This is the best and easiest Chickpea Curry, made in 20 minutes or less! Creamy, flavor packed and full of plant protein, this will become one of your go-to dinners when you barely have time to cook.
Chickpea Curry has become one of my favorite meals. It’s super quick to make and packed with flavor! Chickpeas make a wonderful base for curry because they are ready immediately, plus they’re full of plant fiber and protein.
Just like my Chickpea Tikka Masala, this coconut chickpea curry recipe uses canned full fat coconut milk for a creamy curry sauce. And it’s ready in 20 minutes or less!
If you love flavorful curry recipes, make sure to also check out my Roasted Eggplant Curry with Chickpeas and my popular Vegan Butter Chicken.
Why you’ll love this coconut chickpea curry
- Super simple and quick to make: This chickpea curry recipe is foolproof to make and ready in 20 minutes.
- Flavor packed: Seriously, you will think you picked this up from a restaurant, it’s so flavorful and perfectly spiced!
- It uses pantry staples: You probably have everything you need in your pantry right now! Always keep the ingredients on hand for a quick, delicious dinner.
- Full of plant protein and fiber: Sure, it tastes incredible but it’s also good for you! Full of protein and fiber, this is a meal you can feel good about. (Not that I think you should ever feel bad about anything you eat! 😉)
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- Olive oil – For sautéing, you only need a few tablespoons.
- Onion – A yellow or sweet onion sliced or chopped is perfect.
- Garlic – About 3 cloves minced. Use pre-minced garlic in a jar to skip peeling and chop it yourself! Fresh always tastes better.
- Mild curry paste – My favorite is Patak’s Mild Curry Paste. It has mellow Indian-inspired spices and adds so much flavor and depth to this curry. May sub with dried spices instead (see recipe or text below -FAQs section).
- Crushed tomatoes – They not only add a dimension of flavor but they also thicken the curry sauce. Tomato sauce or diced tomatoes will work as well, but I prefer crushed. If you don’t want to use tomatoes, pumpkin puree will also work for a slightly different flavor.
- Coconut milk – Full fat canned coconut milk is best here for a creamy vegan chickpea curry. May also sub cashew cream or light coconut milk.
- Chickpeas – I use canned, but you can use from scratch cooked beans as well. Of course you could go a different direction and substitute pan fried tofu or cauliflower.
- Lime juice – Adds a pop of flavor that would be missed! Make sure to use fresh.
- Sugar – Just a teaspoon, to bring out the flavors in the curry.
- Salt – To taste.
- Baby spinach – Optional, but an easy way to add some dark leafy greens to your meal. Feel free to add other vegetables, such as chopped kale, cauliflower florets or sweet potatoes.
How to make chickpea curry
Find the complete recipe with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Sauté the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and curry paste and stir, cooking for a minute or two.
Add the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk and chickpeas. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often.
Lastly, stir in the lime juice, sugar, salt and spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts. That’s it! Serve with rice or quinoa.
Meal prep idea
This is the perfect meal prep recipe, because it lasts for several days and reheats well. Divide into containers with rice and refrigerate for 4-5 days. When it’s time to eat, simply reheat in the microwave until warm. Alternatively, warm on the stovetop in a small pan.
Frequently asked questions
- Is chickpea curry the same as chana masala? This curry is not the same as chana masala, which is an authentic Indian dish consisting of chickpeas in a heavily spiced tomato sauce. My easy coconut chickpea curry is inspired by Indian flavors, but is different than chana masala because it has coconut milk, making it rich and creamy.
- Can I used homemade chickpeas? Of course! I just use canned beans for convenience, but if you love to cook beans from scratch at home, go for it!
- What can I use instead of curry paste? I love curry paste in this particular recipe, but if you must use dried spices, you can. I suggest 2 teaspoons garam masala, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
- Can I make chickpea curry in the Instant Pot? Yes. Sauté the onion, garlic and curry paste in the inner pot first, then add the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk and chickpeas and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Do a manual release, carefully, then stir in the remaining ingredients.
- How about a crock pot? Sure! Cook for 7 hours on low or 3-4 on high. Stir in the last ingredients right before it’s done.
- Does it freeze well? It freezes very well. Transfer to a freezer friendly ziplock bag or small containers and freeze. To reheat, use the microwave or cook in a small pot until warm.
Serve this easy curry with basmati rice, vegan naan and perhaps another vegetable side, such as steamed kale.
I also like a sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro and sometimes some chopped peanuts or cashews on top.
Want more recipes featuring chickpeas
- Butternut Squash Curry with Chickpeas
- Italian Chickpea Soup
- Chickpea Burgers
- Chickpea Meatballs
- Curry Chickpea Salad
- Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas
Easy Chickpea Curry
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced or diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons mild curry paste see Notes for options
- 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 13.5 ounce can full fat coconut milk
- (2) 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- juice from 1/2 lime
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cups baby spinach, sliced into ribbons
- 4 cups cooked rice or quinoa
- lime wedges, chopped cilantro
- Vegan Naan
- In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and curry paste and stir, cooking for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the lime juice, sugar, salt to taste and spinach. Cook for a minute until the spinach has wilted.
- Serve with rice and/or Easy Vegan Naan. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
- You may use full fat or light coconut milk here. Full fat coconut milk will obviously make the dish creamier and richer, but both are good options. Or sub cashew cream, or even a plant based unsweetened milk, such as cashew or soy milk.
- The kind of curry paste you use will make all the difference here, so make sure to use a good quality brand. I love Patak’s Mild Curry Paste.
- Don’t have curry paste? Substitute 2 teaspoons garam masala, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and sauté along with the garlic, adding oil if needed to de-glaze the pan.
- Add more vegetables: Sometimes I like to add more vegetables, such as diced sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini or broccoli. Add these kinds of vegetables when you add the coconut milk and chickpeas, and cook until tender. Or add a few handfuls of baby spinach or kale at the end of cooking, until they wilt.
- Instant Pot: Use the sauté feature to cook the onion, garlic and curry paste, then add the coconut milk and chickpeas. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes, then carefully release any pressure, stir in the remaining ingredients and serve.
- Slow cooker: In a pan on the stove, sauté the onion, garlic and curry paste. Then transfer to a slow cooker with the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours.
- It will last for 4-5 days in the refrigerator, and freezes well.
*This post was last updated October 2023. It was first published July 2019. The original recipe did not have crushed tomatoes, but after a lot of recipe testing I decided I liked this version better. I also increase the chickpeas to 2 cans and removed the fresh halved cherry tomatoes.
I made this to recipe except a couple tweaks because I didn’t have the right ingredients. I used chopped sun dried tomatoes (very good but made it darker) and I only had dried cilantro, so I cooked it with the rice. Herby, aromatic, spicy and delicious! And the tomatoes gave it a little extra texture. Thank you, it is awesome and can’t wait to try it exactly to recipe as well.
Hi Jenna. Thank you for sharing the wonderful details of your curry! It sounds delicious! I appreciate your fabulous feedback and review!
So tasty and so easy! Thank you for another great recipe!
You are welcome! Thank you for great feedback and review!