Chana Masala

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This chana masala recipe is just the best! Chana masala is a northern Indian recipe that is made from a blend of spices, tomatoes, and chickpeas.

Why You’ll Love this Vegan Chana Masala

This is an easy chana masala recipe, it takes just over 30 minutes to make. It uses ground spices – so you don’t have to blend anything and it uses canned chickpeas – no overnight soaking required!

Chana masala is often served at Indian restaurants and it’s popular around the world, for good reason. It’s a really hearty and comforting recipe. It’s also naturally vegan and gluten-free.

ingredients for chana masala

Chana Masala Ingredients

In order to make this recipe you’ll need a few ingredients, most of which might already be in your pantry.

  • Pantry Ingredients – you’ll need olive oil, canned chickpeas, canned crushed tomatoes
  • Fresh Ingredients – you’ll need yellow onions, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and a green chili (jalapeno if you want it to be less spicy or serrano if you want it hotter).
  • Spices – you’ll need garam masala, paprika, turmeric, and amchoor powder (if you can’t find amchoor, you can use an additional lemon juice)
  • Optional Toppings & Sides – chopped cilantro, serve with rice, naan, or roti.

How to Make this Delicious Recipe

This recipe comes together in about 35 minutes. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

  1. Sauté the fresh ingredients: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the diced onions and sauté them, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and chili into the pot and sauté for two minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Heat the spices: Add the garam masala, amchoor powder, paprika, turmeric, and kosher salt to the pot and stir continuously for 30 seconds to heat up the spices. 
  3. Add the tomatoes & chickpeas: Then add the crushed tomatoes and chickpeas. Stir to combine and bring to a low simmer. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chickpeas are tender. 
  4. Finish it off: Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir to combine and serve (if desired) with rice or naan. 

More Indian Recipes to Try

If you like flavors from the subcontinent, you need to try these other recipes!

  • Chickpea Curry Recipe – a wonderful blend of chickpeas, coconut milk, and spices – that’s brightened up with baby spinach and lime juice.
  • Red Lentil Dal – a wonderful, warming bowl of food. Lentils are incredibly filling food and are nutrient-dense.
  • Coconut Lentil Curry – this coconut lentil curry recipe is a hearty, vegan recipe. It’s got wonderful flavors and spices.
  • Mango Lassi – ready in just a few minutes, only takes 4 ingredients, and best of all – this recipe is vegan.

Tips for this Chana Masala Recipe

  • If you don’t want this to be too spicy, either omit the green chili or use a jalapeno. Jalapeno peppers are less spicy than a serrano pepper (use a serrano chili or two if you like it hot)!
  • This dish keeps well in the fridge, making it a great meal prep recipe. It keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • You can make your own garam masala blend at home.
  • It’s not traditional, but if you want a creamier recipe, add half a can of coconut milk.
  • If you want to make this recipe with raw chickpeas, instead of canned, soak them overnight.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Chana Masala

Chana Masala

This chana masala recipe is a healthy, hearty dinner that's a weeknight favorite.

Prep Time 6 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 36 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1-inch ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons amchoor powder*
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the diced onions and sauté them, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, and chili into the pot and sauté for two minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Add the garam masala, amchoor powder, paprika, turmeric, and kosher salt to the pot and stir continuously for 30 seconds to heat up the spices. 
  4. Then add the crushed tomatoes and chickpeas. Stir to combine and bring to a low simmer. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chickpeas are tender. 
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir to combine and serve (if desired) with rice or naan. 

Notes

*amchoor is a dried mango powder. It adds a hint of sourness and fruitiness to this recipe. If you can't find it, add a bit more lemon juice.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 254Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1733mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 11gSugar: 17gProtein: 11g

Chana Masala FAQs

Is Chana Masala healthy?

Yes, chana masala is a healthy recipe. It’s a good source of protein from the chickpeas, and it’s less than 300 calories per serving.

Can you freeze Chana Masala?

Yes, you can freeze chana masala in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Let it fully cool before putting it in the freezer. To reheat it, add a couple of tablespoons of water to it before heating on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Chana Masala vs Garam Masala

Chana masala is a dish with tomatoes, chickpeas, and spices – one of which is garam masala. Garam masala is a spice blend with coriander, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, fennel and more. It’s an aromatic blend that can be used in many Indian, Pakistani, and Nepalese recipes.

In Hindi, masala means “spices”, garam means “a blend”, and chana means “chickpeas”.

Does Chana Masala have dairy?

Typically, chana masala is a vegan recipe with no dairy. This chana masala recipe doesn’t contain any dairy.

If you are ordering chana masala from a restaurant, check to make sure they haven’t added heavy cream, to keep it vegan and dairy-free.

Do I have to have amchoor powder to make Chana Masala?

If you don’t have (or can’t find) amchoor powder, you can substitute it for a few more squeezes of lemon juice or use a teaspoon of tamarind paste.

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