Vegetarian Tikka Masala

Vegetarian tikka masala (click through for recipe)I think I most often see this dish prepared with chicken. Which is a bummer for me because this sauce has an amazing flavor, but I don't often eat chicken. So, of course, I'm learning to make it at home. Problem solved.

Vegetarian tikka masala (click through for recipe)  This is in no way a traditional tikka masala, but rather just how I like it. I hope you like it too. It's got tons of spice, tempeh to make it filling, and crunchy cashews on top. The cashews are probably the most nontraditional thing about how I make this, or at least a contender. But I just love adding nuts to tons of different dishes. They add crunch, flavor, and a little bit more protein.

How to make vegetarian tikka masalaVegetarian Tikka Masala, serves 2-3.
Adapted from Chicken Tikka Masala via Epicurious

1 cup uncooked rice (I used brown jasmine)
2 teaspoons coriander
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
4 tablespoons butter (or ghee)
1 small onion (or half a medium-size onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato paste
2 cups water
2/3 cup cream (I used half and half)
8 ounces tempeh
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped cashews
one lime, for serving

Begin by cooking your rice according the the package directions. You could also choose to skip the rice and serve this with naan instead. Or both. 🙂

How to make vegetarian tikka masala While the rice cooks, get the sauce and tempeh ready. In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute. Then add the garlic and ginger, and cook for an additional minute. Now toss in the tomato paste, water, cream, and all the spices. Pro tip: I put all the spices in a small bowl before I begin cooking since it takes a little bit to measure all that out.

Add in the cubed tempeh and cook until everything is hot. If your sauce seems too thick, add a little more water or cream. Taste and season with salt if needed. 

Vegetarian tikka masala (click through for recipe) Once you're ready to serve, sprinkle on the chopped cashews and cilantro and a lime wedge. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions