This one-pot vegan chana masala is packed with delicious Indian flavor and ready in just 30 minutes. Perfect for a weeknight meal!
It's been a minute since I've added a new curry recipe to the blog, so I wanted to share this quick and easy Chana Masala recipe with you today. This curry is absolutely packed with flavor, and yet it's simple enough to make on a busy weeknight. What's not to love?
What is Chana Masala?
Chana Masala, also known colloquially as "Chole" in many parts of India, is a popular dish that originates from the Indian subcontinent, particularly in the northern regions.
The name itself is quite descriptive of its ingredients and preparation: "Chana" refers to chickpeas, and "Masala" refers to a particular mixture of spices. This dish reflects the rich culinary heritage of India, where legumes like chickpeas have been a staple for centuries and are celebrated for their versatility and nutritional value.
Chana Masala is traditionally made with chickpeas that are simmered in a spicy, tangy tomato-based sauce infused with an array of aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, garam masala, and turmeric.
The dish has become a beloved part of vegetarian cuisine worldwide. Each region in India has its own version of Chana Masala, with variations in spice blends and cooking techniques, reflecting the diversity of Indian cuisine.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Vegan Chana Masala is a dish that's as nutritious as it is delicious! Packed with protein-rich chickpeas and a symphony of spices, it's a vegan dish that will delight even the most picky palates. It's:
- Hearty and Satisfying: The chickpeas provide a wonderful, filling base that's both comforting, satisfying, and loaded with healthy protein.
- Flavor-Packed: A blend of traditional Indian spices ensures each bite is bursting with flavor.
- Easy to Make: My simplified version of traditional chana masala uses easy to find ingredients and straightforward steps for an easy recipe that can be ready in just 30 minutes.
These are obviously the star of the show here. I like to use canned chickpeas for convenience, but you can also prepare dried chickpeas for use in this recipe if you prefer. You would need about two cups of cooked chickpeas. Note that chickpeas are also commonly called garbanzo beans!
I use a handful of common Indian spices in this recipe, but the most important one is the garam masala, which gives the dish it's classic flavor. I recommend using a high quality garam masala powder for the best results! (I like this one.)
I use fresh tomatoes in my chana masala, and I do think it gives the best flavor and texture. But you can substitute a 15 oz can of chopped or crushed tomatoes if you prefer.
Tips and Tricks
The recipe is mildly spicy as it's written (at least from my perspective!). You can add more chili powder or an additional green chili pepper to amp up the heat. Or cut out both for a milder dish.
Pair this Vegan Chana Masala with fluffy basmati rice, warm vegan naan, or even over a bed of fresh greens for a lighter option. It's versatile and pairs well with various sides.
Store leftover chana masala in the fridge for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. To serve again, defrost (if frozen) and reheat over medium heat on the stovetop.
Variations and Substitutions
Make a Creamier Version: Add a splash of coconut milk for a richer, creamier texture.
Tangy Twist: An additional squeeze of lemon juice before serving adds a fresh zing.
Garnish Galore: Top your chana masala with fresh cilantro, diced onions, or a dollop of vegan raita for added flavor and texture.
More Vegan Indian Recipes
If you love this Vegan Chana Masala, be sure to check out these other Indian inspired vegan recipes:
30-Minute Vegan Chana Masala
- 15 oz canned chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger minced
- 1 large tomato finely chopped
- 1 green chili finely chopped (optional, adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder adjust to taste
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil such as coconut or vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
- Fresh cilantro optional, for garnishing
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- Sauté Spices: Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Then add the chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
- Add Garlic and Ginger: Add the minced garlic and ginger to the pan and sauté for another minute.
- Tomato and Spices: Add the chopped tomatoes, green chili, and tomato paste. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and the oil starts to separate. Then add the ground coriander, garam masala, turmeric, red chili powder, and lemon juice. Stir well.
- Chickpeas: Add the cooked chickpeas to the pan. Mix well to ensure the chickpeas are coated with the spice mixture.
- Simmer: Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. The gravy should thicken, and the flavors will meld together.
- Season and Garnish: Adjust salt to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.
- Serve: Serve hot with rice, naan, or your favorite Indian bread.