Easy Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala

$4.10 recipe / $1.03 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.83 from 185 votes
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This super easy, ultra creamy, and heavily spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala is my new favorite dinner! That spicy-creamy sauce is just so 👌that I have to sop up every last bit with a piece of naan. This dish comes together super fast, requires very little chopping, is insanely inexpensive, and holds up well in the fridge, so it’s great for meal prep! This one is going right into my weekly rotation. :)

A bowl full of Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala with a black spoon and torn piece of naan bread.

How to Serve the Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala

I’ve been eating my Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala with a piece of naan bread to scoop up that delicious sauce, but this dish would be equally as good over a bed of hot rice. Either way it’s creamy, spicy, and oh so delish!

Make it Spicy or Mild

You can adjust the heat of this sauce by increasing, decreasing, or even eliminating the amount of cayenne pepper in the spice mix. The amount listed below creates what I would call a “medium” spice level, but that’s extremely subjective, so take that with a grain of salt.

Make it Vegan

An easy sub for the heavy cream in this recipe would be full fat coconut milk (the stuff that comes in cans, NOT the dairy milk substitute). You can play around with the quantities, but I’d guess somewhere between 1/2 to 1 cup would work well.

A wooden spoon scooping up some Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala out of a skillet

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Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala

4.83 from 185 votes
This super easy, ultra creamy, and heavily spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala will be your new favorite weeknight dinner! So much flavor, so little effort. 
A bowl of creamy Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala being eaten with a spoon and two pieces of naan on the side.
Servings 4 About 1.25 cups each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 40 minutes


Masala Spice Mix

Skillet Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion ($0.21)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($0.24)
  • 1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger ($0.15)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 12 oz. frozen cauliflower florets ($1.00)
  • 1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained ($0.49)
  • 1 15oz. can tomato sauce* ($0.59)
  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream ($0.26)
  • salt to taste ($0.02)


  • In a small bowl, combine the spices for the masala spice mix (garam masala, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper).
  • Finely dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. Add all three to a large skillet along with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the spice mix and continue to sauté for one more minute.
  • Add the frozen cauliflower florets to the skillet with the aromatics and spices, and continue to sauté for about 5 minutes more, or until the cauliflower have thawed through and are completely coated in spices.
  • Add the drained chickpeas, tomato sauce, and 1/4 cup water to the skillet. Stir to combine, then allow them to simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. This will help mellow the acidity of the tomato sauce and allow the spices to blend. If the mixture becomes too dry as it simmers, add a couple more tablespoons of water.
  • After the sauce has simmered for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Give the masala a taste and add salt as needed. Serve in a bowl either over rice or with a piece of bread for dipping.

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*For those living outside the United States, our "tomato sauce" is puréed cooked tomatoes with a little salt and sometimes a scant amount of onion powder. The closest product to this would probably be passata. 


Serving: 1.25CupsCalories: 306.9kcalCarbohydrates: 33.3gProtein: 9.58gFat: 16.48gSodium: 1153.2mgFiber: 10.45g
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How to Make Cauliflower Chickpea Masala – Step by Step Photos

Combine spices for masala spice mix

Begin by combining 2 Tbsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper in a small bowl.

Diced Onion Minced Garlic and Grated Ginger

Finely dice one yellow onion, mince three cloves of garlic and grate about 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger (ginger is hard to measure, so this is flexible). 

Saute onion garlic ginger and spices

Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a large skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the spice mix and continue to sauté for one more minute.

Add Cauliflower Florets to Skillet

Add 12oz. frozen cauliflower florets to the skillet and continue to sauté until the cauliflower is thawed through and coated in spices. 

Add Chickpeas and Tomato Sauce to Skillet

Next, add one 15oz. can chickpeas (drained), one 15oz. can tomato sauce, and about 1/4 cup water to the skillet. Stir to combine and then let the sauce simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce starts to dry out as it simmers, add a couple more tablespoons of water.

Add Heavy Cream to Skillet

After the sauce has simmered and the tomato sauce has mellowed a bit, turn off the heat and stir in 1/3 cup heavy cream.

Stir to Combine Cream with Sauce

After stirring the cream into the sauce, give it a taste and add more salt to taste (I added about 1/4 tsp).

Finished skillet full of Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala with cilantro and torn pieces of Naan bread

I garnished here with fresh cilantro, but didn’t find that it added a lot to the flavor, so that’s entirely optional!

A bowl of creamy Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala being eaten with a spoon and two pieces of naan on the side.

Dig in!

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  1. This was really good. I’ve tried alot of online recipes, not all deliver. I didn’t have enough garam masala, so I improvised and made my own. Plus had to substitute milk for cream because of my health. Thank you! This dish was excellent! and on WW, very low points. Will definitely make again

  2. This was really really good and easy to make. A lot of recipes say they are easy but this one really is! I have don’t this recipe before with diced tomatoes but using actual tomato sauce is so much better. It changes the whole taste and texture of the dish. I served with some brown basmati rice and some (store bought) garlic naan. Delicious!

  3. This was amazing, easy, and I will absolutely add this to my weekly rotation. I took a “risk” and made this for friends without having made it before, which can be anxiety-inducing for me. Everyone enjoyed it and dinner conversation mostly focused on how delicious the meal was. THANK YOU for another easy and delicious recipe using ingredient I can find locally.

  4. I absolutely love this recipe, smells and tastes amazing! I usually add a small yukon gold potato, diced. I’ve also added a small sweet potato, diced.

    1. Hi, Gila! It can definitely stand up to a freeze and will keep for about a month. ~ Marion :)

  5. I have fresh cauliflower. How much should I use and how do you recommend we soften the fresh cauliflower before we add it to the recipe? Thanks in advance.

    1. Use the same amount called for in the recipe. Blanch the cauliflower first. XOXO -Monti

  6. I added a couple of minced habanero peppers to this, and omitted the cayenne pepper. I also used plain yogurt in place of heavy cream because that’s what I had on hand. It came out tasting perfectly fine, and will be going in to my regular meal prep rotation!

  7. Lovely recipe, fast and easy. I didn’t have Garam masala on hand, so mixed cinnamon, coriander, tiny bit of nutmeg and curry powder as a reasonable substitute, in addition to the other spices in the recipe. I used a lot of fresh ginger and smoked paprika. The only other substitution was coconut milk for the heavy cream. Served this with naan. Delicious! This is a good make ahead meal. It reheats beautifully.

  8. The spice mix is so delicious! I tried this recipe with fresh cauliflower and it took forever to cook. If you use fresh cauliflower, I recommend semi-cooking the cauliflower first, so the chickpeas don’t turn mushy. I can see this becoming a side-dish to go with butter chicken!

    Any ideas for making this in a slow-cooker?

  9. This recipie is so delicious…and fast. I had everything in my house except the garam masala, but now that will be a permanent addition to my spice family.

  10. I just finished the last serving (four meals for me) with brown rice, and I was so sad, I immediately planned to buy all the ingredients in the morning and make another big batch. I did sub in a russet potato for the chickpeas, since I needed to use it soon, but tomorrow I’ll use chickpeas, and also probably add zucchini. It’s healthy, vegan (used coconut milk), and really damn delicious! Thanks for this recipe!