Quick And Easy Vegan Chana Masala Recipe

I want to share this vegan chana masala recipe, which is from Angela Liddon’s just-released ‘The Oh She Glows Cookbook’. I’m generally intimidated by Indian cooking because the recipes usually call for a long list of unfamiliar spices, so I was happy when I found Angela’s recipe for quick and easy vegan chana masala in the pages of her new cookbook. The recipe comes together quickly with mostly pantry ingredients, but the end result tastes super fresh.

Vegan chana masala is one of my favorite options at Indian buffets. It’s a hearty, saucy and spicy chickpea and tomato dish, just the type of meal I’m craving while there’s snow on the ground. I thoroughly enjoyed the 20 minutes I spent over the stove for this recipe. Wave after wave of deliciousness hit my nose—first, fried cumin, then onions, ginger and chile pepper, followed by warming spices and stewed tomatoes. I think I’ll start cooking Indian recipes more often.

The only significant change I made to this recipe was using a tikka masala spice blend instead of garam masala. Generally speaking, garam masala has more warming spices, like cloves and cinnamon, while tikka masala has brighter notes of chili powder and paprika. Garam masala is the typical choice for vegan chana masala, but I just grabbed the jar I had in my spice drawer. No twomasalas (a broad term for Indian spice blends) are exactly alike, anyway. I think you’ll be happy with any quality blend.

Quick and easy vegan chana masala served over basmati rice. This spicy, hearty Indian recipe is vegan and gluten free. It makes great leftovers, too! Be sure to prep the ingredients in advance, as the recipe moves quickly. You can prepare the vegan chana masala in a total of 40 minutes. It contains 4 servings. Enjoy!

What We Need For A Vegan Chana Masala?

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil;
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds (scale back a little if you’re not crazy about cumin);
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped;
  • 1 tablespoon pressed or minced fresh garlic (about 5 cloves);
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger (about a 1-inch piece);
  • 1 green Serrano pepper, minced (seed it first if you want to tame the spice level);
  • 1½ teaspoons garam masala (or tikka masala);
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander;
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric;
  • ¾ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt;
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional);
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices;
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) chickpeas (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas), drained and rinsed;
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice, for serving (rice is optional, I like to cook extra rice to have on hand for other meals);
  • Lemon wedges, for garnishing;
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnishing (optional).


  1. Cook the rice (if you want to serve the chana masala on rice): Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Pour in the rice and give it a stir. Boil the rice for 30 minutes, then turn off the heat and drain the rice. Return the rice to the pot and cover the pot. Let the rice steam for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork and season with sea salt to taste.
  2. Cook the chana masala: In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles upon hitting the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cumin seeds. Toast the seeds for a minute or two, stirring frequently, until the seeds are golden and fragrant. Watch carefully to avoid burning the seeds.
  3. Raise the heat to medium and stir in the onion, garlic, ginger and serrano. Cook for about five minutes, stirring often. Stir in the garam masala (or tikka masala), coriander, turmeric, salt and cayenne (if using), and cook for two more minutes.
  4. Add the whole peeled tomatoes and their juices. Use the back of a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes apart. You can leave some chunks of tomato for texture.
  5. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chickpeas. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or longer to allow the flavors to develop.
  6. Serve over basmati rice, if desired, and garnish with a lemon wedge or two and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
  • This recipe makes for great leftovers! Store the rice, chana masala and garnishes separately for best results. Warm the rice and chana masala together, then garnish with fresh lemon wedges and cilantro. Leftovers should keep well for up to 4 days.
  • Though untraditional for vegan chana masala, I think it would taste great with a generous splash of coconut milk for some creaminess.


Quick vegan chana masala


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