Weight Loss Tikka Masala – Low Calorie, Low Fat!
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This vegan tikka masala is our plant-based take on a classic curry, featuring chickpeas, cauliflower, carrots and coconut milk. A mild, creamy and fragrant dish, this is sure to be your new go-to vegan curry recipe.
This particular version of tikka masala is also far lower in calories than normal. The Irish Times found that “The average portion of chicken tikka masala contained 1,249 calories“. Incredible!
Ours clocks in at a much more belly-friendly 540 calories. We use utilise low-fat coconut milk and go for nutrient-dense brown/wholegrain rice instead of regular white.
That means this recipe is both a low-fat tikka masala and a low-calorie tikka masala! More on that in a moment.
From traditional to vegan tikka masala
Well, tikka masala is not actually a traditional south Asian dish, rather it is a British-Bangladeshi fusion dish originating some time in the 20th century!
It bears resemblance to the North Indian dish ‘butter chicken’, but it is thought that it was developed accidentally by a Bangladeshi chef in the UK in the 1970s.
There are a few theories about how this came to pass.
One story claims that tikka masala was invented in Glasgow by a Bangladeshi chef called Ali Ahmed Aslam.
According to his son, they were in the restaurant one night when a customer sent back his curry because it was too dry.
Mr Aslam had an ulcer so was drinking tomato soup. When the curry got sent back he suggested they just add tomato soup and some spices, then send it back out! The customer loved it and tikka masala was born!
The other theories revolve around a similar theme: an improvised curry made by adding tomato soup to another dish.
If you don’t believe me, tikka masala actually has its own wikipedia page which explains this cool history!
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Chuck the chicken!
I know, there has been a worrying amount of chicken mentioned so far in this blog post.
Never fear, we haven’t lost our mind or our morals: this IS a vegan tikka masala recipe. Instead of using chicken, we use a selection of vegetables and chickpeas.
The reason we decided to make a chickpea tikka masala is because chickpeas are a great source of plant protein, alongside numerous other health benefits.
What’s the big deal about protein? It’s a super important part of any diet – protein is vital for lots of different functions in our body like our immune system and our hormonal system, AND it helps to maintain muscle mass too!
Furthermore, protein-rich foods are very filling, so are a good option if you are looking to lose weight.
The same can be said for foods that are high in fibre (also chickpeas!).
Tikka Masala for weight loss
Eating foods that are high in protein and fibre are good for weight loss because they will keep you full for a long time and nip the temptation to snack between meals in the bud!
Our vegan tikka masala contains 21g protein per serving and 13g fibre. Why not incorporate it into one of our vegetarian weight loss plans?
Cauliflowers and carrots!
What else goes in a weight loss vegan tikka masala? In this case, cauliflower florets and carrots.
These two veggies add lots of fibre for relatively few calories, so they help ensure this dish is as filling as possible.
They also come with a whole host of health benefits! Take cauliflower, for example. One serving of cauliflower contains 100% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C, which helps to keep our immune system healthy.
They also make for great low-carb alternatives to rice or potatoes – why not switch out mashed potatoes for a low carb garlic cauliflower mash?
And as for carrots, they actually do help you see in the dark! For real! Carrots help eye health because they contain beta-carotene which your body transforms into Vitamin A- a vitamin that is fundamental for healthy vision.
Top Tikka Tips
This is a pretty easy vegan curry recipe, but there are still a few things you can do if you want to learn how to make tikka masala as tasty as possible.
You’ll see that the recipe asks you to brown your veg first. Don’t skip this step! Browning veggies helps to seal in all their lovely flavours before they get incorporated into the vegan tikka masala sauce.
You may also notice that when frying your veggies, they seem like they need more oil. But this a weight loss Tikka Masala, and we don’t want all that extra oil.
I’ve found the best way cook the vegetables is to add a little water with the spices when cooking. But only a tablespoon or so at a time. This helps the veggies retain their flavour (and even take on more from the spices) without ‘washing away’ the flavour by using water to cook.
You can also use any vegetables you like in this vegan Tikka Masala. I like cauliflower and carrot personally, but I’ve also tested broccoli and peas and those worked really well, too!
- ⅔ cup brown rice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 ¾ cups cauliflower (cut into florets)
- 1 small carrot
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½ onion (diced)
- 1 tsp ginger, fresh (fresh, minced)
- 1 tsp cumin, ground
- 1 tsp paprika powder (smoked, sweet or regular)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cardamom, ground
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala powder or curry powder
- ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
- 1 sprig cilantro/coriander, fresh (leafs and stalk separated)
- 1.5 cup tomato passata (1 can = 14 oz = 400g)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1.5 cup low fat coconut milk (1 can = 14 oz = 400 ml)
- 1.5 cup chickpeas, cooked (~1 can, 15oz/425g)
- Salt to taste
- 7 oz tofu
- Cook the brown rice according to package instructions.⅔ cup brown rice
- In a medium sized saucepan add the olive oil and set to medium heat.1 tsp olive oil
- Add the minced garlic cloves, diced white onion, minced fresh ginger and a dash of salt. Cook until everything has softened, reduced and begun to brown on the edges.3 cloves garlic, ½ onion, 1 tsp ginger, fresh
- Add the cauliflower florets and carrots.1 ¾ cups cauliflower, 1 small carrot
- Then, add cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, garam masala and cilantro stalk (lightly crushed with the back of a knife). Cook for some seconds.1 tsp cumin, ground, 1 tsp paprika powder, ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp cardamom, ground, ½ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp garam masala powder or curry powder, Salt to taste, ½ tsp chili flakes
- Add tomato passata and cook for about 4-5 minutes to cut through the acidity of the tomatoes.1.5 cup tomato passata
- Then add sugar and coconut milk and cook until it boils and begins to reduce. Chop tofu into small blocks.2 tsp sugar, 1.5 cup low fat coconut milk
- Add chickpeas and tofu. Cook at medium heat until the cauliflower is completely cooked through and the sauce is creamy and thick. Season with salt to taste.1.5 cup chickpeas, cooked
- Serve cauliflower and chickpea tikka masala over brown rice and top with cilantro leaves.⅔ cup brown rice, 1 sprig cilantro/coriander, fresh
- Tips: If you find your veggies sticking in the pan in the Tikka Masala, add a little water as you’re cooking (not oil). But only a little! You can also use any vegetables you like in the Tikka Masala! For example, broccoli is also great. So feel free to use up any that need it!
- Make-ahead? Yes, can be made ahead and reheated if wanted!
- Freezable? Yes, it can be frozen!