Chana Masala is a staple of plant-based eating. It’s easy, comforting, healthy and delish. The earthy and fragrant spices, mixed with the slightly sweet smell of translucent onions cooking in the pan is divine. The spicy tinge on the tongue opens the passages and clears the head in the stuffy cold winter season. A side of quality basmati rice, with its delicate texture and light, fluffy grains, tops off this essential vegan dish. Accompany your Chana Masala with homemade naan, freshly rolled out and pan fried until crispy with an airy soft inside.
You can use dried chickpeas and fully cook them ahead of time to use on the recipe if you’d like. Keep in mind that while a lot of bags of dried chickpeas state that you must soak the chickpeas overnight before boiling, you actually don’t! You can simply boil them longer than it states and they will turn out great. If you rarely plan your meals ahead enough to boil dried chickpeas before using in a recipe, then canned will suit you well.
The highest quality chickpeas you’ll come across that are caned are Eden Organic Garbanzo Beans. Plump and pretty, these beans are packed only in water and Kombu seaweed. They’re never slimy, and have a beautiful texture and taste. Of course, any old chickpeas will do. This recipe is packed with flavourful spices, so your garbanzos will be swimming in a gravy of fragrant flavours.
When it comes to tomatoes, quality is important. If you’ve used your fair share of tinned tomatoes, you’ve probably come to realize that not all are created equal. There are massive differences in quality and flavour of canned tomatoes. Good tomato products should have a nice deep red colour, a pure tomato flavour, a freshness and a sweetness. Mutti tomato products always deliver on all fronts. They’re a bit pricier than your run of the mill canned tomatoes, but well worth it.
Another plus is that Mutti works closely with their farming partners, paying higher prices for the best quality so that their partners can pay fair wages and maintain sustainable farming practices. Ethical and way tastier than your average tin, it will be hard to go back to your budget cans once you’ve tasted these.
Onions & Cilantro
Onion is the base of your Chana Masala. If you run out of onions, don’t bother making this dish until you get your hands on some onion! A chickpea curry is not worth a thing without onion. Pan fried until translucent in a bit of oil, it infuses intense flavour into the dish. Garlic alone won’t cut it! The potent smell of cooking diced onion coated in fine olive oil is part of the Chana Masala experience, and absolutely essential to the flavour of the dish.
Fresh cilantro is also a must for Chana Masala. Its pleasing taste reminiscent of parsley and citrus gives complexity to your dish. A little bit of cilantro mixed into your simmering curry amps up the flavours. A bunch topped on your plated Chana Masala adds a light bright contrast to the deep flavours of your curry.
Homeade Vegan Naan
Try my super easy Vegan Naan recipe with your Chana Masala! It has a crispy, bubbly exterior and a tender soft inside. Plant-based sour cream gives it that rich flavour of traditional naan.
Easy Vegan Chana Masala
Chana Masala (Easy Chickpea Curry)
- olive oil
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 small green chilli (or 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes)
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 can Mutti finely chopped tomatoes (796 ml)
- 1 can chickpeas
- juice half a lemon
- fresh cilantro
Chana Masala (Easy Chickpea Curry)
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and cook until onion becomes translucent and begins to brown, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic, ginger, and chilli or red pepper flakes.
- Continue to cook over medium heat until garlic is fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add garam masala, turmeric, salt, and pepper then continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and chickpeas. Stir to incorporate.
- Cook for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Remove lid, reduce heat to low and mix in the lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Cook over low heat 1-2 minutes.
- Serve over basmati rice or with a side of naan.