Chana masala made easy! This vegan chana masala is a 1 pot Indian dish that is packed with plant protein, flavor and is perfect for meal prep. Serve with fresh naan and basmati rice for a delicious plant powered dinner.
I always felt kind of intimidated to make my own versions of classic Indian dishes at home because I thought they seemed quite complicated. They definitely can be, but Eat With Clarity is all about healthy and EASY dishes, so I made a few tweaks to make this recipe approachable for any home cook!
What is chana masala made of?
Chana Masala is a traditional Indian dish made from a base of chickpeas, tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, and lots of spices. In this easy vegan recipe we’ll be using:
- Strained Tomatoes
- Yellow Onion
- Fresh ginger
- Serrano Peppers
- Bay Leaves
- Cinnamon Stick
- And LOTS of spices!
How to make an easy vegan chana masala
The first step is to prep all of the veggies. Make sure the onion is chopped and the garlic, ginger, cilantro and peppers are very finely chopped or minced.
Next, add the diced onion to a large pot with the coconut oil. Let it saute for about 5 minutes or until it starts to look translucent. Then add in the cilantro, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Cook for just a few minutes to let the flavors blend together.
Next, add in all of the spices, sea salt and coconut sugar and give everything a good stir. After a few minutes, mix in the strained tomatoes and drained and rinsed chickpeas. Stir until well combined. Finally, partially cover the pot and let simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick and squeeze in the lemon juice. Taste, and add more garam masala, cayenne pepper, salt etc. Serve with naan or basmati rice.
Recipe tips, tricks and notes
- Once prepared, this vegan chana masala will store in the fridge for about 5 days. However, you can also freeze chana masala! It will store in the freezer for 1 month.
- A NOTE ABOUT SPICE: The first time I made this recipe I used two serrano peppers with seeds and it was way too spicy for me. I have a low spice tolerance, but my entire face was sweating after I finished a bowl of this. LOL! The second time, I used one serrano pepper with no seeds and it wasn’t spicy enough. UGH! I finally settled on two serrano peppers with no seeds, which was perfect for me.
- If the final dish isn’t spicy enough for you, just add a bit of cayenne pepper until it reaches your desired spice level.
- To ensure there is no coconut flavor to this dish, I suggest using refined coconut oil. You can also use avocado oil or dairy free butter.
- The amchur powder is necessary to make this a true authentic chana masala, but if you can’t find it, fresh lemon juice will work just fine. Add the lemon juice at the end of the cooking process.
For more cozy vegan meals, try these!
- 30 Minute Red Lentil Dal
- Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
- The Creamiest Dairy Free Mac and Cheese
- Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup
Easy Vegan Chana Masala
- 2 cans chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- 1 medium yellow onion (finely chopped)
- 6 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil*
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish)
- 1 28 ounce can strained tomatoes*
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 serrano peppers*
- 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 – 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp amchur powder (or juice from 1 lemon*)
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Add the chopped onion to a pan with the coconut oil.
- Saute for 5-10 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
- Add the finely minced cilantro, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick and bay leaves.
- Saute an additional 5 minutes.
- Add in all spices, coconut sugar and sea salt. Stir well.
- After a few minutes, add the strained tomatoes, drained and rinsed chickpeas and stir until well combined.
- Partially cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes on low heat.
- Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
- Taste and add more garam masala, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, etc.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with naan, white rice, or enjoy as is!