Healthy Indian food at home that’s better than takeout, and plant-based too! This vegan tikka masala simmer sauce is a great make-ahead for an easy weeknight dinner.



  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, optional
  • 1 tablespoon peeled ginger root, grated (about a 1-inch piece)
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 3/4 cups water, plus more to thin sauce if needed
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional


  1. In a large skillet, saute the onion in for 3-5 minutes, until translucent. I don’t typically use oil for this, but will often add a splash of water if the onions are sticking to the pan.
  2. Add the ginger, coriander, cumin, cardamom, paprika, nutmeg, and cayenne, if using, and cook for a minute or two, just to wake up the spices. Remove from heat while you blend up the sauce.
  3. In a blender or food processor, puree the tomato sauce, water, cashews, and salt until smooth.
  4. Add the sauce mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until thickened.
  5. At this point, add your choice of plant-based protein (chickpeas or tofu are great!), simmer until warmed through, adding water a bit at a time if the sauce is thickening too much.
  6. Serve over rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, or whatever other starch you prefer, and top with chopped cilantro if you like.


MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Double or triple the batch and store 1 to 2 quarts in the freezer for future meals. You have all the ingredients out anyway, might as well make them work for you!

Adapted from Epicurious


  • Serving Size: 1.5 cups
  • Calories: 209