Instant Pot Tikka Masala With Chickpeas & Sweet Potato (Vegan)

Learn how to make a delicious Instant Pot tikka masala with chickpeas and sweet potatoes. This Indian-inspired curry is gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly, loaded with vegetables and warm spices. Blended cashew cream is used to thicken this tikka masala and give it a creamy, rich texture. With step-by-step photos, this pressure cooker recipe is easy and fast to make.


Instant Pot Tikka Masala With Chickpeas & Sweet Potatoes

WHAT IS TIKKA MASALA?

When someone mentions tikka masala, you probably think of chicken tikka masala, which is an Indian dish of grilled or roasted marinated chicken in spiced curry sauce. But, tikka masala can be made with other ingredients too. Tikka refers to ‘pieces’ or ‘chunks’ and masala is a blend of spices used in Indian cooking. What makes this dish so popular is the sauce – rich, creamy, spiced tomato curry that goes well with poultry, red meat, fish and vegetarian protein. Today’s Instant Pot tikka masala is a vegetarian version featuring chickpeas and sweet potatoes.

WHAT IS IN TIKKA MASALA SAUCE?

What makes the tikka masala sauce so special? It’s a combination of traditional Indian spices like garam masala, cumin, turmeric and coriander, plus ginger, garlic and onions, braised with tomato and cream (either dairy cream, yogurt or cashews). The sauce is a little sweet and earthy, and sometimes with nutty hints (if cashews are used).

 

Vegan Tikka Masala With Chickpeas & Sweet Potatoes (Instant Pot Recipe)

INGREDIENTS FOR VEGAN TIKKA MASALA

For our vegetarian and vegan-friendly tikka masala, we’re using sweet potatoes and chickpeas as our key ingredients and blended cashew cream as a dairy-free alternative. We’ve also added some peas for extra protein and zucchini for some added vegetables. 

Aromatics: onions, ginger and garlic are the foundation of almost all Indian curries including tikka masala. Fresh aromatics rather than powders will give you bolder flavors.

Tikka Masala Spices: garam masala, paprika, cumin, coriander seed, turmeric and chili are the main spices in tikka masala blend and most of these are easily found in most supermarkets and you probably already have them in your pantry. You can also pick up a pre-made tikka masala spice mix or paste. 

Cashew cream: this is a simple smooth puree of soaked cashews and water, which is a fantastic and tasty alternative to heavy cream and will thicken the sauce and give it a creamy texture. This is added right at the end. PS. Coconut cream can be used instead of cashew cream.

You can use lentils, beans or firm tofu instead of chickpeas. Carrots, white potatoes, pumpkin/winter squash can be used instead of sweet potatoes. 

Ingredients for vegan tikka masala in the Instant Pot

Making a tikka masala in the Instant Pot is quick and easy with our step-by-step recipe, which you can use as a template to create your own version of this dish. Find step-by-step photo instructions below the recipe here.

 

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Instant Pot Tikka Masala With Chickpeas & Sweet Potatoes

Instant Pot Tikka Masala With Chickpeas & Sweet Potato (Vegan)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Learn how to make Instant Pot tikka masala with chickpeas and sweet potatoes. Made with cashew cream, this curry is vegan and gluten-free.


Ingredients

Scale

SPICES YOU’LL NEED
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chilli powder (optional, for extra heat)

PART 1 – PRESSURE COOKING STAGE
12 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil (or ghee, if not vegan)
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, diced or minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon grated ginger, grated (fresh or from a jar)
2 cups vegetable stock
4 cups of diced sweet potato cubes (2 medium potatoes)
1 medium green zucchini, diced into cubes
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or close to that amount)
1 cup frozen green peas
2 cups tomato sauce/purée or crushed tomatoes (from a can or a jar)

PART 2- FINISHING THE SAUCE
1 cup cashews, soaked and rinsed (see instructions)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro

Sides/Garnishes: rice/naan bread, cilantro or scallions, any other nice garnishes.


Instructions

Ahead of time: Add cashews to a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 1-2 hours. This will soften the nuts making them creamier once blended. If you don’t manage to do this step, you can still use the cashews unsealed.

Combine spices and salt in a bowl and set aside. 

Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Sauté button, it should say Normal heat setting on display. Add oil or ghee and chopped onions. Sauté the onions until they become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and grated ginger and sauté for another 30 seconds, until fragrant. 

Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and stir through, scraping any stuck bits from the bottom of the pot. Press Cancel to stop the Sauté function. 

Add sweet potatoes, zucchini, chickpeas and frozen peas and sprinkle the spice blend on top. Stir through. Finally, pour the tomato sauce/crushed tomatoes over the top but don’t stir through. Spread them over the top with a spoon or a spatula.

Secure and lock the lid. make sure the pressure handle is pointing to Sealing on Duo Classic. Select Manual/Pressure Cook and adjust the timer to 3 minutes on HIGH pressure. After a few beeps/seconds, the ON sign will come on indicating the pot is heating up and the pressure is building; pressurizing will take about 10 minutes and then the 3-minute timer will begin.

Once the timer is done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes. Then use the quick release method to let off the remaining pressure (press the steam knob down or point to Venting on older models).

While the pot is cooking, prepare the cashew cream. Add the nuts and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water to a high-speed blender or a food processor.  Blend until smooth and creamy and set aside. 1 to 1.25 cup coconut cream can be used instead of cashew cream. 

Stir the curry. Add the cashew cream and lemon juice and stir until well combined. Taste for salt. Finish with chopped cilantro on top or when serving. Pair with basmati rice or naan.


Notes

Saute:3-4 minutes | Pressurizing: 10 minutes | Cooking at HIGH pressure: 3 minutes | Release: 5 minutes natural release, then quick release the remaining pressure

Swaps: Coconut cream can be used instead of cashew cream. You can use lentils, beans or firm tofu instead of chickpeas. Carrots, white potatoes, pumpkin/winter squash can be used instead of sweet potatoes.

Keywords: Instant Pot, Curry, Chickpeas, Indian, Tikka Masala, Pressure Cooking, Stew, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

 

HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT TIKKA MASALA

Here are step-by-step instructions for making vegetarian tikka masala in the Instant Pot. We made it in the Instant Pot Duo Classic & Nova 6-quart pressure cooker.

How to make vegan tikka masala in the Instant Pot steps 1

Ahead of time: Add cashews to a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 1-2 hours. This will soften the nuts making them creamier once blended. If you don’t manage to do this step, you can still use the cashews unsealed.

Step 1. Combine spices and salt in a bowl and set aside. 

Step 2. Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Sauté button, it should say Normal heat setting on display. Add oil or ghee and chopped onions. Sauté the onions until they become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and grated ginger and sauté for another 30 seconds, until fragrant. 

Step 3. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and stir through, scraping any stuck bits from the bottom of the pot. Press Cancel to stop the Sauté function. 

Step 4. Add sweet potatoes, zucchini, chickpeas and frozen peas and sprinkle the spice blend on top. Stir through.

 

How to make Instant Pot tikka masala vegan style

Step 5. Finally, pour the tomato sauce/crushed tomatoes over the top but don’t stir through. Spread them over the top with a spoon or a spatula. 

Step 6. Secure the lid and select Pressure Cook function. Adjust the time to 3 minutes on HIGH pressure. The pressure will take about 10 minutes to build up.

Step 7. While the pot is cooking, prepare the cashew cream. Add the nuts and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water to a high-speed blender or a food processor.  Blend until smooth and creamy and set aside. 1 to 1.25 cup coconut cream can be used instead of cashew cream. 

Making chickpea tikka masala steps 3 - finishing the sauce

Step 8. Once the timer is done, allow natural pressure release for about 5 minutes and then quick release and open the lid. 

Step 9. Stir the curry. Add the cashew cream and lemon juice and stir until well combined. Taste for salt. Finish with chopped cilantro on top or when serving. Pair with basmati rice or naan.

 
By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

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