A curry on a fast day? Yes, it can be done - try this vegetarian or vegan tikka masala recipe from veggie 5:2 diet recipe book author Kate Harrison for a delicious Indian dish that's under 500 calories

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Think you have to ditch those Friday night takeaways on the 5:2 diet ? Not quite - recreate one of your favourite Indian takeout dishes with this easy and tasty tikka masala recipe for vegetarians or vegans. Devised for those trying the 5:2 diet plan , the recipe is taken from Kate Harrison's book, 5:2 Veggie & Vegan, but we reckon anyone would enjoy this low calorie meal idea.

"I’ve always been envious of my partner for his regular order of chicken tikka masala at our favourite Indian takeaway. Here’s my version for veggies or vegans, with a lower-fat twist (the restaurant version contains loads of cream). Paneer is one of my favourite ingredients, it is a mild but versatile Indian cheese; the calories vary a lot depending on brand, so look for a lower fat version (I used Savera), or use tofu. Homemade masala marinade is delicious and quick to make with a hand blender, but you could save time by buying a paste – again, calories vary."

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6-8 minutes

Serves 2

301/245 calories


200g paneer, 348, or firm tofu, 230, diced

1 onion, chopped, 38

1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into small chunks, 30

100g tomatoes, roughly chopped, 20

½ teaspoon coconut oil, 21

2 level tablespoons strained Greek yogurt, 29-40, or coconut yogurt, 55–195

Chopped fresh coriander, to serve, 2

For the tikka masala paste, 47 calories per serving with lowest-cal vegan yogurt/57 with lowest-cal dairy yogurt

1 teaspoon each whole coriander and cumin seeds, 10

1 teaspoon each turmeric, cayenne pepper and garam masala, 15

2 garlic cloves, crushed or roughly chopped, 8

4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated, 8

1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped, 4

2 tablespoons tomato purée, 20–46

50g strained full-fat Greek yogurt, 48–65, or coconut yogurt 28–98


1. Place all the paste ingredients in the beaker for a stick blender (or a tall jug: you don’t want chilli or garlic in your eye). Blend together until the whole mix is thick and fragrant. If using ready-made paste, stir 3 tablespoons into the yogurt, adding a little extra turmeric and garam masala if you have them. Place the mixture in a sealed plastic container until needed.

2. Mix the paneer or tofu into the paste to coat. Let it marinate in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight if you have time.

3. Fry the onion, pepper and tomatoes in the coconut oil in a medium saucepan for 2 minutes. Now add the paneer/tofu and paste to the pan with 50ml water. Cook, stirring gently, for 4–5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir the last bit of yogurt through just before serving. Add the coriander as a garnish, or serve with cauliflower rice.

P.S. The second portion keeps in the fridge (but maybe padlock it in the meantime, it’s that delicious). For a halloumi version, make the tikka paste and fry with the vegetables and tomato sauce. In a separate non-stick frying pan, fry 100g of reduced fat halloumi (230 calories) in ½ teaspoon of oil, until browned on both sides. Add to the curry sauce and serve immediately – halloumi is salty so doesn’t need extra seasoning.

This recipe is from  5:2 VEGGIE & VEGAN by Kate Harrison , published by Orion (Paperback: £7.99, eBook: £4.99)

Food photography by Faith Mason. Author photography by Chris O'Donovan.

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See our  six-week series of 5:2 diet meal plans here