Chickpea Curry Recipe

Chickpea curry is a delicious curry recipe that can be served on its own or over a bed of rice or quinoa. It’s filling, has a good dose of fiber, and is naturally plant-based.

A good curry is always a great recipe to have in your dinner arsenal. It’s versatile, always full of delicious spiced flavors, and travels well to work the next day.

An overhead view of a wood bowl filled with Chickpea Curry and garnished with fresh, chopped cilantro and a lime wedge.

What Is Chickpea Curry?

Chickpea curry is a dish made with chickpeas that are cooked in a sauce filled with Indian-inspired spices, tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, and in this case, coconut milk.

It’s a very simple Indian-style dish that can be served over rice, quinoa, or any other grain you prefer. It’s hearty, nutritious, and vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

Dried Or Canned Chickpeas?

If you want the chickpeas to really absorb the flavors of the broth, it’s best to cook them in the broth made from dry beans.

If you don’t mind the beans themselves having a simpler bean flavor, you can use canned, drained, and rinsed beans that don’t have any sugar added.

If you use dried chickpeas, you can simply dump the dry beans into your pot, or you can soak them overnight in plenty of water, then drain and rinse before using.

Some people feel that soaking the beans overnight before cooking reduces the gas they create in our stomachs. I don’t find this to be the case, but you should do whatever you normally do when you cook dried beans.

If you use canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them thoroughly, and only cook this recipe on the stovetop. You will simply be warming the soup. There won’t be any purpose to cooking this recipe for any real length of time. Simply combine everything in a soup pot and warm it through on the stovetop. It’s a great way to get this dish on the table fast.

A side view of a wood bowl filled with Chickpea Curry. A bunch of fresh cilantro lays behind the bowl.

How Do I Adjust The Spiciness?

While some Indian dishes can really set your mouth on fire with spice, this dish won’t do that. There is a slight spiciness from the garam masala. But the only way to make this truly spicy is to add cayenne pepper, which you are free to do if you prefer things extra spicy.

If you want to reduce the spice to almost zero, cut the garam masala in half.

How Can I Make The Sauce Creamier?

This is a thinner, brothy sauce. If you want something creamier, you can add a second can of full-fat coconut milk at the end. But you may need to adjust the spices to taste just a bit if you do.

What To Serve With Chickpea Curry

Great options for serving chickpea curry are:

  1. Naan bread
  2. Basmati rice
  3. Quinoa
  4. Couscous
  5. Pita bread
  6. Flatbread
  7. Salad (such as cucumber-tomato salad)
  8. Pickled vegetables
  9. Papadums
  10. Raita (yogurt-based condiment)
  11. Chutney (such as mango chutney)
  12. Fresh cilantro leaves
  13. Sliced onions
  14. Lime or lemon wedges
A closeup of a wood bowl filled with Chickpea Curry.

Can I Make Chickpea Curry Ahead?

You can! In fact, you can cook it completely and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days before you eat it. Just keep in mind you’ll definitely want to eat it by day 5.

What Do You Need To Make Chickpea Curry?

Coconut oil – Or olive oil

Red onion – Or any color onion you prefer to use.

Garlic cloves – Use the biggest cloves you have.

Fresh ginger – You can grate or mince this. While you don’t have to peel it, I recommend doing so for this recipe.

Ground cumin

Ground coriander

Turmeric

Paprika

Garam masala

Diced tomatoes – No sugar added.

Coconut milk – No sugar added.

Dried chickpeas – Or canned chickpeas

Vegetable broth – No sugar added.

Suggested Adjustments & Side Options

Salt – To taste

Ground black pepper – To taste.

Fresh cilantro leaves – Optional for garnish.

Cooked rice or naan bread – Optional for serving.

How To Make Chickpea Curry

Ingredients gathered on a cutting board for this Chickpea Curry Recipe.

Gather, measure, and prep all your ingredients.

Onions and ginger in a skillet.

Heat olive oil or coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and ginger, and sauté until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.

A skillet with sautéd onions and fresh, pressed garlic just added to the middle of the pan.

Add minced garlic, and sauté for another 1 minute until fragrant.

Dry spices added to a skillet of sautéd onions, ginger, and garlic.
Sautéd onions, ginger, and garlic coated in spices in a black skillet.

Stir in ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika, and garam masala. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the spices become aromatic, the onions are well coated in spices, and the pan is dry.

Ingredients for this Chickpea Curry Recipe added to a crock for pressure cooking or slow cooking.

Cooking Method

Stovetop: Transfer the onions to a pot. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices and the coconut milk to the pot and stir well to combine. Add the soaked (or canned) chickpeas to the pot and stir to combine with the sauce.

Slow Cooker: Transfer the onions to your slow cooker crock and add the remaining ingredients as well. Set to low and cook for 4-6 hours (for dry beans). Canned beans are not recommended for slow cooking.

Instant Pot: Transfer the onions to your IP insert and add the remaining ingredients as well. Set to low and cook for 40-60 minutes (for dry beans). Canned beans are not recommended for this Instant Pot method.

Timing for all methods of cooking dry beans will depend on how old your dry beans are.

Broth in a measuring cup.
Broth added to other ingredients in a pot.

Broth & Cooking Times

Stovetop: Add enough broth to cover the chickpeas by at least 2 inches. This will be approximately 6-8 cups. Cook for 1 to 1½ hours or until the chickpeas are warmed or cooked through.

Slow Cooker: Add 4-6 cups, or enough to fully cover the chickpeas with liquid. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours or until the beans are tender.

Instant Pot: Add 4 cups broth. Cook on high pressure for 40-60 minutes, depending on how old your beans are. Do a quick release.

An overhead view of a wood bowl filled with Chickpea Curry and garnished with fresh cilantro and a lime wedge.

Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper according to your preference. You can also adjust the spiciness by adding more cayenne pepper if desired.

Once the curry is done, remove it from the heat. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro leaves and a lime or lemon wedge.

Storage

Store leftover chickpea curry in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

Freezing

This will freeze well. I recommend freezing in small portions for easy meals.

Reheating

From frozen – Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours.

From chilled – Reheat in a pot on the stovetop until warmed through.

More Healthy Curry Recipes

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An overhead view of a wood bowl filled with Chickpea Curry and garnished with fresh, chopped cilantro and a lime wedge.

Chickpea Curry Recipe

Delicious curry for vegans or vegetarians that is delicious served over brown rice or with whole-grain naan.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 9 servings
Calories: 309kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • cups finely chopped red onion
  • 6 large garlic cloves (pressed or finely minced)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger (minced or grated)
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas (soaking overnight is optional)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (minimum – see amount notes below)

Suggested Adjustments & Side Options

  • salt (to taste)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)
  • fresh, chopped cilantro (optional)
  • cooked brown rice (optional)
  • whole-grain naan (optional)

Instructions

  • Gather, measure, and prep all your ingredients.
    Ingredients gathered on a cutting board for this Chickpea Curry Recipe.
  • Heat olive oil or coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and ginger, and sauté until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.
    Onions and ginger in a skillet.
  • Add minced garlic, and sauté for another 1 minute until fragrant.
    A skillet with sautéd onions and fresh, pressed garlic just added to the middle of the pan.
  • Stir in ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika, and garam masala. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the spices become aromatic, the onions are well coated in spices, and the pan is dry.
    Sautéd onions, ginger, and garlic coated in spices in a black skillet.

Cooking Method

  • Stovetop: Transfer the onions to a pot. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices and the coconut milk to the pot and stir well to combine. Add the soaked (or canned) chickpeas to the pot and stir to combine with the sauce.
    Slow Cooker: Transfer the onions to your slow cooker crock and add the remaining ingredients as well. Set to low and cook for 4-6 hours (for dry beans). Canned beans are not recommended for slow cooking.
    Instant Pot: Transfer the onions to your IP insert and add the remaining ingredients as well. Set to low and cook for 40-60 minutes (for dry beans). Canned beans are not recommended for this Instant Pot method.
    Timing for all methods of cooking dry beans will depend on how old your dry beans are.
    Ingredients for this Chickpea Curry Recipe added to a crock for pressure cooking or slow cooking.

Broth & Cooking Times

  • Stovetop: Add enough broth to cover the chickpeas by at least 2 inches. This will be approximately 6-8 cups. Cook for 1 to 1½ hours or until the chickpeas are warmed or cooked through.
    Slow Cooker: Add 4-6 cups, or enough to fully cover the chickpeas with liquid. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours or until the beans are tender.
    Instant Pot: Add 4 cups broth. Cook on high pressure for 40-60 minutes, depending on how old your beans are. Do a quick release.
    Broth in a measuring cup.
  • Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper according to your preference. You can also adjust the spiciness by adding more cayenne pepper if desired.
    Once the curry is done, remove it from the heat. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro leaves and a lime or lemon wedge.
    An overhead view of a wood bowl filled with Chickpea Curry and garnished with fresh cilantro and a lime wedge.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible. Data is based on adding 4 cups of broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 501mg | Potassium: 662mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 545IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 6mg

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel

Bio:

Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author. She is also a food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. She has helped thousands of people learn to cook simple, clean, and healthy foods in their own home kitchens. She lives in Maine and loves Elvis, sunflowers, and a good seafood chowder, as well as travel writing.

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