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Easy Chana Masala - a satisfying and flavorful meal made with tender chickpeas, smothered in a spicy, tomato-based sauce. This meal is easy to whip up and comes together quickly!
I absolutely love going out for Indian food and Chana Masala is always on the table. It's one of my favorites because it's naturally vegan and I don't have to modify a thing! I love the tangy and spicy flavors, coupled with warm spices. It's addicting!
I love to make it at home too because it's quick, easy and requires simple ingredients. Which makes it perfect for dinner on a busy weeknight. Plus, it's really simple to adjust to your personal preference. You can make it spicier, milder or add a variety of different herbs and spices.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR EASY CHANA MASALA
(FULL AMOUNTS IN RECIPE CARD BELOW)
For the base, you'll need Coconut Oil, Onion and Serrano Pepper, Fresh Garlic, and Ginger.
To season, you'll need Garam Masala, Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric, Smoked Paprika, and Salt.
For the remaining, you'll need Tomato Purée, Agave Nectar, Vegetable Broth, Chickpeas, Lemon Juice, and Cilantro.
HOW TO MAKE CHANA MASALA
- 1 - Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and serrano pepper.
- 1 A -Sauté until softened and onions are lightly golden.
- 2 - Lower heat one notch and add the garlic and ginger.
- 2 A - Sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- 3 - Add the spice mixture.
- 3 A- Sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- 4 - Add tomato purée, sugar, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a mild-moderate simmer.
- 4 A - Cook for about 10 minutes until it thickens up. Stir often to prevent sticking or burning.
- 5 - Add the broth, chickpeas and remaining salt. Cover with a lid but slightly offset. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes until it has a stew-like consistency.
- 6 - Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, cilantro, and remaining garam masala. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed.
TIPS, TRICKS AND SUBSTITUTE IDEAS:
- To enhance flavors, add ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, cinnamon, or cayenne pepper. Add to the pan with the spice mixture.
- You can replace the tomato purée with the same amount of freshly puréed tomatoes. I add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste with the ginger and garlic to add more depth.
- Diced tomatoes can be used to replace the purée too (1 - 14.5-ounce can).
- For a creamier consistency, add a ¼-1/2 cup of unsweetened canned coconut milk in the last few minutes of cooking. Gently simmer until thickened.
WAYS TO MAKE IT SPICIER OR MILDLY SPICED
- For more heat, add 1 more small serrano pepper and leave in the seeds or add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. You can also use ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper.
- To reduce the heat slightly, you can remove all or some of the seeds. Also, you can use jalapeños because they have less heat than serrano peppers.
- To make this kid-friendly, you can omit the peppers and reduce the cumin and garam masala.
- If it's too spicy after you've made it, add a dollop of unsweetened non-dairy yogurt or a few splashes of unsweetened canned coconut milk to cool the heat.
WHAT CAN I SERVE WITH CHANA MASALA?
I typically serve it with rice, lemon wedges, fresh-cut cilantro, and Naan. Any variety of rice will work and even quinoa is a tasty choice. A dollop of unsweetened yogurt or Vegan Sour Cream is a nice touch too. For variety, you can serve it alongside these Bombay Potatoes.
CAN I FREEZE IT?
YES! It freezes perfectly for 2-4 months. I prefer to leave out the lemon juice, cilantro, and additional garam masala, then just add it after the reheat, but it's not 100% necessary. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then gently heat on the stove. You may need to add a few splashes of broth to thin it out.
MORE CHICKPEA RECIPES TO ENJOY:
- Chickpea Tuna Salad Sandwich
- Air Fryer Chickpeas
- Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry
- Easy Vegan Chickpea Curry
I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU
If you make this easy chana masala recipe, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Easy Chana Masala
- 2.5 tablespoons coconut oil (or preferred oil)
- 1 medium onion , finely diced
- 1 small serrano pepper , finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
- 5 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger , grated (sub with paste)
- 1.5 teaspoons garam masala , divided
- 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika , sub regular
- 1.5 cups tomato purée , jarred/canned (not sauce)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt , divided (more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar (or any sweetener)
- 1.5 cups vegetable broth , low sodium
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas , rinsed and drained
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice , freshly squeezed
- ⅓ cup cilantro , chopped
Optional Serving ideas:
- Lemon wedges
- Fresh-cut cilantro
- Rice (about 3 cups cooked)
- In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, turmeric, smoked paprika, and only 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and serrano pepper. Sauté until softened and onions are lightly golden. About 4-6 minutes.
- Lower heat one notch and add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the spice mixture and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add tomato purée, sugar, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a mild to moderate simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes until it thickens up. Stir often to prevent sticking or burning.
- Now add the broth, chickpeas and remaining salt. Cover with a lid but slightly offset it on the pan to release steam. Raise the heat to get things moving, then lower the heat to maintain a mild simmer. Stir occasionally. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the liquid reduces and has a stew-like consistency (or desired consistency). (If you want it thicker, you can mash some chickpeas with a potato masher and stir).
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, cilantro, and remaining garam masala. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed. Top over rice and serve with naan, lemon wedges, and cut cilantro if desired. Enjoy!