Vegan Butter “Chicken” (no tofu)

Tender pieces of vegan “chicken” swim in a creamy, rich spiced tomato-based sauce that’s full of flavor, texture, and complexity. This recipe, although requiring more than a handful of ingredients, is simple to make.

This Vegan Butter “Chicken” recipe contains no tofu, but definitely a whole lot of flavor. This dish is simpler to make than you may think. Want another comfort dish to add to your menu this fall? I got you.

vegan butter chicken no tofu

Vegan butter chicken without tofu? Yeah, that’s right. This dish packs a whole lot of flavor with an abundance of warming spices, aromatics, coconut milk, and fresh tomatoes.

This butter “chicken” uses Daring chicken substitute (not sponsored) that has a very similar taste and texture to real chicken. It adds a delicious chicken-like component to this dish that you don’t want to skip!

Although this recipe has a long list of ingredients, many of them are pantry staples. Trust me, this recipe is worth every minute of your time.

vegan butter chicken no tofu

How to Make Vegan Butter “Chicken”:

Chicken Marinade

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the non-dairy yogurt, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, spices, and salt until combined. Add 1 tbsp of water to thin out the marinade, if needed. Add the thawed chicken pieces and stir to fully coat the chicken in the marinade. Cover bowl and transfer to the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, overnight is preferred.

Butter “Chicken” Sauce

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet. When sizzling, add chicken pieces and fry until browned for about 3 minutes on each side. Stir in 1 tbsp of vegan butter. Transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add sliced onion, soaked cashews, and chopped tomatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes until tomatoes have broken apart and onions are soft. Transfer to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Set onion-cashew-tomato mixture aside.
  3. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in the same pan. Add ground cumin, cardamom, cloves, coriander, sugar, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon stick. Toast for 1 minute until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add grated ginger, minced garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, and 1 tsp of water. Stir well and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Pour in the onion-cashew-tomato mixture, 1/2 cup coconut milk, and 1/2 cup water. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until it has slightly thickened. Add 1/4 cup more of water if sauce is too thick. Adjust taste with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 tbsp of butter. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in chopped fresh cilantro. Serve Vegan Butter “Chicken” over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.
vegan butter chicken no tofu
vegan butter chicken no tofu

Your ‘Vegan Butter Chicken‘ Questions Answered:

What chicken substitute do I use?

I used Daring Foods Plant-Based Chicken. It has a very similar taste and texture to real chicken and I prefer it in this dish. If this specific brand is not accessible to you, I also suggest Gardein, soy curls, or even chickpeas.

Can I use “regular” dairy yogurt?

Of course you can! Use what works best for you.

Where can I find garam masala spice?

Garam masala can be found in most grocery stores. Here is an online link, if that’s your jam.

My sauce is too thick, what do I do?

If your sauce is on the thicker side, add 1-2 tbsp of butter or a small amount of water and cook for an additional minute.

How do I store this Vegan Butter “Chicken”?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat butter chicken in the microwave or skillet.

If you’re looking for more Indian-Inspired recipes, you’ll also love this Indian-Inspired Chickpea Curry and this Indian-Spiced Cauliflower.

Also, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram don’t forget to tag me @healthienut + #healthienut! I love seeing your mouthwatering recreations!


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vegan butter chicken no tofu
Vegan Butter “Chicken” (no tofu)
Prep Time
50 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

Tender pieces of vegan "chicken" swim in a creamy, rich spiced tomato-based sauce that's full of flavor, texture, and complexity. This recipe, although requiring more than a handful of ingredients, is simple to make.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: no tofu, Vegan butter chicken, vegan dinner recipe
Servings: 5 servings
Author: Taavi Moore
Ingredients
"Chicken" Marinade
  • 16 oz. vegan chicken pieces
  • ½ cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
Butter "Chicken" Sauce
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup cashews (soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes or overnight)
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp each: ground coriander, cloves, cardamom
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • ½ cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
Instructions
"Chicken" Marinade
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the non-dairy yogurt, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, spices, and salt until combined. Add 1 tbsp of water to thin out the marinade, if needed. Add the thawed chicken pieces and stir to fully coat the chicken in the marinade. Cover bowl and transfer to the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, overnight is preferred. 

Butter "Chicken" Sauce
  1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet. When sizzling, add chicken pieces and fry until browned for about 3 minutes on each side. Stir in 1 tbsp of vegan butter. Transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside. 

  2. In the same pan, add sliced onion, soaked cashews, and chopped tomatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes until tomatoes have broken apart and onions are soft. Transfer to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Set onion-cashew-tomato mixture aside. 

  3. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in the same pan. Add ground cumin, cardamom, cloves, coriander, sugar, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon stick. Toast for 1 minute until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add grated ginger, minced garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, and 1 tsp of water. Stir well and cook for 1 minute.

  4. Pour in the onion-cashew-tomato mixture, 1/2 cup coconut milk, and 1/2 cup water. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until it has slightly thickened. If your sauce is on the thicker side, add 1-2 tbsp of butter or a small amount of water and cook for an additional minute. Adjust taste with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 tbsp of butter. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.

  5. Remove from the heat and stir in chopped fresh cilantro. Serve Vegan Butter "Chicken" over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro. 

  6. To store: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat butter chicken in the microwave or skillet. 

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