With this Vegan Chickpea and Spinach Curry, you can get home from work on a Monday evening, say “hey I feel like chole tonight,” and have it ready in half an hour. A go-to vegan chickpea spinach curry recipe is a must have for anyone who likes Indian food. Best of all this is a an easy chole masala recipe. It is a convenient and quick weeknight recipe for an experienced cook and also a good starter recipe for someone who is just learning to cook Indian food. The recipe uses canned tomato sauce and canned chickpeas which minimizes the prep time. Unlike a lot of chickpea curry recipes out there this is a chickpea curry without coconut milk. No need to soak garbanzo beans (unless you want to).Print Recipe Jump to Recipe
Channa masala, or chole, is one of the most popular Indian dishes. For those more familiar with those terms, this recipe is an easy chole recipe. It is found on almost every Indian restaurant menu in the US and every version will slightly vary. It’s like the spaghetti and meatballs of Indian food. Every Indian grandmother has their own version of this dish and it varies from state to state. When you consider the spinoff versions there are even more! Some versions of a chole masala recipe add spinach and lately I have seen pumpkin chickpea curries as well. Many versions are cooked and simmered for a long time to really let the flavors soak in. This weeknight version however, uses enough spices to get the flavor across in a half hour of cooking time while the canned tomato sauce adds a ready-made tanginess right out of the can instead of cooking tomatoes for a long time.
In Indian cuisine, chickpea and spinach curry, or chole can either part of the main meal served or very popular street food. As a meal it served alongside rice, chapattis, a vegetable curry and raita (yogurt). As street food, it’s a whole other story. As street food, channa masala is served as chole bhature. Just think of a hot bubbling tomato rich gravy with chickpeas and add a big round deep fried flatbread and that’s chole bhature. No wonder why it’s a popular street food.
Another version of street food is aloo tiki. Aloo tiki are potato patties which are covered with channa masala and crispy sev on top. In some regions of India this will be a go to dinner options. My family is from the Indian state of Gujarat so chole was not a regular meal for us. It was more of a special occasion dinner or a dish we mostly only ate out in restaurants. Now however, I make this chickpea and spinach curry recipe every few weeks. Unlike a lot of chickpea curry recipes out there, this is a chickpea curry without coconut milk.
A few tips for making the chickpea and spinach curry:
Gravy: After making the initial gravy you can use the food processor if you would like the blend the flavors a bit more and offset the tanginess of the tomato sauce. There will be some taste variation if you choose to blend but either version will be tasty.
Chickpeas: Make sure to drain the chickpeas/garbanzo beans before adding them to the gravy. If the aquafaba is added it will add a sweeter flavor than intended.
Meal prep: This is a great option for weekend meal-prep for a weeknight. Sitting the fridge all night will just cause the spices to soak in more and make it even tastier. When you are ready to serve just warm it up in the microwave.
Chole Masala Recipe/ Chickpea and Spinach Curry
- 1 small-med onion
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 15.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained
- 1 15.5-16 oz. can tomato sauce
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 pinches asafoetida
- 5 cups spinach
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp salt
- Add oil to the plan along with the cinnamon stick, cardamom, bay leaf, cloves and asafoetida.
- Turn on the stove to med heat.
- Once the spices start popping, lower heat and add the onions, garlic and ginger.
- Once the onions are soft, add the tomato sauce, drained chickpeas and all the spices except for the garam masala.
- Stir and raise heat.
- Add the spinach, one handful at a time, stirring each time.
- Lower heat and cover for about 5 minutes until the the spinach is wilted.
- Stir and add the garam masala. Raise heat and stir. When it starts to bubble, lower the heat.
- Cover on low for 5 min. Turn off the stove and remove the bay leaf, cloves and cinnamon stick before serving.
Want another canned chickpea recipe? Try our Vegan Quinoa Chickpea Paella: