Cold weather calls for warm spices and recipes that leave us feeling hugged and snug. Few genres of cuisine fit the task so beautifully as Indian food. Tofu Tikka Masala is ideally poised to be the exact dinner recipe we need right now. You’ll realize it as soon as you take a bite!

Creamy Tandoori Tofu Tikka Masala on rice with naan bread

I am smitten with this masala recipe (and Indian food in general) right now for several reasons.

The obvious: it’s totally delish, healthy, makes for excellent leftovers, and even though this recipe is easy, it will leave you feeling ultra impressed with your culinary skills after you make it.

The less obvious: Tofu tikka masala is comfort food that doesn’t leave me feeling like I need to rush into my sweatpants, curl up, and hibernate until April (or whenever it’s warm enough outside for salads to start sounding appetizing again).

While I am certainly an eager participant in a solid, food-coma-inducing dinner especially during the winter months (hi, carbs!), it’s not the kind of dinner I can eat every night.

At the same time, however, I crave recipes that leave me feeling warm, happy, and fully satisfied in appetite and in spirit.

The perfect bridge between healthy and homey: Indian food!

This tofu tikka masala is deeply flavored and richly textured—you’ll find more than enough of both to qualify it as comfort food—but it will also leave you feeling light enough to continue on with your evening (or at least to make it to the couch for a comfortable round of Netflix).

An easy and healthy vegetarian Indian recipe in a bowl with brown rice and naan bread

Tikka Masala – A Quick Overview

Tikka masala is general term used to describe an Indian dish consisting of a protein cooked in a thick, creamy, and richly spiced tomato curry sauce.

  • The “tikka” refers to the protein. Traditionally it is pieces of boneless, marinated, skewered meat (usually chicken or lamb) that’s roasted in a hot clay oven, called a tandoor. Heard of tandoori chicken? That’s where the name originates.
  • The “masala” refers to the gravy/sauce. The recipes for it vary, but most include a tomato base, garam masala (a blend of a slew of spices like cumin, coriander, cardamom, and more), and a creamy element like yogurt or coconut milk.

If you’ve never had Indian food, the flavor of tikka masala is tricky to describe. The spices are intense and warm, but not “spicy” in the sense of “hot,” and there’s a subtle, welcome underlying bit of tang that adds refreshing brightness.

Why Tofu Tikka Masala

While I love a good chicken tikka masala (like this Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala or Chicken Tikka Masala), my absolute favorite Indian dishes are vegetarian ones. 

  • Much of India is vegetarian by religion, so they’ve had generations to nail meatless cooking. I spent three weeks in India and Ben lived with a vegetarian host family there for a full summer, and we both agree that the vegetarian recipes are our favorites.
  • I love the frugality of vegetarian eating, and the way it celebrates how humble ingredients like chickpeas, paneer, or tofu can be elevated into something sublime.
  • We go meatless a few days a week. If you are looking to add more plant-based meals to your diet, whether it’s for health, environmental, or another reason, vegetarian Indian cooking has a world of recipes waiting to delight you.

Today’s tandoori tofu tikka masala recipe is a based off of my favorite Paneer Tikka Masala. Paneer, a mild and firm Indian cheese that tastes so much better than it sounds, is a popular vegetarian protein in India, but in the states, it can be more challenging to find. My goal was to come up with a vegetarian tikka masala that uses a more widely available plant-based protein. Enter, tofu!

Pieces of crispy and firm tofu on a baking sheet

How to Make Great-Tasting Tofu

Tofu on its own tastes bland and spongy, which is why if you’ve tried it and haven’t enjoyed its flavor or texture, chances are it wasn’t cooked properly.

  • When handled well, the mild flavor of tofu is actually ideal for fully flavored recipes like tikka masala. It will act like a sponge and soak up the flavors you add to the recipe.
  • With proper cooking technique, tofu can be delightfully crisp on the outside and pleasantly firm, while still giving way to a tender interior.

This tasty tofu tikka masala is tofu at its best.

  • It’s pressed to remove excess liquid, which starts it on its way to an optimal firm texture.
  • It’s marinated to infuse flavor.
  • Last, it’s baked until golden and crisp on the outside and firm (but tender) on the inside. It won’t lose its shape, and it certainly does not taste mushy. The baking creates the tikka tofu affect, mimicking the approach of tandoor cooking.

Tasty tofu tikka masala in a bowl with brown rice and naan bread

How To Make Tofu Tikka Masala

The long list of spices in Indian recipes can be intimidating. I’ve streamlined them as much as possible and selected only ones that are easy to find at most grocery stores. I also cut down on prep time to make this tofu tikka masala as quick as possible, without sacrificing authentic flavor. Still, you might look at some of these ingredients and think “oh, I don’t own that” or “that’s a lot of steps” and move on.

My advice: invest in these spices. They’ll last you a long time, and you’ll open yourself to a whole world of delicious, invigorating recipes like this Slow Cooker Butter Chicken (and Instant Pot Butter Chicken), and this Instant Pot Lentil Curry that you might otherwise have skipped. As far as the steps: the tofu bakes while you make the masala sauce, meaning this recipe is faster than it appears at first glance.

The Ingredients

  • Tofu. We’ve covered many of the reasons why I love using tofu in this recipe, but I should also mention that it’s packed with every crucial amino acid that your body needs. It’s also low in calories, high in protein, and budget-friendly.
  • Cauliflower. Like the tofu, the delicious and mild cauliflower florets absorb spices magnificently. Plus, cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Garam Masala. Garam masala is a blend of spices. It’s typically made of cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, bay leaves, pepper, fennel, mace, and dried chilies. <—Quite the list. Every spoonful is packed with flavor! A blend like garam masala is also a serious timesaver, because you don’t have to tediously measure each spice individually. Most grocery stores will carry it, but you can also find it online here.
  • Additional Spices. I also used turmeric and cayenne pepper, classic ingredients in Indian cooking, to bring additional flavors to the sauce.
  • Crushed Tomatoes + Tomato Paste. The base of our deeply flavored and easy masala sauce.
  • Ginger and Garlic. They give the masala sauce a backbone of freshness and life.
  • Greek Yogurt. My sneaky way to lighten-up this recipe. Greek yogurt provides critical body and creaminess to the sauce. To make a vegan tofu tikka masala, swap the yogurt for a non-dairy yogurt or stir coconut cream into the masala to thicken it instead.
  • Vegetables. I added onion and frozen peas to up the vegetable content in this dish.

The Directions

  1. Prepare the tofu: Press water out of the tofu, and cut it into pieces. Stir together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, and spices in a bowl. Add the tofu and stir until coated. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes (either at room temperature or in the refrigerator).
  2. Lay the marinated tofu in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, flipping the tofu once halfway through.
  3. Prepare the masala: Sauté the cauliflower and onion with ginger and garlic. Once the vegetables are tender, add the tomato paste and more spices. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and broth, then simmer the sauce to thicken it.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the peas, yogurt, and baked tandoori tofu. Serve with cilantro and naan or brown rice (even Turmeric Rice!). ENJOY!

A richly flavored vegetarian Indian recipe in a bowl with naan bread and brown rice

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

  • To Make Ahead. Chop the cauliflower florets a day in advance, and store them in the refrigerator. Refrigerate the marinaded tofu for up to 12 hours prior to baking.
  • To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. You can also reheat leftovers in the microwave until hot.

Easy tofu tikka masala served in a bowl with brown rice and naan

Recommended Tools & Ingredient Tips to Make this Recipe

This healthy, easier, at-home version of tandoor tofu tikka masala is a warm up that won’t weigh you down. May it add just as much excitement to your dinner routine as it has ours.

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes. I love hearing from you!

Creamy Tandoori Tofu Tikka Masala on rice with naan bread

Tofu Tikka Masala

4.3 from 17 votes
Baked tandoori-style tofu in a rich, creamy masala curry sauce, this quick version Tofu Tikka Masala is made with easy ingredients and has authentic flavor!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins

Servings: 6 servings



  • 2 12 to 14-ounce blocks extra firm tofu
  • 2/3 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt*
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala**
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons water


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or canola oil
  • 1 medium head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can low sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 package frozen peas 10 ounces
  • 1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt*
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
  • For serving: Homemade Naan or prepared brown rice


  • Prepare the tofu: Wrap 1 block of tofu in several layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and gently press out as much water as possible. Change the towels and press again. Do not squeeze so hard that the tofu breaks apart or loses its shape, but do try to press out a good amount of the water. Repeat with the second block. Cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, coriander, garam masala, cumin, salt, and water. Add the tofu pieces and stir gently until they are evenly coated. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate for longer (up to overnight).
  • When ready to bake, place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly coat the paper with nonstick spray. Arrange the tofu pieces on the baking sheets in a single layer so that they are not touching one another (discard any extra marinade). Bake in the upper and lower thirds for 15 minutes, then remove the pans from the oven, flip the pieces over and return the pans to the oven, switching their positions on the upper and lower racks. Bake for 15 additional minutes, until tofu is deeply golden (see blog photos above). Set aside.
  • While the tofu bakes, prepare the masala (sauce): Heat the coconut oil over medium low in a Dutch oven or similar sturdy, deep pot. Once hot, add the cauliflower, onion, ginger, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute, then increase the heat to medium and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not let the onion brown—if it starts to turn brown, reduce the heat and continue cooking until soft. Add the tomato paste, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne. Cook and stir constantly for 30 seconds, until very fragrant.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to prevent the sauce from sticking, until it is thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 1 minute. Stir in the peas, then the 1/2 cup yogurt. Stir in the cooked tofu to warm through. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve warm with naan bread or brown rice.


  • TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. You can also reheat leftovers in the microwave until hot. 
  • TO MAKE AHEAD: Chop the cauliflower florets a day in advance, and store in the refrigerator. Prepare the yogurt mixture. Remove water from the tofu, cut into cubes, and coat with the yogurt mixture. Store the tofu in the refrigerator up to 12 hours in advance. 
  • *Do not use nonfat yogurt (Greek or regular), as it is likely to curdle. Whole milk yogurt is fine. If you do not have Greek yogurt, you can also substitute regular yogurt.
  • **Garam masala is an Indian spice blend that can be found in most grocery stores. You can also purchase it online here.


Serving: 1(of 6); about 2 cupsCalories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 16gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgPotassium: 1075mgFiber: 9gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 939IUVitamin C: 82mgCalcium: 164mgIron: 5mg

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite projects and tutorials.


Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Share this Article


This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

You May Also Like

Free Email Series
5 Secrets for Cooking Tasty and Healthy
My secrets for making wholesome meals you'll WANT to eat.

Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


Leave a comment

  1. I just got all the ingredients and can’t wait to make this Erin! Thank you for the awesome recipe with very detailed and thoughtful instructions, as always

  2. I made this last night and it is amazingly delicious!  My marvelous husband loved it, even though he previously advised he would never eat tofu.  The recipe has been added to our family cookbook of repeat meals.  This is a 5 star Yummy meal!!!!!5 stars

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe, Debbi! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit, Patricia! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

  3. Made this last night, served over white basmati rice because I love it, and with garlic naan. It smelled heavenly while it cooked and tasted out of this world!! I will cut the tofu smaller next time to absorb more of the marinade, and it took longer than the 45 minutes noted, but other than that it went off without a hitch!5 stars

  4. This recipe was so delicious! It was rich with flavor, creamy and still tasted healthy.  My husband and I both cook and I talked him into making this recipe. He said it was fun to make but took way longer prep time than the suggested 15 minutes. He said prep time was about an hour but the recipe was so good, it was well worth the prep time. Plenty of left overs so I can’t wait to see how the flavors richer for tomorrow night. 5 stars

  5. This was a good one. Probably should’ve cooked the tofu longer to get that golden brown look, our oven isn’t very hot. Lesson learned. But I love thei idea or marinating in yogurt. I used coconut unsweetened yogurt to keep it plant based. Glad I found this one. 5 stars

    1. Hi Sasha! I’ve only tested this recipe with broth, so it would be an experiment. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

      1. Hi!
        It turned out really well!

        I made my own “garam masala” because I fear using the REAL THING!I feel like you can easily over do the spice and the dish will be ruined because of how strong mace and coriander are. I don’t know if that’s just me or not! But anyway, the coconut milk (fat and small amount of coconut water)- plus normal water- made it nice, creamy, and cozy.

        Nicely done with this recipe! Would you by any chance give me some pointers on using garam masala correctly?
        Please and thank you.5 stars

        1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed the dish, Sasha! Thank you for reporting back and sharing this kind review! You could always start by adding a little at a time and tasting the dish each time until you reach your desired amount. I hope this helps!

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish! The perfect blend of spices and the tofu was probably the best I’ve had. Thank you! 5 stars

  7. I tried to make this and it came out awful. I’ve never had problems with Indian dishes before but this recipe just tasted like tomato soup when I made it.1 star

    1. Hi Mariah, I’m sorry to hear that this dish wasn’t to your tastes. I (and many other readers) really enjoyed the flavors, so I wish it would’ve been a hit for you too!

    2. I had the exact same issue. Tasted like tomato sauce with masala – and everything was bitter from the tofu marinade to the sauce. I’m surprised as I made a chicken tikka recipe last week substituting tofu that tasted great.1 star

      1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your tastes, Matt. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not love it, so I truly wish you would have enjoyed this!

  8. Hello, I am looking forward to making this. My daughter and I love Indian food and have missed it as we have not been eating out. My question is sometimes, we find the sauce is too tomatoey. The pictures do not look like there is too much, but is there a way to make it a bit less if I need to?
    I know it’s a strange question, but I thought I would ask. Thank you.

    1. Hi Sheri! The tomatoes in this sauce definitely aren’t overpowering, but you could taste it as you go. If needed, you could experiment with dialing back the number of crushed tomatoes a little. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

      1. I also found the sauce too tomatoey – too acid. Strange because I have loved every other recipe I have tried from you. I wonder if it is just can to can or brand differences…. If I try it again, I’ll halve both the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. The tofu came out delicious.2 stars

        1. I’m sorry the sauce wasn’t quite to your tastes, Elissa. Thank you for trying the recipe, and I hope you enjoy it more next time!

  9. Hello Erin,
    I had such a craving for Indian food yesterday and found your recipe. It really was delicious! I added some cut green beans to it and made cinnamon/turmeric rice and Aloo Jeera (potatoes). It was a feast and we loved your recipe!! Thank you!5 stars

    1. Very good! I added probably added 1.5 cups of Greek yogurt as the volume of tomatoes was very high but it has a kick and enjoyable!4 stars

  10. Super yummy recipe. Added to curry to the masala for an extra kick after reading about the sauce being a bit bland for some folks. It did take 30 minutes longer to prep and make than advertised.5 stars

  11. I made this recipe tonight for my family and they really liked it, even with the tofu. I think I may add more heat next time, some actual dried chilies.5 stars