Chicken Tikka Masala With Spinach & Cranberries

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Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala With Spinach & Cranberries

Chicken tikka masala and butter chicken are probably two of the most popular Anglo-Indian curries, and this dish is my adaptation and tribute to both of them. Made paleo style, of course. It’s rich and creamy, yet dairy-free and gluten-free, so it’s like a healthier version of the classic. It’s full of nourishing ingredients, such as turmeric, coconut milk, spinach, cranberries and coriander.

This is a great make ahead dish and can be served with cauliflower or other veggies. The heat level is mild, but feel free to omit or reduce the amount of diced chilli used, to make it milder. If using a slow cooker, do the first few steps and once you’ve added the liquids, set the timer as needed. Add the spinach and cranberries at the end.


Cook’s notes: 

  • I used chicken breast meat in this recipe, but you can easily use chicken thighs, turkey, prawns or fish. For a completely vegetarian version, I would use a mix of pumpkin or sweet potato, carrots and mushrooms.
  • I used canned full-fat coconut milk with 50% coconut extract. Make sure to shake the coconut milk before adding to the curry, or scoop out the thicker part for a thicker, richer sauce.
  • Spinach can be replaced with chard, kale, broccoli or any other greens you have on hand. Cranberries add a lovely sour-sweet touch but can be omitted or replaced with some dried sultanas or diced apricots.
  • Garam masala is an Indian spice blend and can be purchased in most supermarkets. It’s fantastic in curries and stews and is great to have in the pantry.
  • I used a teaspoon of honey for extra sweetness, but this can be omitted if you’re avoiding all sweeteners at the moment.
  • Arrowroot powder or flour is used to thicken the sauce. It can be omitted, or tapioca flour could also be used for this.
  • To prepare cauliflower rice, I finely diced half a head of cauliflower (you can use a food processor for this) and then pan-fried it in a little coconut oil for a minute or two – literally to heat through. White rice is also fine if you’re including it.

Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala with Spinach & Cranberries

Love a good curry? Check out my Scrummy Coconut Lamb Curry, my Homemade Japanese Chicken Curry or my Banana Chicken Korma.


Chicken Tikka Masala With Spinach & Cranberries

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Cuisine: Indian


Feel free to reduce the amount of chilli used for less heat. I’ve provided step-by-step photos for this recipe below. Please refer to cook’s notes above for more info.



  • 1 heaped tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 1 red chilli (long one), deseeded and finely diced
  • 4 medium chicken breasts, diced (about 550 g / 1.2 lb total)
  • 2 teaspoons, grated ginger (see pic for the size of ginger)
  • 34 medium cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (add a little more salt, if not using)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (apple cider vinegar can also be used)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup diced tinned tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (see Cook’s Notes)
  • 4 large handfuls of baby spinach (or chopped English spinach)
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder (see Cook’s Notes)
  • Fresh coriander for garnish
  • Cauliflower for making ‘cauli rice’


  1. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and chilli and cook for 2 minutes, stirring a few times.
  2. Add the chicken and stir for a minute. Then add the ginger and garlic and stir through again.
  3. Add the spices and salt, and stir for 20-30 seconds to release the aromas.
  4. Add the fish sauce, lemon juice, honey, chopped tomatoes, water and coconut milk and stir through.
  5. Bring to boil, then turn down to medium and cook for 15 minutes, covered with a lid.
  6. After 15 minutes, add the cranberries and cook uncovered for a further 2-3 minutes. Finally, add the spinach and stir through for 20-30 seconds, until it’s wilted.
  7. Scoop some of the sauce to a small bowl and add the arrowroot powder/flour. Stir until dissolved and add back to the curry. Remove from heat and stir through – this will thicken the sauce slightly.

Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala with Spinach & Cranberries


Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala with Spinach & Cranberries


Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala with Spinach & Cranberries


About me: I share nutritious recipes focusing on vegetables, paleo and gluten-free diets. I create cookbooks and meal plans to help you get healthier and lose weight. I’m currently finishing an advanced diploma in Nutrition & Weight Management. More about me here.

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  1. Beautiful! My partner enjoyed the dinner I cooked tonight 🙂 really nice addition of cranberries and spinach for a bit of change… I’d recommend this recipe and will cook again with other family members 😉

  2. Great recipe! So quick and easy, good alternative to your wonderful Dahl recipe that I’ve made often recently. I have to make without onion and garlic, but use substitute of green parts of spring onions and garlic infused olive oil.
    I like to bulk out the veggies in these for extra fibre and nutrition.
    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes on your site

  3. Lots of spices, Lots of flavor! I love all the detail you submitted and not to mention the alternatives! Thank you, it was a hit!! I used half chipotle from a can as I my groecer store was not carrying at this time. I didn’t have to use arrowroot but I was prepared with tapioca flour in case. It was a perfect consistency however I would try it in the future b/c Im sure it will be delicious thicker..I love my new spice which I had to buy Garam Masala.. I 100% recommend this recipe!!

  4. We’ve made this a few times and I keep meaning to write a review as it’s a really great recipe and incredibly simple. We substitute the spinach for kale (as we have a glut of that in the garden!), which works really well. I now make up big batches and freeze portions for the evenings that we don’t fancy cooking, as it’s a real treat. It doesn’t stay in the freezer long!

  5. I never go wrong with your wonderful recipes. You make eating Paleo really fun! This was absolutely superb! I changed a few things. I used half an Anaheim pepper because they are milder and I can’t handle super spicy foods. I used a half cup of cashew milk and a half cup of chicken bone broth because I can’t digest coconut milk. I was out of spinach so I used one sweet potato diced, instead. I cooked it in my slow cooker for two hours on low. It was so delicious that I shared the recipe with my Vegan son who loves to cook and will leave out the chicken and add more veggies. I could eat this every day and never get tired of it. Thanks so much!

  6. I made this tonight and it was sooo delicious. I substituted white wine vinegar for the apple cider, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Because there is only the two of us, I am very pleased we can have the leftovers tomorrow.
    Will most definitely be making this again.

  7. Can the dried cranberries used in this recipe be replaced by fresh cranberries? I have an abundance of whole cranberries stored in my freezer, so I’m always on the lookout for recipes that incorporate that sweet-tart taste. If I were to sub fresh for dried, would one tablespoon of minced, fresh cranberries work?

    1. The dried cranberries give it a little sweet and tart bursts. The fresh cranberries will give you the tartness but not the sweetness. You could use a combination of some fresh cranberries and some dried sultanas for example.

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