Chickpea Tikka Masala

Chickpea Tikka Masala | A Sweet SpoonfulWeeknight dinners were something I rarely gave much thought to as an actual subject in and of themselves until we had Oliver. Before, there wasn’t any urgency around the dinner hour: we poured a glass of wine, opened the cupboards and chatted about what may or may not sound good. I remember taking lots of pre-dinner walks, admiring all of the bungalows in our neighborhood, or running down to the beach with Sam before we’d come back into the house, sweaty and tired and hungry. Today there’s much more urgency and I feel like we’re constantly looking at the clock. There are fewer walks and — count them — exactly zero runs. We definitely have nights where we reach for an easy pack of ramen or a store bought salad mix. That said, so often when we as a culture talk about weeknight cooking, it falls into the rhetoric of dumbing down dinner: How can we use all the store bought shortcuts to make this assembling process a breeze? And truth be told: urgency or not, I still want to cook; I don’t just want to assemble.

Chickpea Tikka Masala | A Sweet SpoonfulSo last week I was particularly thrilled when Melissa Coleman’s (The Faux Martha) new cookbook, The Minimalist Kitchen, arrived. Finally a cookbook celebrating simplifying things in the kitchen and making your kitchen work for you with recipes that you actually want to make (and that don’t take all evening), not dumbed down versions of foods you once loved. She has a recipe for a Dutch Oven Chicken, which she calls “an efficiency chicken” that I’m looking forward to trying (basically a simple, steamed way to prepare a chicken in the Dutch oven, yielding super tender meat to fold into grain bowls, salads or stir fries throughout the week). And her method for roasting veggies, which you’ll see in the recipe below, is genius: she steams them first before roasting, which cuts way down on the cooking time and leaves the veggies tender inside and nice and charred on the outside (and ultimately uses way less oil than I usually do). Chickpea Tikka Masala | A Sweet SpoonfulI chose this recipe for Chickpea Tikka Masala to make first because, for us anyway, it’s the epitome of weeknight cooking: simple (can be tackled while making sure a certain toddler isn’t eating pink play doh or wrapping himself in Scotch tape), packed with flavor, and full of protein. While it’s not something I’d typically think that Oliver would like, his daycare makes a curried chickpea dish once a week that he loves, so they laid the groundwork there and, Melissa, he’s your newest, smallest fan.

I don’t feature cookbooks here on the site that I’m not actually using in the kitchen and that I don’t think you’d honestly love, and I think you’re going to dig this one. It’s a breath of fresh air in an otherwise very busy and sometimes fussy space. And! If you’d like a chance to win a copy of the book, head on over to my Instagram account for the details.

Chickpea Tikka Masala

Chickpea Tikka Masala

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep time: 15 mins
  • Cook time: 20 mins
  • Total time: 35 mins

A quick weeknight protein-packed dinner, we serve this with brown rice but you could use any grain you’d like. The Curried Cauliflower, all by itself, would be great to roast up to use for veggie tacos, salads or grain bowls throughout the week. If you can’t find fire-roasted tomatoes, regular crushed tomatoes will work just fine, and I happened to be out of harissa so I omitted it and the cauliflower was still delicious.

Recipe from: The Minimalist Kitchen


Curried Cauliflower Topping

1 large or 2 medium heads cauliflower heads, cut into florets (about 5 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon harissa
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

Chickpea Sauce

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced sweet onion (I used leeks as we'd run out of onion)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 (15-ounce) cans crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1/3 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Garnish (optional)

Squeeze of lime
Plain whole milk yogurt
Chopped fresh cilantro

2 cups cooked rice (I used brown rice)


Make the Curry Cauliflower: 
Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, add water to just below the bottom of the basket. Bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower, reduce the heat to medium, and cover to steam for 5 minutes. This will begin the cooking process.

Remove the cauliflower, and place on the prepared baking sheet. In a small ramekin, stir together all of the remaining ingredients. Drizzle over the cauliflower and toss to evenly coat. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for 10-15 minutes more or until the cauliflower begins to char. Taste and sprinkle with the additional salt as needed.

Make the Chickpea Sauce:
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Once the pan is warm, add the oil and onion. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the remaining salt, curry powder, cumin and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute more to toast the spices.

Add the tomatoes and cream (If you prefer a smooth sauce, puree the tomato mixture in a blender and return to the pan). Add the chickpeas and simmer for at least 15 minutes over medium to allow the flavors to develop. Taste and add more of the seasonings if necessary.

To serve: Divide the rice evenly amongst 4 bowls. Top evenly with the chickpea sauce. Top the the Curry Cauliflower, lime juice, dollop of yogurt, and cilantro, if desired.



  1. Cathy

    This looks so tasty. It would also go well with the homemade golden paste I’ve started taking recently, with great results.

  2. Melissa Coleman

    I resonate so much with your dinnertime story and philosophy. So honored that these recipes would make it into your kitchen. You're in our kitchen so often, on the mornings we make The Very Best Oatmeal and the afternoons we make granola. All granolas are based on your recipe forever more. Thank you for supporting this book baby!

  3. Jon

    Hi Megan, Thanks for the tip on quick roasting the veggies! We know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to dinner and time for it so it's always nice to have some new inspiration and encouragement. The cookbook sounds like a good one so I'm going to get my library to order a copy of it (yes, I'm one of those people, and actually that's what I did with your book when it came out and then a year later I got myself my own copy!!). Cheers :)

  4. Cat

    We made this tonight and it was SO GOOD!

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