This Indian-inspired coconut chickpea curry recipe is incredibly easy to make in less than 30 minutes and simmered in the most delicious lemon-ginger coconut curry sauce.
When you’re craving a flavorful, feel-good, quick vegetarian dinner, it doesn’t get much easier than this cozy chickpea curry.
Inspired by Indian chana masala, this chickpea curry is one of those gloriously simple meals that only requires you to briefly chop two ingredients (hi, onion and garlic!). Then everything else is simply stirred in and simmered together until the sauce bubbles up to creamy, vibrant, delicious perfection. Served warm over rice and drizzled with an extra squeeze of lemon, I’m telling you, this chickpea curry feels like the coziest hug in a bowl. And my goodness, is it delicious. ♡
The coconut curry sauce here is already naturally vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, simmered with tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and a rich blend of seasonings. And while I chose to keep things simple in this batch by just wilting a few handfuls of spinach in with the chickpeas, you would of course be welcome to add in any extra veggies or proteins that happen to sound good too.
We find ourselves returning to this curry recipe here in our family constantly since it mainly uses pantry ingredients that we always have on hand. So if you’re looking for a last-minute idea for dinner tonight too, grab a few cans of chickpeas and let’s make a big pot of curry together!
Chickpea Curry Ingredients
Before we get to the full chickpea curry recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need:
Onion and garlic: These are the only two ingredients that you need to chop and will serve as the base aromatics for our sauté.
Fresh ginger: I highly recommend using fresh instead of ground ginger for richest flavor, which you can either grate or finely-mince. That said, if you do not have fresh ginger on hand, you can sub in 1 teaspoon ground ginger instead.
Dried spices: We’ll use a simple blend of garam masala, ground cumin, and ground turmeric, which we will sauté briefly with the onion and garlic to enhance their flavors. We’ll also use fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper for seasoning.
Chickpeas: I always opt for canned chickpeas to make this recipe extra quick and easy, but you are welcome to cook your own chickpeas from scratch if you prefer.
Diced tomatoes: I recommend using fire-roasted diced tomatoes if possible, but plain diced tomatoes will also work perfectly well here.
Greens: I tossed a few handfuls of baby spinach into this batch, but kale or collard greens would also work well.
Lemon: I always like to add a hint of fresh lemon juice to the pot of curry, and then serve each bowl with a few extra lemon wedges on the side for squeezing. (I personally prefer this curry very lemony!)
Fresh cilantro: I love topping this curry with lots of fresh cilantro, but feel free to omit if cilantro’s not your thing.
Chickpea Curry Variations
Here are a few more ways that you’re welcome to customize this chickpea curry recipe to your liking:
Make it spicier: Sauté a fresh chile pepper (Thai chile, jalapeño, serrano, etc) along with the garlic and onion, or simmer extra crushed red chili peppers or cayenne in the sauce.
Use cream or half and half: If you’d rather not use coconut milk, you’re welcome to sub in heavy cream or half and half instead.
Add a protein: Chicken, beef, pork, meatballs, or shrimp would all go well with this curry if you would like to add a protein.
More Favorite Curry Recipes
Looking for more cozy curry recipes to try? Here are a few of our faves:
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice, plus extra lemon wedges for serving
chopped fresh cilantro, for topping
Sauté veggies.Heat oil in a large stockpot or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic, grated ginger, garam masala, salt, cumin, turmeric, a pinch of cayenne, and a few twists of black pepper and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Simmer.Add the chickpeas, coconut milk, diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the sauce reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
Finish.Add the baby spinach and lemon and stir until the spinach has wilted.
Season.Taste and season the sauce with additional salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if needed.
Serve.Serve warm over rice, garnished with fresh cilantro and extra lemon wedges. Enjoy!
Source: This recipe is inspired by Indian and Pakistani-style chana masala, which translates to mean “spiced chickpeas.” To learn more about the origins and details of this delicious dish, I recommend diving into this post from 196 Flavors, which also includes a more authentic chana masala recipe.