Quick & Easy Chana Masala

I found this recipe on Vegweb.com a few years ago and I probably make it at least once a month. It’s not super authentic, but it’s quick, easy, and tastes great.

Quick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-Free

I love this recipe because it satisfies my 3 basic requirements for weekday meals:

  1. It’s quick to prepare — it’s faster than waiting on the delivery guy! (check out my other ready in under 30 minute recipes)
  2. It’s comes together easily — you chop the onion and cook everything up in the frying pan
  3. It’s made-up of pantry staples — so there’s no running to the store to buy expensive or exotic ingredients

Quick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-FreeQuick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-FreeQuick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-Free

My only complaint about a lot of Indian food is that it often lacks green veggies, which add so much color and nutrients. I therefore include baby spinach in this dish and/or top it with cilantro (fresh coriander).

Quick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-Free

Served straight-up, this serves 2 people. However, you can stretch it to 4 servings if you serve it on rice/quinoa.

Quick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-FreeQuick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-Free

Quick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-Free Quick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-Free
Quick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-Free Quick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-Free

4.7 from 6 reviews
Quick & Easy Chana Masala
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This curry is hearty, delicious, and ready in no time. With the addition of baby spinach, it's colorful and nutritious. Vegan & Gluten-Free.
Recipe type: Main, Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, drained, reserving 3 tbsp liquid
  • ½ lemon (about 1 tbsp), juiced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • crushed red pepper (optional, to taste)
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • cilantro (fresh coriander) (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a medium flying pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Fry onions until slightly browned. Reduce heat to medium.
  2. Add garlic, curry, and tomato paste. Stir and simmer about 2 minutes.
  3. Add chickpeas, liquid, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Stir and simmer until chickpeas are softened, about 6 minutes.
  4. Stir in spinach, if using, and add crushed red pepper, to taste.
  5. Serve as-is, or over rice. May be topped with fresh cilantro or vegan sour cream / yogurt.
Notes
Serves 2 as-is, or 4 when served with rice.
Recipe adapted from Chana Masala recipe on VegWeb.com

Quick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-FreeQuick & Easy Chana Masala - Vegan & Gluten-Free

UPDATE

July 7, 2013 – I made this again today and made a few changes to the recipe to make it even easier (and healthier). I also updated the photos. Enjoy!

33 Comments

  1. Alana says:

    Thank you for this recipe!
    I started making it last week and then realized I was out of chickpeas, (this always happens to me), so I substituted cannellini beans, and they worked just fine. I’ll definitely make this again, next time with chickpeas!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Alana – That’s a great substitution, thanks for sharing. I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m out of chickpeas (happens to me too!)

      Reply
  2. Bret says:

    When you say “curry” do you mean paste, powder, or fresh herbs?

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Bret – I mean curry powder. I’ll update the post now – thanks!

      Reply
  3. Thurstonmom says:

    Hello, just found your blog the other day when I was looking for some new high protein concoctions to better support a new weightlifting routine I started. I would consider myself and hubby (who is not vegan) curry connoseurs (not sure I spelled that right :) I made this the other night and it came out fantastic. Proof that curries need not be fussy and time consuming, thanks!

    Reply
  4. Elmari says:

    Thanks for the lovely recipe. I am going to make it for some friends tomorrow night that I haven’t seen in a long time!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      YAY! I hope it was a hit!

      Reply
  5. Corinne says:

    Look forward to trying this! When I first became vegetarian I was eating a lot of prepackaged Indian food, but like you said you miss out on a lot of great greens. (My Indian friend pointed out to me that while his whole family are vegetarian, all his aunts have big fat bellies.). Still, Chana Masala is delicious! Will definitely make this soon!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hah! Well I love this dish because it’s so easy and filling. But yes, I recommend adding some greens to it – not only for nutrients, but for color as well :)

      Reply
  6. Alissia says:

    Today, I took on a vegan challenge for the month. Yes, just 4 days ago I had a nice, thick filet mignon, SMH. Here I am today thinking, will I be able to make it through this challenge for the next 23 days. Well if I find more simple, filling recipes like this I’ll be good.

    The only change I made was fresh lime juice opposed to lemon juice, but that’s a personal preference. I prepared brown rice to go with it, but this is really a dish that can stand alone, the cilantro brought a great brightness to it. Thanks for the recipe and looking forward to trying more.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Alissia – Congratulations on your decision to take on a vegan challenge. I hope you’re still going strong! I’m glad you liked this recipe. I made it myself this week – it’s just a hearty dish that is so simple to put together. Take care!

      Reply
  7. melanie says:

    I recently discovered pepperplate.com and since I‘ve been looking for nutricious, fast and easy recipes to add to my recipe book. Your blog is soooo inspiring! Everything looks very good. I‘ll definitely try this chana masala sometime this week. I also want to try your famous potage de brocoli et patates!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Bonjour Melanie! Thanks for stopping by and mentioning pepperplate.com – I hadn’t even heard of it but I’m definitely going to register for an account! Let me know if you tried the Chana Masala or the Potage ;)

      Reply
  8. gunit says:

    Tried this today but my can opener broke, so I had to improvise with the tomato paste or chickpeas. Subbed in 1 crushed fresh tomato and used yam cut into chickpea sized pieces – delicious! Turned into a sweeter version than usual, but with a little extra spice, everything balanced out. Thanks for a great and simple recipe!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Wow – that’s very creative, and I bet it was really yummy :)

      Reply
  9. Nic says:

    Hi, Ive been meaning to comment on your recipes for a while now. My best friend and I catch up nearly every Wednesday night to make one of your dishes. To say we are a fan of your recipes is an understatement. So delicious and easy to follow.
    I made this dish last night and absolutely loved it! So much flavour! Only took me 15 minutes and I had enough leftover for my lunch today.
    Just wanted to say a big thank you for this amazing blog and I will be voting for you in the Top 25 Vegan Blogs of 2013.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Woah… Your comment totally made my day. I can’t believe you get together with your friend and try a recipe from my site every week. I’m honored!

      I’m glad you like this recipe – it really is one one my favorites as well. Super fast, super easy, super healthy. My kind of recipe!

      Anyway, thanks again for writing. Comments like this totally motivate me to keep posting new recipes :)

      Reply
  10. John says:

    Made it for lunch today. Quick with no fuss and nice taste. Next time I think I will have it over rice, but it is nice to have a recipe like this that is easy to remember and quick to prepare out of pretty ordinary stuff in the cupboard. Thanks.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Awesome! Glad you liked it and thanks for taking the time to write :)

      Reply
  11. Samantha says:

    So I was all excited to make this as I got the fixings a few nights ago, along with things to make oyur easy red quinoa curry. I was just making it, and for some reason I thought it said 1 can of tomato paste. after everything was mixed in except the spinach, I was thinking to myself “that’s a whole lot of tomato paste,” so I double checked the recipe. Sure enough 1 TBSP is a lot different than 1 can. So I put everything in a strainer and tried to drain all the tomato paste off. I got about half of it out, and decided to try to reconile it. So I added a couple scoops of the red quinoa curry recipe that I made a few nights ago, added a couple extra spices and more lemon juice. and VOILA. It’s actually delicious.

    So if someone else is a little lacking in the kitchen department, there is always hope.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Oh no! Well done with saving the recipe though! Very creative of you! How did you like the red curry quinoa?

      Reply
  12. Lis Armstrong says:

    Ah, our favourite midweek, no fuss, get to the couch quickly dinner :) Made this again tonight and added ground chilli, yum! Nice kick, glad I went with the optional suggestion finally! Thanks again

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Just noticed your comment! It’s a staple at our house too. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Lisette :)

      Reply
  13. Ioanna says:

    This is a really delicious recipe! Thanks Angela for posting this. I just came across your webpage and it looks like I will be staying as you have some great stuff here. My next attempt will be the cheese as I love a good cheese and wine.
    Keep up the great posts!

    blessings
    Io x

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re so welcome, and thanks for the kind words about my site. Let me know if you try the cheese :)

      Reply
  14. Tania says:

    I really appreciate the more staple recipes!!! So much. I’m newly vegan and around 30 min to make food is my maximum haha. They’re actually my favourite too, because they’re usually pretty basic and nutritious.

    Think I’m going to have this for dinner :).

    Reply
    • Thanks for the feedback – they’re my favorite kind of recipe as well. Here’s a listing of all my “under-30 minute” recipes :)

      Reply
      • Tania says:

        I can’t see the listing you linked, but I did follow the 30 minute tag and bookmarked so so many of them.

        The chana masala tastes so good! I’m so proud, even though it’s your recipe haha!! xD
        Though I like the chickpeas to be a bit softer so I’m leaving it with a lid covering it for ten-fifteen minutes.

        Reply
  15. j-me says:

    I just discovered your wonderful blog a few days ago and have already made two dishes (this and the mashed cauliflower); both were delicious! The chana was tonight’s dinner and I will absolutely be making this again! Thanks so much for posting such easy to follow and tasty recipes!!

    Reply
    • Yay, that’s so great to hear! I’m glad you’re enjoying my recipes. Please let me know what else you try :)

      Reply
  16. Kate says:

    Really wonderful. Making it was a breeze and I love the end result. I’m gonna be adding this to my rotation of regular lunch and dinner recipes. Was my first time cooking with chickpeas, too. Thanks for sharing; I’ve got you bookmarked.

    Reply
    • So glad to hear it! Thanks for taking the time to write :)

      Reply
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