Vegan Tempeh Tikka Masala

Vegan tempeh tikka masala made with coconut yogurt and coconut milk that will leave you with all the comfort feels minus all the heavy feels. You’ll love this healthy spin on traditional Indian food.  

If you’ve been following EBF for a minute, you know that I’m obsessed with tempeh and that I LOVE Indian food, so it was only a matter of time before I created a vegan version of one of my favorite Indian dishes. 

Tempeh tikka masala with cauliflower rice and fork

Healthy Indian Food at Home

Indian food is one of our go-to takeout options, so when I created my own version of tikka masala with tempeh we had a little celebration. Now we can enjoy this Indian dish any night we please (and don’t have to wait 45 minutes for delivery!). The longest part of the recipe is when the tempeh is marinating; besides that, this is ready in no time. 

Up Close photo of Vegan Tempeh Tikka Masala with two forks.

What is Tempeh?

It’s a plant-based protein made of cooked soybeans that have been fermented. It’s a great plant-based protein option that’s a great source of fiber and is high in vitamins and minerals.

Tempeh is similar to tofu, however there are some differences – tempeh is less processed, fermented, has a stronger flavor and a bit more texture. The flavor is usually described as nutty or earthy, but there are different varieties with subtle taste differences.

My biggest tip when it comes to tempeh is to marinate or pair it with a flavorful, robust sauce so it can take on the flavors of the dish it’s a part of. This tempeh tikka masala is a great example of both! Not only are you marinating the tempeh in advance, but you’re also coating it in a well-rounded sauce with tons of flavor.

I’ve tried a ton of different tempeh varieties and Lightlife is definitely my favorite for a few reasons: it’s organic, GMO-free and easy to find at mainstream stores.

Tempeh tikka masala with package of Lightlife Tempeh on the side

Tempeh Tikka Masala Ingredients

  • tempeh
  • unsweetened plain coconut yogurt
  • apple cider vinegar
  • coconut oil
  • onion
  • garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • tomato sauce
  • full-fat coconut milk
  • frozen peas
  • cilantro
  • spices and seasonings: ground cumin, ground ginger, garam masala, chili powder, turmeric and sea salt
  • rice or cauliflower rice (for serving)
  • hot sauce of choice or cayenne pepper (optional)

Two bowls of vegan tempeh tikka masala with microplane and forks.

How to Serve Tempeh Tikka Masala

Make this dish your own by pairing it with sides of your choice and adjusting the spice level to your taste. I highly recommend serving it over rice or cauliflower rice with a few pieces of naan to soak up the delicious sauce. And of course we like things spicy over here, so we added a little sriracha on top. There’s no shame in my hot sauce game. I add it to everything… even salads!

Vegan Tempeh Tikka Masala up close with a fork

More Indian Cuisine Inspired Recipes to Try:

More Tempeh Recipes to Try:

Be sure to let me know if you try this vegan tempeh tikka masala recipe by leaving a comment and rating the recipe below. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers. 

Print
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Tempeh tikka masala with chickpeas on cauliflower rice on a white plate.

Tempeh Tikka Masala


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Vegan tempeh tikka masala made with coconut yogurt and milk. You’ll love this healthy spin on traditional Indian food.  


Ingredients

Tempeh:

  • 8 oz package Lightlife Original Tempeh, chopped into cubes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain coconut yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Tikka Masala Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • rice or cauliflower rice for serving
  • hot sauce of choice or cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make tempeh marinade by combining all ingredients (yogurt, apple cider vinegar, cumin, ginger, garam masala and sea salt) in a bowl. Add chopped tempeh and stir until well coated. Place bowl in the fridge to allow the tempeh to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Once tempeh is done marinating, start preparing the sauce. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat with coconut oil. Add onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Add spices and toss to combine, then add in tomato sauce, coconut milk, frozen peas and marinated tempeh.
  3. Turn heat down to medium-low and let mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes or until sauce has thickened and everything is heated throughout.
  4. Remove from heat and serve tempeh tikka masala over a bed of rice (regular or cauliflower) with fresh cilantro on top.

Notes

For extra heat feel free to add a little ground cayenne to the spice mixture while cooking or top with hot sauce.

  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/3 of recipe
  • Calories: 430
  • Sugar: 14g
  • Fat: 23g
  • Carbohydrates: 39g
  • Fiber: 13g
  • Protein: 21g

Keywords: Tempeh Tikka Masala, vegan Tikka Masala

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Recipe rating

    37 comments
    1. Lillian Donaldson
      March 4, 2021 AT 1:42 pm

      Can you use tofu in place of tempeh? I’d imagine so, but not sure.I was going to make this today. Not sure if you’ll get this question in time.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 5, 2021 AT 1:28 am

        That should be just fine!

    2. Kristen
      February 1, 2021 AT 9:52 pm

      This was so delicious! My mom does not typically love Indian food OR tempeh, but she loved this! It is so yummy, comforting, and nutritious. We served over brown rice and was great.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 3, 2021 AT 10:30 am

        Woo!! I’m so glad it was a hit!! Thanks for the review, Kristen. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    3. Leola
      January 19, 2021 AT 8:26 pm

      Fantastic! This is so rich, flavorful and delicious you don’t miss that there isn’t meat. Feel better after, both physically and cognitively from eating plant-based. This recipe is great because it’s adaptable too — I only had 1/2 can of lite coconut milk, didn’t have peas so I cut kale steams into pea size and added chopped kale leaves later, served it over brown rice noodles. Great recipe, thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 20, 2021 AT 12:01 pm

        I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Leola. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

    4. Anna Maria Hagelios
      January 18, 2021 AT 8:26 pm

      Excellent recipe! Prefer it to non-vegan recipe. The whole family loved it. Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 20, 2021 AT 12:17 pm

        Ahh yay!! That makes me so happy to hear. Thanks for the review, I so appreciate it!

    5. Anne Colaiacovo
      January 16, 2021 AT 6:45 pm

      So yummy! And so so easy to make! It was perfect for me as a vegan and my husband who follows a Keto diet.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 17, 2021 AT 7:24 pm

        So glad this recipe was a hit, Anne! Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I appreciate it!

    6. ANGELIA RAMOS
      December 6, 2020 AT 1:08 pm

      Can not wait to try this tonight for dinner. I transitioned to veganism 3 months ago and feel amazing. I have been surprised there is such a great amount of flavors/recipes available to make this lifestyle change so easy. I do not have coconut plain yogurt only cashew plain yogurt so I’m hoping this substitution will not make a difference in the flavor. I will update.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 8, 2020 AT 1:15 am

        Let me know how it turns out for you!!

        1. ANGELIA RAMOS
          December 8, 2020 AT 11:07 am

          This turned out AMAZING!!! One of my top favorite vegan recipes now! Thank you for sharing and love your site!

          1. Brittany Mullins
            December 8, 2020 AT 7:16 pm

            Woo!! That makes me so happy to hear. I’m glad this recipe was a hit. Thanks for making it. 🙂

    7. Millie
      October 14, 2020 AT 8:48 pm

      I’m looking forward to making this for dinner this week! However I’m unsure if I’m supposed to add both the tempeh AND the marinade to the sauce, or just the tempeh? Thanks for your help 🙂

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 16, 2020 AT 2:36 am

        Hey Millie – the marinated tempeh is added to the sauce all together.

    8. Chantal
      May 5, 2020 AT 8:16 pm

      I am a vegan and my boyfriend is not but likes to try everything I cook. He likes tempeh which we always fry in a pan and serve in a sandwich. I really love Indian food. Wasn’t too sure about the mix of tempeh with Indian spices and yogurt but just made it anyway. It was absolutely amazing. The taste was perfect! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 6, 2020 AT 11:24 pm

        Ahh yay!! That makes me so happy to hear, Chantal. I’m so glad this recipe was a hit! Thanks for giving it a chance and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it!

    9. Yvonne
      April 3, 2020 AT 8:39 pm

      I think this might be my favorite of your tempeh recipes. I use light coconut milk and sometimes have to substitute pureed tomatoes plus a tablespoon or so tomato paste when I don’t have tomato sauce on hand…it always turns out absolutely deliciously. I especially like it over cauliflower rice.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 5, 2020 AT 11:33 pm

        Ahh yay!! That makes me so happy to hear, Yvonne. 🙂 Thanks for coming back to leave a comment and star rating, I really appreciate it!

    10. Emily
      February 22, 2020 AT 12:03 pm

      Can this be done with chicken?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 23, 2020 AT 2:33 pm

        Hey Emily – I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it would turn out delicious with chicken. Let me know if you end up trying it and how it turns out.

    11. Allie
      February 3, 2020 AT 7:21 pm

      Oh my gosh! This was so delicious!! We made a double batch for leftovers and served over cauli rice and Banza rice. Perfect Tikka flavor – definitely a new recipe to add to the regular dinner rotation!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 4, 2020 AT 12:23 am

        Yay!! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe Allie. 🙂 I really appreciate you coming back to leave a comment + star rating!

    12. Catriona Bain
      December 2, 2019 AT 5:48 am

      Could you use tofu instead?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 2, 2019 AT 12:02 pm

        I haven’t tried it with tofu yet, but I think it should work just fine. Just be sure to use extra-firm tofu and press it to remove all the liquid. Let me know if you try it! 🙂

    13. Wendy
      April 22, 2019 AT 11:19 pm

      I’ve got some tempeh in the fridge that needs using and have wanted to try something different than my usual tempeh buffalo wings–came upon this recipe and will be trying it this week!

    14. Archie
      November 14, 2018 AT 9:14 pm

      I have been wanting to substitute tofu with tempeh in my meals because tempeh is fermented and a better form of soy to have, but was seriously struggling to get a good recipe. I tried this today and it was just DELISH!My husband loved it too and was digging into my plate after he was done with his :D. I could not have imagined this happening ever for a tempeh dish – lol. Bonus points also because it was so easy to prepare. In fact, I am going to use the same recipe to make Paneer tikka masala too. Thank you – this recipe is indeed a find!

    15. Julie
      July 12, 2018 AT 9:07 pm

      Awesome, delicious recipe. I’ve made it twice now, once with double tempeh because I needed more protein. I add extra spices (nearly double what is listed, plus curry and cayenne). I serve it with brown rice. Such incredible flavor! I’ve never been happy with tempeh until this recipe. Thank you!

    16. LISA
      February 18, 2018 AT 1:54 pm

      This is fantastic! Made it exactly as written and really loved it. My first time cooking with tempeh. I am not vegan but feel and look better with more plant based foods in my diet. I am freezing the rest of it in containers with rice for my lunches. I have gotten in the habit on Sunday of cooking healthy soups and other things that freeze well to grab on my way out the door every morning. It is so nice to have a healthy and delicious meal at work.

    17. Rebecca
      February 14, 2018 AT 10:03 pm

      Making this for my special Valentine! It smells so delicious in my kitchen right now. Can’t wait to eat!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 15, 2018 AT 7:14 pm

        Yay!! I hope it turned out to be delicious for you and your Valentine. 🙂

    18. kelsie
      February 14, 2018 AT 1:31 pm

      Is it okay to marinate the tempeh overnight?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 14, 2018 AT 2:27 pm

        Totally!!

    19. nicole nascimento
      February 12, 2018 AT 11:39 am

      this looks amazing! cant wait to try it. would the recipe work with light canned coconut milk?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 12, 2018 AT 11:54 am

        Totally. I love using full-fat because it makes things extra rich and creamy but light canned coconut milk will certainly work!

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