Vegetarian Tikka Masala Curry

Wow! We’ve been missing in action for some time! New things have been made, but new things haven’t been posted, which makes me a sad panda. I’ve been wanting to share the experience of creating a meat-less, paleo recipe for Thanksgiving. Life has been so busy that I haven’t gotten a moment to share created recipes as much as I’d like to. I hope that you enjoy this as much as we did!

My brother-in-law puts together a Thanksgiving feast every year, and the food this year was exceptionally delicious and indulgent. This is one of the few days a year that I cheat (happily) on my diet; damn the consequences! I look forward to his Dutch Apple Pie and Corn Pudding each year. I’m extremely grateful for the fact that he’s quite conscientious of all my food restrictions, and he tells me what ingredients are inside each dish–especially if there are ingredients that might kill me. I also like asking him how he cooked any of his recipes, because he talks about cooking with the same kind of excitement that the Hubster and I share. He shows his love and affection for others through his passion for cooking. He’s quite good at it, and nothing pleases him more than seeing a table full of guests thoroughly contented by his food. This means that Thanksgiving can be quite a magical time for him and his family, with his house filled with the aromas of mouth-watering foods and compliments of happiness.

One of my nephews attended the Thanksgiving feast. He has an allergy to milk, and recently, he has chosen to eat more vegetarian meals. (I haven’t asked if it is for health reasons or personal choice, but either way, eating healthier is always a good switch!) Because my brother-in-law was quite busy with preparing the traditional Thanksgiving meal, I thought that I’d take a shot at creating a vegetarian dish that my nephew could enjoy since all of us were responsible for bringing a little something edible to contribute to the festivities. This way, I’d know exactly what ingredients were in at least one dish, and I’ve gotten quite good at cooking without dairy. (Baking is another story.) I gave my sister-in-law a few options to present to my nephew, and he wanted to dine on a vegetarian curry. Not a problem, because I can make a curry with big, bold flavors where the heat level could be customizable.

I was surprised that the rest of the family enjoyed it, especially since it was the first time I’d ever thrown it together. I was told to make it again, and my sister-in-law asked me for the recipe. My nephew was quite pleased with his vegetarian entrée, and got a big smile on his face when I asked if he enjoyed it. He even went back for seconds! Success!

Normally, I’d just make my own Tikka Masala, but a crunch for time sent me to the store for Patak’s Tikka Masala sauce. Almost tasted as good as mine. Almost. Nothing beats homemade, though. I would suggest throwing my recipe for the tikka masala sauce together instead of using store-bought if you’re making this as a meat-less option for a meal. Just follow the instructions in the tikka masala chicken recipe for the sauce (not the marinade). Furthermore, if you really must have chickpeas, they wouldn’t be difficult to add. What I liked about this recipe is that you can put it in a slow-cooker for several hours and walk away. How awesome is that?

This makes a lot; my 6-quart slow-cooker was filled to the brim. I was cooking for 20+ people, not just my nephew. So whatever is leftover, freeze and save for a rainy day! Or cut the recipe in half.


A delicious, vegan option for curry! Healthy and heart-warming.

Vegetarian Tikka Masala Curry

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes


  • Tikka Masala Curry
  • 1 large Butternut Squash, de-seeded, peeled, and cubed
  • 3 Gala Apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 large Sweet Onion
  • 2 cups small Cauliflower Florets
  • 2 cups chopped Spinach
  • 2 cans low sodium Chickpeas, drained (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped, peeled Carrots (or Baby Carrots)
  • 2 14.5-oz cans of Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
  • 6-8 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 TBSP Ginger, minced
  • 2 cups low sodium Vegetable Stock
  • 1 can full-fat Coconut Milk (or low fat)
  • 1/2 cup Tikka Masala sauce
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 1 TBSP Ground White Pepper
  • 1/2 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Curry
  • 1/2 TBSP Siracha Sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes (optional)
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil


  1. In a skillet, sautée the gala apple, onions, and ginger together in olive oil until tender.
  2. Add minced garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Stir frequently so that garlic doesn't burn.
  3. Add tikka masala sauce. Cook for 7-8 minutes.Then transfer the tikka masala mixture to the crockpot.
  4. Add butternut squash, cauliflower, carrots, and chickpeas.
  5. Add tomatoes, and then vegetable stock.
  6. Add spices: 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/2 TBSP Garlic powder, 1 tsp cumin, white pepper, 2 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp Ground Curry, 1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes, and Siracha sauce.
  7. Add 3 bay leaves, cover, and cook on low for 6 hours
  8. Add chopped spinach and coconut milk. Stir, cover, and continue cooking for 2 hours.
  9. Serve alone, with rice, or with quinoa.


Frozen spinach can be used instead of regular spinach. Thaw the spinach thoroughly, and then squeeze out the excess water.

© Julie Marie Pierpont and Death Defying Diet 2013-Present

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