Sometimes, my partner and I just crave something with a little more “kick” than normal. When the kids are actin’ crazy and it’s impossible to spend too much time in the kitchen, this Crock-Pot Tofu Tikka Masala recipe is the perfect compromise.

Traditional chicken tikka masala involves marinating the protein in a spiced yogurt mixture. No marinade (or dairy) required here! All you need to do is press the tofu of its excess liquid so that it can absorb the creamy, garam masala-spiced sauce while it cooks in the Crock-Pot.

My mother purchased this nifty EZ Tofu Press for me as a gift a few years back. If you don’t have room for any more fancy kitchen gadgets, simply wrapping the tofu in a clean dish towel and placing between two dinner plates will do. (Don’t forget to add some weight on top!)

I don’t mean to brag, but the spice mixture in this recipe is PERFECTION! The spice that stands out among the rest is garam masala… and honestly, it’s a splurge item, but this wouldn’t be “tikka masala” without it.

I found this 3 oz. jar from Simply Organic at my local Sprout’s Farmers Market. It’s $10 on Amazon, but it’ll last you for awhile and add pizazz to all of your Indian dishes!

The secret ingredient in this recipe is… coconut sugar! It’s optional but adds great flavor to your already coconut-infused dish. Plus, it’s touted as being more nutritious and lower on the glycemic index than regular sugar.

We use this organic coconut sugar from Big Tree Farms and store it in an air-tight mason jar in our kitchen cupboard.

Be warned: because of the red cayenne pepper in the spice mixture, this recipe tends to lean a little toward the spicy side.

To make this dish more kid-friendly, simply omit the red cayenne! Serve over your choice of white or brown rice (or even with a side of naan!), and your family will quickly devour.

Crock-Pot Tofu Tikka Masala

Total Time: 15 minutes prep, 2-3 hours cooking
Servings: 4 heaping bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. garam masala
  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 14 oz. package of extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp. coconut or olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic (roughly 4 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger (or 1 in. fresh)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 4 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 10 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. coconut sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Rice or naan, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Drain excess liquid from the tofu. Wrap the tofu in several clean towels and use a tofu press OR place between two plates and add a heavy object on top of it. Press the tofu for 10-15 minutes while prepping other ingredients.
  2. Mix together all of the spices and set aside. Heat your oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add the diced onion. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until translucent and starting to lightly brown, roughly 4-6 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, ground ginger, and jalapeno pepper. Cook for another 60 seconds. Stir in all of the spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
  4. Add the bell pepper, nutritional yeast, and tomato paste, and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Finally, add the tomatoes and stir well, scraping around the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the tomatoes are starting to soften. Turn off the heat.
  5. Cut the pressed tofu into small cubes and add it to your Crock-Pot. Use a spatula to add all of the veggie/spice mixture from the skillet. Add the coconut milk, white wine vinegar, and coconut sugar, and stir to combine.
  6. Cook on high for 2-3 hours. After cooking, season to taste with additional salt and/or fresh lemon juice. Serve with rice or accompaniments of choice, garnished with fresh cilantro.