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.

brown rimmed bowl on white background with creamy chickpeas, rice, naan and chopped cilantro

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.

speckled bowl filled with rice, chickpea curry, cilantro, a lime and naan on greyish background

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 for chickpea curry labeled on white background

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.

onions and garlic being stir fried in a pot with a wooden spoon

Add the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk and chickpeas. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often.

white cream being added to a pot with chickpeas and onions in a reddish sauce

Lastly, stir in the lime juice, sugar, salt and spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts. That’s it! Serve with rice or quinoa.

spinach being added to a pot of chickpeas and onions in a tomato sauce

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
looking down on a bowl of rice and reddish creamy sauce with chickpeas and a few lime wedges.

Serving suggestions

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

close up of a bowl with creamy tomato chickpeas, white rice and limes
4.94 stars (33 ratings)

Easy Chickpea Curry

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.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 
 

  • 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

For Serving

  • 4 cups cooked rice or quinoa
  • lime wedges, chopped cilantro
  • Vegan Naan

Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. It will last for 4-5 days in the refrigerator, and freezes well.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 564mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1891IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian-inspired
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

*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.

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Comments

  1. I made this recipe today & it is delicious! I doubled the recipe as we had it for dinner & my sister is coming tomorrow & I know she will love it. I also used the brand of curry paste that was recommended. I plan to make it again & again.

  2. This was incredibly good!! I used 4 T of the curry paste and 1.5 cans of coconut milk. I did this because not only did I use a can of chickpeas, but also a can of navy beans and a sweet potato, so I wanted to guarantee that I would have enough sauce. I used Siracha at the table. OMG how excellent it was!!!! Thank you ? 

    1. I am so glad that you loved the chickpea curry! It sounds amazing! Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful review and comments!

  3. I’m trying this recipe this week. Looking forward to it. Nora, do you think you could develop a vegan version of palak paneer, using your feta cheese for the paneer, or some other type of substitute?

  4. I absolutely love this recipe. It’s a go-to for those days when you need a simple but delicious meal. It’s so versatile with the veggies you can add and it always turns out great!

  5. I made this for lunch today, and it was delicious. I omitted the spinach and used zucchini (that’s what I had on hand), and I used the spices mentioned in the notes instead of the paste, which I didn’t have. The tomatoes are a perfect addition. I loved it, and so did my non-vegan husband. Thank you for another excellent recipe!!

  6. Made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious!!! Definitely adding this to my meal rotation. Really love the flavor! Thank you!! 

    1. Hi Eva! I’m so glad you loved the curry, and thrilled it will be part of your meal rotation! Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful review and comments! Happy cooking!

  7. I made your chickpea tikka masala previously and it was very tasty. I decided to give this one a try as well. Very tasty and a nice dish I will keep in rotation. 

    Because I had some stuff in the crisper I wanted to use,  I made a couple of substitutions / additions:

    1)Swapped spinach for kale, because that is what I had. 

    2)sauteed some eggplant and added it. I had it in the drawer and wanted to use it up. Added a wonderful and slightly smoky flavor. 

    3)Used lemon juice instead of lime, since that is what I had. Added a nice brightness to it. I will try lime next time for that added zing 🙂

    Great recipe!

    1. Hi August. I’m glad that you enjoyed the chickpea curry, and that it will become part of your meal rotation! I appreciate you taking your time to share your great review and comments. Your substitutions sounds delicious! Happy cooking!

  8. Delicious! I’ve made this several times and it is super quick and tasty. Thank you so much for sharing your creations, Nora!

    1. You are welcome! I am glad you are loving the curry recipe! Thank you for using my recipes, and for taking time to share your great review and comments!

  9. Really a hit with my family. Tastes like takeout! I added a can of water chestnuts which gave it a really nice crunch 🙂

  10. Question… do the 197 calories per serving include the brown rice or is it just the caloric content of the curry itself? 

  11. Made this tonight and it was really good! I lot good instant recipes. This made my night so much smoother. Will definitely make again 🙂

    1. Hi Allison. I’m glad you found the curry good, and easy! Thanks a lot for taking your time to share your great review!

  12. This is a fabulous meal and the best part is it’s so easy to make! I put a bag of frozen cauliflower in during the last few minutes to cook with the chickpeas. So satisfying! 

  13. Delicious!!! I really appreciate your recipes. They are always very tasty. Thank you also for including the nutritional information. Very helpful!!! 

  14. Just made this and it’s so good!!! I’m not sure how many servings this was suppose to be but it’s not going to last long. I wanted to add extra chickpeas since I’m not too fond of cherry tomatoes. I thought I bought two cans but I grabbed one can of chickpeas and a can of white beans. I threw both of them in and it was great! Paired it with some brown rice. I didn’t add basil but In the future I will add potatoes 🙂 

  15. This was delicious. I followed the recipe but I didn’t  use 4 cups rice as I thought we have a smaller amount of rice and had naan to soak up the juices. Will definitely make again.
    Thanks for your great recipes.

  16. Delicious! So much flavor! Fast and easy! I had basil, cilantro, onion, and cherry tomatoes in the garden, which was a pleasure, and I also added a small yellow crookneck squash from the garden (diced). Served with naan (but no rice). Wonderful meal! The lime juice makes a difference! So bright! I used less basil (maybe 1/3 cup chopped). This is going to be a favorite! Versatile and fresh! Thanks, Nora!

  17. Delicious! I made it two nights in a row actually. I used the spicy version of Pataks and (and I know this sounds weird), since I was out of coconut milk I used oat milk creamer! Yum!

  18. This is so YUMMY!!! I made it as written (and ordered the curry paste you recommended) and served it over jasmine rice with steamed spinach. It was so easy and really tasty.

    I have one question – can you teach us how to make curry paste like Patak’s without oil? I’m on the WFPB no oil diet, and I’d love to be able to make this completely oil free.

    Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. Hi Susan! I’m so glad you enjoyed the chickpea curry, it’s one of my favorites! I will have to look into making your own curry paste, I don’t have a recipe now but that’s a great idea. In the meantime, you could probably use curry powder instead, but it won’t be as tasty. Thank you!

  19. Wow – this was really tasty and easy (my favorite type of recipe)! This will surely become part of our regular dinner rotation. I didn’t have basil so I used fresh cilantro instead. I also added spinach and it worked great. My husband – who is not vegan or vegetarian – enjoyed this but felt like it was missing some texture so I may add cashews or vegan “chicken” next time.

    I have enjoyed every recipe I’ve made from your site. Keep the recipes coming!

  20. I made this dish for me and my husbands work week lunches and we have been LOVING it! I decided to sub out the tomatoes and go for broccoli as the replacement and it is delicious! Thank you for this yummy recipe, we will definitely be using this as a go-to for our work lunches!

  21. This was amazing! You did it again! It seems so simple that it can’t be that phenomenal but it is! I doubled it, added some mushrooms and green beans but otherwise kept it the same. Def going in the rotation!

  22. I made this today using recipe as base. I did substitute soy milk for coconut milk. I did substitute organic Roma tomatoes that I blanched and removed skins. I added thinly sliced organic celery hearts and tops of spring onion and finely chopped ginger. I did not add sugar. Although I made substitutions I want to say that this recipe is fine without the substitutions but even better using for a base recipe to add to. Thanks for such a great recipe.

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