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I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely adore spicy foods. A good amount of seasoning really just makes a dish for me. It’s pretty easy to find pre-made vegan foods in all flavor profiles, but they’re basically all 99% carbs. Seriously, rice and beans is pretty ubiquitous culturally, but doesn’t really work for those of us eating a low carb or keto diet. So, as with so many other things, I decided that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, and got to work making a low carb vegan tikka masala for my own dinner enjoyment.
Straight off, I should note that if you don’t do soy, you totally don’t have to use the tofu in this recipe. You can easily sub in jackfruit, or something like Beyond Meat’s “chicken” strips no problem. It will be just as delicious. Soy aside, this recipe is not only vegan, but is also nut free, gluten free and grain free. We did it, guys! When made with the jackfruit, it’s even paleo, if that’s your thing.
Notes on Making Low Carb Vegan Tikka Masala
- Is this totally traditional? Sure isn’t, but it’s definitely in the spirit of a traditional tikka masala, and it tastes darn good!
- Typically, tikka misala has quite a bit more tomato puree added, but since that’s pretty high in carbs, I went with a modest amount. If you really aren’t too carb-conscious, you can definitely add in a whole cup, or even 14 ounce can.
- I cook the cauliflower rice right in the sauce, because I don’t love cleaning a million pans, or spending half my life standing in front of a stove, but you can definitely cook it separately and serve the sauce over top.
- This recipe calls for a bunch of spices and a bit of garam masala spice blend, but if you don’t have an overstocked spice cabinet, you can easily just use about 4 tbsp of a tikka masala spice blend.
- To add 10g of protein, some omega-3 fatty acids, and 5g of fiber to this with no additional net carbs, sprinkle on 3 tbsp hemp hearts! This is my favorite way to boost the nutritional profile of my meals.
- The sugars in this mostly come from the coconut milk and tomato puree. If you really want to cut down on the carbs, you can omit the tomato puree, but the sauce will be thicker and less tangy!
Low Carb Vegan Tikka Masala
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil, whatever floats your boat
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 1 package extra firm tofu drained and cubed
- 1 package 3 cups cauliflower rice
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp powdered ginger or fresh for a fun kick
- salt to taste
- 3-4 tbsp tikka masala spice blend depending on your preference OR the following...
- 1 tablespoon Garam Masala spice blend
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add in onion, garlic, ginger, spice blend, tomato puree and coconut milk. Stir until completely combined.
- Add in cubed tofu, cover the pan and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. You want the sauce to have nicely permeated the tofu, and for the tofu to cook.
- Add in the cauliflower rice and continue cooking until the rice is soft. This time will depend on whether you are using frozen or fresh cauliflower. Fresh takes a little bit longer. Basically, you'll want to check on this every five minutes or so.