Quick Vegan Chana Masala

Quick Vegan Chana Masala - cookieandkate.com

Good news! Cookie got her bandage off yesterday. Just a few more long days with the cone around her head. I’m tired of getting herded around by a furry bulldozer! The best news is that the vet said she should be in good shape for our long walks this spring. Sometimes I wonder which of us needs those walks more.

I’ve been working non-stop on a website redesign (coming so soon) but I’m pausing to share this 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 chana masala in the pages of her new cookbook. The chana masala recipe comes together quickly with mostly pantry ingredients, but the end result tastes super fresh.

Spices and The Oh She Glows Cookbook

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 chana masala, but I just grabbed the jar I had in my spice drawer. No two masalas (a broad term for Indian spice blends) are exactly alike, anyway. I think you’ll be happy with any quality blend.

onions, garlic, ginger, and cumin

I’m loving the recipes I’ve tried from Angela’s new cookbook. So far, in addition to the chana masala, I’ve tried her coconut whipped cream and chia jam (featured on oatmeal here). You may already be familiar with Angela’s popular blog, Oh She Glows, which is overflowing with accessible vegan recipes. Her cookbook features over 100 recipes (and over 100 photos!), including hearty breakfasts, colorful smoothies, creative soups and salads, and quite a few vegan entrees that I suspect even hardcore carnivores would enjoy. Oh and desserts, too!

Angela kindly offered me a review copy and I know it will be a permanent fixture in my collection. If you’d like a copy for yourself, you can order it on Amazon here.

Quick Chana MasalaVegan Chana Masala Recipe - cookieandkate.com

Quick Vegan Chana Masala
4.8 from 18 reviews
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Quick and easy chickpea 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.
  • 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 brown 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.
  • Recipe adapted with permission from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon.
  • 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 chana masala, I think it would taste great with a generous splash of coconut milk for some creaminess.


  1. says

    I am in love with your photos of this dish! Just spectacular, clean, and fresh looking. I have a huge craving for this now between you and Ash, haha. It’s definitely on the menu this week! Thank you again for your kind words and beautiful review. I’m so happy you are enjoying the book so far! xo

  2. says

    Oh my goodness, this looks so delicious and sounds easy to make. And I have to agree, personally I usually have those ingredients in my pantry and what an easy way to entertain unexpected company. On another note, so glad to hear Cookie is doing better. Praying she recovers soon!

  3. says

    Beautiful job, Kate! I agree with you, the nice warm Indian spice blends are so perfect for winter. I don’t make a ton of Indian food that gets posted on the blog because the photos never make it look anywhere near as good as it tastes, but you and Angela always do an amazing job. Her book is definitely going to be a permanent fixture in my collection too!

  4. says

    Channa Masala is one of my favourite Indian dishes as well. It’s so hearty, warm, full of spices, perfect for this time of year. I just picked up my copy today of the OSG cookbook and I’m absolutely in love.

  5. says

    Chickpeas are my favorite and your pictures are fantastic, as usual! I’m like you and have been intimidated by Indian-inspired cooking, but it’s time to bite the bullet already. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. says

    I am so excited for my copy to arrive tonight! Thanks so much for sharing this — I love Indian food, but it feels like sometimes it’s hard to find vegan version. I can’t wait to flip through this book as soon as it arrives.

    And yay for Cookie! I wondered if maybe she was a little bit cattle dog — as the owner of a Border Collie, I am quite familiar with being herded, cone or no cone :P

    • says

      Thanks, Kate! Cookie is either part Australian shepherd or blue heeler… definitely a herding type either way! Now that the cone is gone, I don’t mind being herded to the kitchen to feed her breakfast. :)

  7. Aimee says

    I love chana masala! Thank you for posting a recipe, I will try this soon! I’m happy to hear about Cookie – hooray for healing and for long walks!

    • says

      Thank you, Aimee! Cookie is scampering all over the backyard now. The weather is so nice today that we might go on our first walk around the neighborhood this evening! Hope you enjoy the chana masala.

  8. says

    I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on Angela’s cookbook! And to see your new design..I’m sure it will AWE-SOME.

    Curry has been a weekly occurrence around here and this would be such a fun way to switch it up without really switching it up. :P

  9. says

    Glad Cookie is feeling better now, Kate! I love curries with tomatoes in. I too am often put off by long ingredient lists and sigh with relief when I see a recipe uses a spice blend. Looking forward to seeing your site redesign!

  10. says

    I had the opportunity to travel through India after college and of everything I ate, channa masala was my FAVORITE. I still order it every chance I get, because I had yet to find a recipe that was attainable without a mortar and pestal. Can’t wait to try this version and relive my trip!

  11. says

    Puri and chana masala is my favorite combo meal. I could have it anytime and anywhere. Yours looks fantastic. I feel like digging in right now :)

  12. says

    So glad Cookie is on the mend. Love meals with these flavor combinations. Sound like a fabulous book, will have to get my hands on a copy.

  13. says

    Yay!! So glad that Cookie got her bandage off… she’ll be back to her old self in no time! Poor little thing though… cones are horrible. I saw a little terrier with one at the park the other day, attempting to sniff the pavement. He looked like a vaccum cleaner ;) Anyway, back to this gorgeous dish – I love Indian spiced chickpeas, particularly with a splash of coconut cream. I am definitely going to try this with a new recipe I’m playing with for spelt flatbreads (kind of like roti, they’re delicious but need a bit of tweaking). Cannot wait to show my husband that meat isn’t required for good Indian!!! ;) x

    • says

      Haha! Cookie looked like a vacuum cleaner, too. She was flinging snow out of her cone, too. We’re finally done with the cone, though! Hooray! I’d love to to try your spelt flatbread recipe once you’re done tweaking it!

  14. says

    I saw your review on Oh She Glows, and boy am I glad! First of all, I love curry so this looks like one recipe I’d want to try from the cookbook (which I probably will get) and also I noticed you have a lot of pancake recipes. Which is awesome. So thanks! *subscribed*

    • says

      Hey June, thank you and welcome to C+K! I hope you love the pancakes. The banana pancakes and buckwheat pancakes are probably the most popular of the bunch. Angela’s cookbook is terrific, especially if you love hearty vegan recipes!

  15. Leigh says

    Well now that looks yummy! I think we will try that this week. I haven’t got my cookbook yet (not because I don’t want to; just waiting patiently for it’s arrival) so I am loving being able to read some reviews and try some recipes.
    Happy to hear Cookie is continuing on the road to health!

    • says

      Thank you, Leigh! Cookie is scampering all over the backyard, so I think she is feeling much better. I hope your cookbook arrives soon, if it hasn’t already. I definitely recommend this dish!

  16. Lisa says

    This isn’t quite finished…still simmering on the stove, but I just tested a bite and it is amazing!

    My boyfriend has had to cut out dairy and I don’t eat much meat (I love cheese, he loves bacon), so it’s been a tough time finding recipes we can both enjoy. I’m so happy I get to eat this for dinner very, very soon. Thank you for sharing.

    If you have a recipe for some vegan garlic naan I’d love to have that too, as I’m really craving it!

    • says

      Lisa, hope you both loved the chana masala! I’d like to learn how to make naan soon, so I hope to have a good recipe for you soon!

  17. Lynette says

    Just made this for dinner tonight and it is spectacular. I love Chana Masala but this one takes the cake. This will definitely be a regular recipe in my house. Also, it was really quite quick. Pefect. Just perfect.

  18. Teri says

    Hi Kate,
    I made this for my girlfriend who just adopted her second baby. She is vegan and gluten-free, and misses her lunches at a favorite Indian restaurant. No one tries to cook for her because of the v and gf , issue, but she loved this dish! Thank you for making it, and making it easy to prepare. Sometimes authentic Indian can be intimidating to make because of the spices.

  19. Bonnie says

    I made this in my dash blender, left some chick peas whole and put water from cooking 1 1/2 c. of c. peas, turned out great love the flavour, i am just getting into this type of cooking.

  20. Hawley says

    Oh man. I ADORE Angela Liddon’s recipes and am a huge fan of Oh She Glows in general, but I made your recipe above and forgot that you had adapted it from her recipe. OH MAN OH MAN OH MAN it is soooo good and easier than chana masalas I have made in the past; and it’s also MORE DELICIOUS. I adored it and this is definitely going in the “make again, a LOT” recipe pile for my intended recipe binder which remains mostly unmade. haha Thank you so much!

    • says

      Thank you, Erin! I wish my parents had fed me Indian food when I was a baby. I bet I would have loved it. :) Thanks for letting me know!

  21. Yael says

    WOW WOW WOW WOW I CANNOT BELIEVE I MADE THIS !!! seriously wow ! every bite I took I just couldn’t believe that it turned out JUST like a dish I would order at a restaurant. WOW UNBELIEVABLE !!! thank you so much for this recipe Ill be using it often! WOW WOW WOW !!!

  22. Ryan says

    We just tried this recipe as a foray into cooking Indian food, and it was really great!

    Thanks for posting the recipe

  23. Shannon says

    Wow, this was really great! I tweaked it since for me “more is more”. I added 2 baby eggplants and 2/3 bunch of kale. I used all the same spices (except I only had ground cumin, no seeds), just added more of them all.

    I started with dried beans, so I added everything early (which was good to cook down the eggplant and kale) and allowed it to simmer for 30-45 mins. I had extra water from the dried beans so I put in a bit of “better than bouillon stock” and a splash of cashew milk to cut some of the super spicy sauce I created.

    Thanks so much for this recipe, it created absolutely amazing flavors.

  24. Jennifer says

    Pinned this recipe a while ago and have been looking forward to trying… Needed a quick meal after coming in late from my son’s swim practice and decided today was the day. Totally delicious and relatively quick to prep! Will def make again. Thx!!

  25. says

    Hi Kate,
    Just starting to follow your offerings and will try your Chana masala recipe soon. I noted your recommendations on storing leftovers for up to 4 days. Rice is not something you want to store for long in your refrigerator as it is apparently a huge source of food poisoning due the the high amount of surface area of cooked rice. So I keep my leftover rice in the freezer in individual portions.

    Keep up the good work and all the best for an exciting year ahead. Oh to be 29…..

  26. Leanne says

    I found that this version had far too much tomato flavour for me, so much that it tends to hide the flavour of the spices. Then I made it with fresh tomatoes instead of canned and found it to be just right and more like the chana masala I’m used to. Also, 10 minutes isn’t nearly enough time to simmer – I usually leave it on the stove for at least 45 minutes. It’s still a good, easy-to-follow recipe though and something that can be kept in the fridge for a few days to let the flavours develop even more for leftovers. :)

  27. Bailey says

    Made this recipe this week for dinner – easy and delicious! I sauteed a green bell pepper and a chopped carrot with the onion to up the veggie count – great quick meal for a weeknight!

  28. Steff says

    I just made this yesterday. It was really quick and SO good. I have tried other ‘quick chana masala’ recipes but this was by far the best. Thanks!

  29. Jenna says

    Glad to hear about Cookie :)

    I loved this recipe! I own the Oh She Glows cookbook and planned on making this recipe awhile back, and when I saw it on your blog that settled it for me! It was super easy to make, and it tasted DELICIOUS. I removed the seeds from serrano pepper and it was still quite spicy (I have the heat resistance of a child). I topped it over some pearl barley and some steamed veggies. A great, filling dinner!

  30. says

    This recipe is amazingly delicious. I have made it numerous times now and my family love it. And it’s so healthy and easy to make. Thank you!

  31. says

    There was an Indian Restaurant near LSU back in the 1990’s, when I was a student there. Mostly they served fried chicken tenders. But everyday they offered one vegetarian Indian option. Wednesdays was Chana Masala over rice. I loved the vegetarian options. And this Chana Masala tastes nearly identical. Delicious. here is a tip if you want to vary the flavor of the chickpeas. Fenugreek tea bags, Soak the beans in a warm water bath with one bag for about half an hour before cooking.

  32. Glen says

    Thanks for this recipe Kate! First time ever doing anything remotely Indian and all in all I don’t think I mucked it up too badly. Now that I’ve got a baggie of garam masala and some other Indian spices, it’s time to see what else I can experiment with ;)

    Thanks again!

  33. Angela says

    This was yummy, and came together easily too. I added a little bit of yogurt on top, but I think it’s better without. Goes great with greens like spinach and kale too. Thank you very much for sharing this recipe!

  34. Mary Alice says

    Absolutely delish! All my guests loved it, especially my vegetarian friend! Made it with Rice Select, Royal Blend w/ Red Quinoa. Perfect for all that saucy goodness! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes!

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