inspired meal.


Serves 4

2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 lb), cored and cut into florets
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ cups crushed tomatoes (one 14.5 oz can or jar)
1 cup coconut milk or coconut cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste (can substitute lemon)
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
Steamed basmati or brown rice for serving

How to Make Cauliflower Tikka Masala

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. In a small bowl, whisk together the garam masala, turmeric, cumin, paprika, and salt. 

  2. Put the cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Toss until evenly coated. Add 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture and toss until evenly coated. 

  3. Spread the cauliflower into an even layer. Roast, turning once until the cauliflower is nicely golden and crisp-tender, about 12 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, occasionally stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato paste and remaining spice mixture. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  5. Add the tomatoes and 1/4 cup water and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is fragrant and thickens slightly about 8 minutes. 

  6. Add the roasted cauliflower, coconut milk, and lime (or lemon) juice and simmer until the cauliflower is done to your liking and the sauce is warmed through. Stir in the chopped cilantro.

  7. Serve with rice, garnished with cilantro leaves.


  • Want it spicy? Add ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper when you add the spice mixture to the pan with the tomato paste.

  • Want a smooth sauce? Puree with an immersion blender before adding the cauliflower.

  • Want more protein? Add in cooked red lentils for a balanced meal.


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Stay healthy!  Here's another great article from Elise Museles-Bug Busters: An Immune Boosting Routine to Start Right Now.


Reprinted with permission from EliseMuseles.com

Elise Museles, nutritionist, food coach, author, health coach, podcast hostElise Museles is a Certified Eating Psychology and Nutrition Expert, creator of the Food Story platform, and the wildly popular blog Kale & Chocolate. As an author, speaker, health coach, and podcast host, Elise’s mission is to empower women to create a healthier relationship with food and their bodies by changing what’s on their plate – and what’s in their minds.

Elise recently launched her podcast, Once Upon A Food Story, where she shares the “Food Stories” of leading health experts such as Kimberly Snyder, Dr. Frank Lipman, Robyn Youkilis, and more. She’s also the best-selling author of Whole Food Energy: 200 All-Natural Recipes to Help You Prepare, Refuel, and Recover.