This vegetarian chickpea curry is quick, easy, and totally delicious. Warm spices and rich coconut milk are a satisfying combination, and the heat of the curry is balanced perfectly by the bright tangy yogurt sauce. Jump to the recipe here, or read on!
For the past couple of weeks, The Husband and I have been sharing a car while mine has been in the shop, which has made coordinating trips to the grocery store tricky. As a result, I’ve been throwing together more and more of our meals with items we already have in the pantry. It’s been a good lesson in making do with what you have, and has resulted in some seriously tasty (and shockingly economic) meals.
This chickpea curry has been my favorite so far. It’s what happens when you find yourself with nothing but a can of chickpeas, a can of coconut milk, and some fresh cilantro. The first time I made it I didn’t even have any onions or garlic (!) and it was still pretty darn good. I’ve added both of those things to the recipe since then, though, because seriously, who let’s themselves run out of onions and garlic?! (Me, apparently.)
Being without a personal vehicle has been a challenging adjustment to make — and I’m not trying to complain, because really, first world problem — but it’s made me realize what a terrible planner I am, and how usually, I forget half the things I need for the week and end up running out at the last minute. It’s like I get one or two great recipe ideas, and then forget that we’re probably going to want to eat on the other nights of the week, too. Oops.
On the plus side, this has led me to discovering some handy recipes like this one that I always have the ingredients for. (It’s also led me to discovering some other things, like jars of questionable contents lurking in the back of my fridge… but let’s not talk about that.)
It’s always nice to be reminded that even if I haven’t planned ahead, there’s still deliciousness to be had. This curry has secured its place as one of my go-to recipes when the fridge is looking sparse, or I just don’t want to think too hard about dinner. By the time a pot of rice is done cooking (or a potato baking — I’ve been really enjoying serving the curry alongside half of a baked sweet potato), the curry is ready, too. And between the two (chickpeas and rice, or chickpeas and potatoes) you get a complete protein, which is always a plus in my book.
Before you check out the recipe below, don’t forget to watch the video! Learning videography has been so much fun, and at the same time so hard it makes my head hurt… but I can’t get enough. If you like what you see, head on over to my Youtube channel and subscribe. (Knowing you like my videos is seriously what makes making them all worthwhile!)
Do you have a favorite recipe that you *always* have the ingredients for? Let me know in the comments below!
- 2 TBSP coconut oil
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2½ tsp. curry powder*
- ½ tsp. turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp. ground cumin
- pinch of cinnamon (optional)
- 2 14.5 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or homemade cooked chickpeas, about 3½ cups)
- 1 15oz. can unsweetened coconut milk (you can use light or full fat – I like the richness of the full fat coconut milk here, but use what you prefer)
- ¼-½ cup water, as needed
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or parsley, if you don't like cilantro)
- Salt, to taste
- ½ cup plain yogurt (you can use regular or greek, full fat or low fat, whatever you like – again, I prefer full fat)
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped or chiffonaded
- Cooked rice, or baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, or naan bread (or gluten-free naan)
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the onion and a big pinch of salt, and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until the onion has started to turn translucent. Add the garlic, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon if using, and stir for 30-60 seconds to toast the spices.
- Add in the drained and rinsed chickpeas, coconut milk, and ¼ cup of water. Stir to combine, and let cook for 15-20 minutes, reducing the heat to low once it comes to a bubble, so the flavors have a chance to meld together.
- Taste, and add more salt if needed. If the sauce has thickened more than you'd like, thin it with a little extra water. Add in the fresh cilantro, and remove from the heat.
- In a bowl, stir together the yogurt and chopped mint.
- Serve the curry over cooked rice (basmatti might be more traditional, but I like brown rice with mine) or alongside a baked potato or sweet potato. Dollop the tangy yogurt and mint sauce on top, and swirl into the curry as you eat to cool the heat and balance the flavors.
This curry is great over rice, but I'm discovering my favorite way to eat it is alongside a baked sweet potato. To bake a sweet potato, scrub clean and dry thoroughly, then place on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 50-70 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. The time will vary depending on the size of the potato, so adjust accordingly. I find ½ a potato per serving is usually good, but I always bake an extra and keep it in the fridge for leftovers, or to warm up and serve with a fried egg for breakfast the next day.
To make this dish vegan, swap the yogurt for your favorite dairy-free alternative, or some more coconut milk..
We are big fans of chickpea curries. They take on the flavour of all the spices so well.
I agree, Dannii — they really are chameleons to flavor. They turn out to be really filling, too!
What a hearty vegetarian recipe! My husband is ok with vegetarian meals – but only when they really fill him up – and I think this will do the trick!
Thanks, Kit! This is definitely nice and filling with the richness from the coconut milk and protein and fiber from the rice and beans. I hope you try it!
This looks great, chickpeas make a great curry ingredient.
Thanks Caroline! Couldn’t agree more!
This looks so deliciously hearty! Love your video!
Thank you, Jacquee!
crispy chickpeas are my FAVORITE. can’t wait to try these!
Thanks Kristen — I hope you try the curry! These chickpeas aren’t the crispy baked kind, but they’re still tasty.
This looks so good! I love meals that I make with pantry staples like this.
Thanks, Carrie! Me too!
It looks just perfect and I really have every single ingredient in the house… even the fresh mint in the garden. :)
Thanks Adina! Isn’t it nice knowing you have everything you need for a delicious meal? I really should start growing my own mint. It’s one of my favorite herbs!
I do not cook but I made this dish to try it and it turned out really nice. Very easy to prepare and very yummy!
Thanks Dhaval, I’m so glad you liked it!
that i have all of these ingredients already in my kitchen should be a clear indication that i love this recipe: i like everything about it! In part because of how easily it seems to come together, but mostly due to the amazingly satisfying feeling of curry-spiced things. right? Something about coconut milk and curry spices make me completely happy and fulfilled. Love this.
Exactly! I dunno what it is about coconut milk and curry powder, but man — match made in heaven. And so easy to make!
Great dish! And good for us kosher peeps out here in Israel.
Thanks! And as we say here “mazel tov” to you and your husband!
The day after day description was right on and oh so true :)
Thanks, Daniel! Glad you liked it! (And Mozel Tov to you, as well!) :)
I made this last weekend as a lunch option throughout the week and I highly recommend it! Super easy to make on a sunday night. Make some rice, fill a jar halfway with rice, pour chickpea curry over the top and boom! easy work-lunch that made people totally jealous.
That is a fantastic idea, Sam, thank you for sharing! I’m so glad you liked the recipe, you’ve just reminded me that I need to make this again. :)
This is so yummy! It’s become a staple in my diet since I started being more conscious of what I was putting into my body. It’s filling without being heavy, spicy and flavorful (I added some graham masala to it this time and it’s ~actually~ spicy) and since I live alone it lasts for days. and omg can we talk about how friggin cheap it is?! Per serving it probably costs me less than 50 cents, even when I make it with the yogurt sauce. It’s my new comfort food.
Haha, thanks, Breton! I’m so glad you like this recipe. I feel the same way, it is soooo inexpensive, not to mention delicious. I’m thrilled to know you like it as much as I do!
Willow, it looks awesome! So much flavors packed on this recipe that makes this simply irresistible, definitely having this on my table!