Tomato Chickpea Cauliflower Masala
June 7, 2024
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano

This delicious mashup of two Indian culinary favorites is sure to be a hit at your table. Chana masala meets makhani chole (butter chickpeas) in this creamy, rich, and comforting dish. Made in one pot for easy cleanup, and with the option of a slow cooker version, this recipe is as adaptable as it is healthy and tasty. Chickpeas offer an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber, while cauliflower provides vitamin K, C and sulforaphane, which has anti-cancer properties. Garam masala, an essential Indian spice blend, is a nutritional powerhouse in its own right, helping to lower inflammation in the body, boost digestion, fight oral bacteria, lower cancer risk and improve blood pressure and heart health. This recipe also freezes beautifully—making it perfect for meal prep and planning.

Serves: 4-6
Total Time: 30 minutes (or 4 hours if made in a slow cooker)


  • 3 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2-inch piece of peeled ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder 
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half (omit for a vegan dish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped cilantro and/or parsley to garnish
  • Cooked quinoa, rice and/or naan bread, to serve


  1. In a large and deep pot (or multicooker if you’re going to slow cook the recipe) heat the ghee or butter over medium heat. 
  2. Sautee the onion, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes, until golden and softened. Add the ground spices and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. 
  3. Add the cauliflower, chickpeas and crushed tomatoes, along with a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 cup of water or broth, and stir to combine. 
  4. Cover with the lid slightly ajar and cook over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, at a bare simmer, until the cauliflower is fork tender. 
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in your heavy cream to taste. Season with salt and pepper if needed. 
  6. Divide between serving bowls and garnish with parsley. Serve alongside your grain of choice and warm naan bread for dipping. 

Recipe Notes: If preparing in a multicooker or slow cooker, cook on low for 4-6 hours until the cauliflower is tender. If desired, omit the heavy cream (or use a vegan alternative).

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About the Author

Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: