One positive of the social distancing period is more time to cook and experiment with kitchen pantry staples for meal ideas. One thing that I have been dying to try is a vegan take on Indian butter chicken. It’s a favorite among many and there’s no reason it can’t be enjoyed in a vegan version as well. Using cauliflower and chickpeas, I am proud to present this vegan Indian butter chicken recipe.

vegan butter chicken with cauliflower and chickpeas

The great thing about this recipe is it is made with mostly pantry staples! Aside from cauliflower (and you could probably try roasting the frozen florets) and onion, everything in this recipe can easily be classified as a pantry staple. That means you might be able to make this dish without running to the store! Winning! Not only that, but if you serve it with your favorite sides, such as rice or rotis, can also be made with pantry staple ingredients. 

vegan butter cauliflower and chickpeas Indian style vegan butter chickpeas

What you’ll love about this vegan Indian butter chicken?

  1. It’s vegan. You don’t need to sacrifice the flavor because it’s vegan.
  2. Pantry friendly. Frozen cauliflower, and a fresh onion are all you need. The rest is pantry friendly ingredients. 
  3. Delicious. Don’t feel like you need to sacrifice flavor to be vegan. This dish packs all the flavor of butter chicken without the dairy or meat products. 
  4. Protein packed. Between the chickpeas and cashews, you get a good amount of protein in this, as you would from the chicken version.
  5. Hidden veggies. While you have cauliflower in the dish, your kids may not realize there is tomato and onion in the sauce. Shhh, it’s a secret. 🙂
vegan butter chicken with chickpeas and cauliflower

How to make this vegan Indian butter chicken?

  1. Make the cashew cream. Soak the cashews prior to blending. If you have a performance blender, you may be able to do it without soaking as long. Add the water and cashews to the blender and blend. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  3. On a lined baking sheet, add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until they start to brown slightly.
  4. While cauliflower is roasting, heat coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. 
  5. Add the garlic and spices. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
  6. Mix in the tomato and cashew cream.
  7. With an immersion blender or in the blender, puree the contents until they make a smooth sauce. 
  8. Pour the sauce back into the pan, and stir in the chickpeas and cauliflower. 
  9. Simmer for 10 minutes. Prior to serving, stir in lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garnish with cilantro.
  10. Serve with a side of rice or rotis.

Related Recipes

Roti (chapati) Indian flatbread
Vegan Aloo Mutter (Curried Potatoes and Peas)
Bhindi Masala (Curried Okra)

vegan butter chicken with chickpeas and cauliflower

Vegan Butter Chicken (Chickpeas and Cauliflower)

This vegan take on an Indian food favorite, vegan butter chicken with chickpeas and cauliflower is a hearty and delicious meal.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 207 kcal


  • 2 cans chickpeas or about 3 cups cooked
  • 1/3 cup cashews soaked for 2 hours
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 15 oz can chopped tomato
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ head cauliflower, cut in florets
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • tsp cardamom powder
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


Roasted Cauliflower

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets and place on a lined baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.

Make the Cashew Cream

Make the 'Butter' Sauce

  • In a large skillet, melt the coconut oil.
  • Add the chopped onion. Saute until browned and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and spices. Cook for another minute, mixing in well.
  • Add salt and pepper as well as the canned tomatoes. Then stir in the cashew cream.
  • With an immersion blender or the high-speed blender, blend together the contents of the skillet till smooth.


  • Place the sauce back in the skillet on the stove. Stir in the roasted cauliflower and the chickpeas.
  • Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with roti or rice. Garnish with lemon juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper.


You can use canned coconut milk in place of the cashew cream, but it’ll be sweeter than the cashews. You can also omit the cardamom and nutmeg. 


Serving: 1bowlCalories: 207kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 5gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 181mgPotassium: 579mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 704IUVitamin C: 49mgCalcium: 75mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Chickpea ‘butter’ chicken, Vegan Butter Chicken
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

If you tried this recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! This is a new favorite in our house. Did you make any modifications? Let me know!


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  5. Tyler February 15, 2021 at 3:52 am

    I saw this recipe recommended somewhere, and I totally agree! It was really good and so glad it is vegan.

  6. Megan October 5, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    5 stars
    This is a delicious recipe – I highly recommend it 🙂


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