Raise your hand if you find cooking Indian food intimidating. Growing up, Indian food was not a part of our diet and many of the names and dishes are still unfamiliar to me. Tikka masala was the first Indian dish I ever tried. It's one of the most popular Indian dishes in the United States, most often featuring chicken in a creamy and slightly spicy red sauce. Traditional masala sauce does contain dairy in the form of cream or yogurt. It adds a creaminess to the sauce that ups the satisfaction factor. Many other Indian dishes also contain dairy, often in the form of milk/cream, yogurt, or paneer, a hard Indian cheese similar to halloumi.
Maya Kaimal is a brand of store-bought Indian Simmer Sauce, Everyday Dal and Surekha Rice options that have been in the game since 2003. Their products are sold in Whole Foods, Fairway, Target, Amazon, and many more locations around the country. This woman-owned business makes cooking Indian food at home so easy because the sauces take out all the guesswork, and they prevent you from having to buy obscure spices that you worry you'll never use again. Maya Kaimal's sauces were some of their first products on the market, some of which contain dairy, but this fall they’re launching a new line of VEGAN simmer sauces to cater to all types of eaters. Options include vegan tikka masala, spicy vindaloo, and coconut korma. These sauces are so delicious and are perfect for those with a dairy allergy, lactose intolerance, or people who follow a plant based/vegan diet. They go great with vegetables, tofu, or meat and make a full meal when paired with a complex carb like brown rice or whole wheat naan on the side. In this recipe, I use the Maya Kaimal Vegan Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce to make a high fiber, plant based meal that bursting with Indian flavor. It feels like a healthy upgrade from that first chicken tikka masala from years ago.
Veggie Packed Vegan Masala featuring Maya Kaimal's NEW Vegan Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1 large carrot
1 small butternut squash (about 3 cups cubed)
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 jar of Maya Kaimal's NEW Vegan Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce
1 can of low sodium chickpeas
1/2 cup quinoa (dry)
2 cups riced cauliflower
1 tablespoon vegan butter (or regular butter/ghee if you aren't trying to keep this vegan)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag of baby spinach
Recommended topping options: cilantro, lime wedges, crushed cashews, shredded coconut
1. Dice your onion, peppers, carrot, and butternut squash. The vegetables should be in small pieces- no more than quarter inch. The butternut squash can be a little larger, but still no more than a half inch.
2. Microwave the butternut squash in a microwave safe bowl with a splash of water for about a minute to pre-soften.
3. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large stock pot. Add onion and sauté a few minutes until it starts to soften. Then add pepper, carrot , butternut squash, and vegetable broth. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times.
4. Empty entire container of simmer sauce into the pot and mix well. Once it starts to bubble, turn heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. While your veggies are simmering, cook your quinoa. Add quinoa to a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes covered until the water has absorbed. Add riced cauliflower, butter, and salt. Mix well.
6. Stir in the drained chickpeas. Then add baby spinach into the pot with the vegetables. Cook covered for about 10 more minutes until the spinach has fully wilted, stirring a few times to help it along.
7. Serve the vegetable masala and the cauliflower quinoa side by side in a bowl. Top with your desired toppings.