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Keep the ingredients for this simple, warming Chickpea Curry on hand (not difficult since most of them—canned tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk, and spices—are pantry staples) and you’re never more than 30 minutes from a nutritious, super satisfying vegetarian meal.

the best creamy chickpea curry

“Curry” is a catch-all term for a saucy dish with vegetables and some kind of protein stewed together in a rich, aromatic sauce.

This particular tomato chickpea curry is Indian-inspired; it uses dry spices like curry powder and garam masala to build its royal flush of warm flavor, plus aromatics like garlic and ginger.

(Thai curries by contrast use chili pastes for their heat; see Coconut Curry and Green Curry for examples).

Creamy chickpea curry is not too spicy—coconut milk makes the sauce silky and balances the heat—so if you want a spicy iteration, you can add a pinch or two of additional cayenne.

Serve it with rice (try Turmeric Rice or Instant Pot Brown Rice) or sop it up with fluffy Homemade Naan.

a large pot of creamy chickpea curry

How to Make Chickpea Curry

If this is your first time cooking an Indian dish, you’ll need to pick up two important spice blends: curry powder and garam masala.

The small up-front investment is worth it.

Once you have these two in your pantry, it opens a whole world of wonderful Indian-inspired recipes like Potato Curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Paneer Tikka Masala.


The Ingredients

  • Chickpeas. Rich in fiber, protein, and vitamins, chickpeas are a nutritious addition to a vegetarian dish like this one. They give the curry texture and have a mild nutty flavor. Chickpeas are also the star in Chickpea Soup.
  • Onion. It helps build deep flavor right from the start.
  • Spices. Garam masala and curry powder are critical flavor components in this recipe. Both contribute richness and depth of flavor. I also used a dash of cayenne to give the curry a little heat.

Substitution Tip

If you don’t have any garam masala on hand, you can swap it for an additional 1 to 2 teaspoons of curry powder.

  • Bay Leaf. Cuts through the richness of the sauce, adding a lightly citrusy and peppery flavor.
  • Garlic + Ginger. Essential flavor builders in a curry recipe like this one.
  • Crushed Tomatoes. A key component in the curry’s rich coconut tomato sauce. The crushed tomatoes add liquid and flavor. Crushed tomatoes also create the perfect base in Shrimp Curry.
  • Coconut Milk. Full-fat coconut milk is the move here. It adds better flavor and helps create a luscious sauce.
  • Frozen Peas. Using frozen peas is my favorite, easy way to incorporate more veggies. No need to thaw them first.
  • Lime Juice. Adds a hint of acidity and wakes up all the other flavors.

Substitution Tip

Lemon juice would also work well here.

The Directions

  1. Cook the onion in oil with salt and pepper.
sauteeing onions and curry powder in large pot
  1. Add the bay leaf, spices, garlic, and ginger.
tomato chickpea curry in a large pot
  1. Stir in the tomatoes.
chickpeas in a pot for chickpea curry
  1. Pour in the chickpeas and coconut milk.
coconut milk and chickpea curry in a pot
  1. Bring the mixture to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
frozen peas for chickpea curry in a large pot
  1. Add the peas.
a large pot of easy easy chickpea curry
  1. Remove the bay leaf. Serve as desired and garnish with fresh cilantro. DIG IN!
tomato chickpea curry in a bowl with naan bread

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate curry in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. You can freeze chickpea curry. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. Store each ingredient separately in the refrigerator.

authentic chickpea curry with naan

Leftover Ideas

Upgrade your leftovers by incorporating some extra veggies. Add Air Fryer Cauliflower, Sauteed Spinach, or even Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Serve with your choice of flatbread or rice (basmati rice would be tasty).

What to Serve with Chickpea Curry

  • Dutch Oven. My go-to tool for preparing curries like this one.
  • Wooden Spoon. Perfect for stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot.
  • Measuring Spoons. You’ll love these double-sided, magnetic measuring spoons.

This easy chickpea curry will make you feel like a pantry wizard.

It’s amazing the dinner magic you can work with simple spices, and a little help from canned tomatoes, coconut milk, and chickpeas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a Vegan Chickpea Curry?

Yes, this recipe is vegan as written.

Do You Have to Wash Canned Chickpeas?

You should drain and rinse canned chickpeas before using them in this recipe. Rinsing them first removes the excess sodium and starch.

How Healthy is Chickpea Curry?

With oodles of plant protein and fiber from the chickpeas, nutritious vegetables, and beneficial spices, this chickpea curry is a healthy meal.

Chickpea Curry

4.92 from 12 votes
Easy Chickpea Curry recipe made with pantry staples liked canned tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk and spices. A healthy, satisfying vegetarian meal ready in 30 minutes.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil grapeseed oil, or coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala or an additional 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper reduce to 1/8 teaspoon if sensitive to spice
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger from about a 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans reduced sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk use regular, not lite
  • 10 ounces frozen peas no need to thaw, optional
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice or lemon juice
  • Prepared brown rice for serving (see Instant Pot Brown Rice)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for serving
  • Homemade naan warmed; optional for serving

Instructions
 

  • In a large, deep pot such as a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-low. Once it’s hot, add the onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed so that the onions brown but do not burn.
  • Stir in the bay leaf, garam masala, curry powder, cayenne, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring constantly, until the spices are ultra fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Pour in the tomatoes and stir, scraping up any bits that stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the chickpeas and coconut milk.
  • Stir, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time and scraping a wooden spoon along the bottom of the pot to keep the curry from sticking.
  • Add the peas and stir to warm through.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired (I add a pinch or two more of salt). Fish out and discard the bay leaf. Serve hot over prepared rice with a big handful of chopped fresh cilantro, and warm naan.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate curry in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: You can freeze chickpea curry. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 (of 4)Calories: 540kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 18gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.03gSodium: 744mgPotassium: 1075mgFiber: 15gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 859IUVitamin C: 44mgCalcium: 139mgIron: 9mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Satisfying comfort food, especially if you can make the time to use homemade naan, Stonefire brand is also totally decent. Next time will pair with some toppings and maybe a small side salad and use the meal prep tips. Super easy and fast but could be even quicker with prep.4 stars

  2. This was delicious. Everyone in the family liked it. Easy to make, tasty and healthy. I will Definitely be making this again.5 stars

  3. This was so good! I got a new Dutch oven for Christmas that I was excited to use for the first time and this recipe did not disappoint. I’ll be making this one again and again. Thank you!5 stars