This quick and easy coconut chickpea curry is sure to satisfy your cravings. Toasted chickpeas are cooked in a rich, coconut milk-based sauce packed with warm Indian spices and a hint of tomato. Serve it as a filling meatless main or hearty side dish.
Easy Coconut Chickpea Curry
The smell alone of this coconut chickpea curry is intoxicating. Perfectly toasted chickpeas simmer away in a creamy coconut milk-based curry. The sauce is saturated with warm, toasted Indian spices and the tomato’s subtle, sweet acidity. Served over white rice with a smattering of chopped fresh cilantro, you’ll practically be licking the bowl clean.
I’m not even a vegetarian, but I absolutely love this vegan curry for a meatless Monday or whatever day. It will fill you up and keep your taste buds craving every bite. Plus, it’s so quick and easy to make, it will quickly become part of your recipe rotation. The dish is accentuated with onions, garlic, and tomatoes, adding depth to its flavor. It’s commonly served with naan bread and is known for being filling and nutritious due to the high protein content from chickpeas and the healthy fats from coconut milk.
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Curry
Need a little persuasion? Here are some of the things that make this simple, flavorful vegan curry a must-try:
- 30-minute meal. I love a quick and easy meal (that’s also delicious) and this vegan main fits the bill. It will take 15 minutes or less of active time in the kitchen and just 15 minutes more to let the curry simmer and the flavors deepen.
- Warm spices. I love the Indian spice mix used in this curry. Not only is it made up of some of my favorite warming spices but their flavors are enhanced by being toasted in the pan. This really wakes them up and allows them to flood the sauce with flavors.
- A side or a main. This vegetarian curry makes for a delicious compliment to a larger meal. Still, it is also full of protein and carbs and can easily be enjoyed as a hearty vegetarian entree. Meatless Monday anyone?
What You’ll Need
Here’s a list of ingredients needed to make coconut chickpea curry. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for precise measurements.
- For the spice mix. Flour, for thickening, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, ground ginger, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and cayenne. If you are gluten-free, use cornstarch instead of flour.
- Coconut oil
- Onion & Garlic
- Bell pepper – I like using red or orange but it’s really up to you.
- Sea Salt
- Tomato Paste
- Canned chickpeas: Drain and rinse the chickpeas before patting them dry and using them in the recipe.
- Diced tomatoes: I used canned tomatoes but you could easily chop up your own instead.
- Canned coconut milk: Use full-fat coconut milk here. It adds to the richness of the dish. Low-fat versions will end you with a watery curry.
- Fresh cilantro
How to Make Coconut Chickpea Curry
Time to take a quick look at how to make this coconut curry. This is just a general overview, so be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for more thorough instructions.
- Make the spice mix. Whisk together the ingredients for the spice mix.
- Sauté the veggies. Sauté the onion and the bell pepper in coconut oil over medium-high heat until softened. Add the garlic and sauté until aromatic.
- Develop flavor. Stir in the spice mix and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and sauté until darkened in color.
- Toast the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas and sauté until slightly browned.
- Finish it off. Stir in the tomatoes and the coconut milk, bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Tips for Success
Get your study cap on and pay attention. I want to give you some simple tips and tricks that will set you up for currylicious success.
- Regarding canned chickpeas. Canned chickpeas come packed in a lot of liquid. Be sure to drain the liquid off and rinse the chickpeas thoroughly. Finally, pat them dry with a paper towel before using them in the recipe. This will allow them to crisp up nicely in the pan.
- Use a large pan. As you toast the chickpeas, it is important that there is enough surface area for all of them to come in direct contact with the hot pan with plenty of room to wiggle. Otherwise, they will not toast properly but steam instead. If your pan isn’t big enough, toast the chickpeas in batches.
- Take time to develop the flavor. It can be tempting to sauté your veggies and then dump all the ingredients into the pot. Don’t do that. Take the extra time to toast the spices and cook the tomato paste. It will allow the flavors to bloom and spread throughout the curry.
Enjoy coconut chickpea curry on its own or with one (or several) of these delicious sides and entrees.
- Naan. I love sopping up the sauce for this curry with this Homemade Naan. Store-bought will do the trick as well.
- With sauce. Serve a dollop of Indian Raita or the garlic yogurt sauce from these Grilled Salmon Kabobs over your curry.
- Over rice. Ladle the curry over white rice. I prefer jasmine or basmati. This Jeera Rice (Cumin Rice) would be a great way to go.
- Veggies. Give your body a healthy dose of veg with this Green Goddess Salad, these Roasted Root Veggies, Crispy Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli, or Sautéed Garlic Broccolini.
- As a side. Serve this curry as an accompaniment to my Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe or this Sheet Pan Tandoori Chicken.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- Refrigerator: Allow the curry to cool to room temperature before sealing it in an airtight container and storing it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warm. You can also reheat a single serving in the microwave in 30-second intervals until heated through, stirring intermittently.
- To Freeze: Transfer the cooled curry to an airtight container or a freezer bag. Seal and store the curry in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Vegetarian Recipes To Try
Whether you are vegetarian or just looking to go meatless a few days per month, here are some of my favorite vegetarian dishes that are sure to fill you up and excite your taste buds.
- Creamy Tortellini Soup
- Flatbread Pizza with Grilled Corn and Mozzarella
- Portobello Mushroom Fajitas
- Crispy Baked Falafel
- Tomato Parmesan Stuffed Eggplant
- Easy Vegetable Lasagna
Coconut Chickpea Curry
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, red or orange, diced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and pat dry
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Whisk together the flour, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and cayenne. Set aside.
- Saute the vegetables. Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the bell pepper and season with sea salt—saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 15 seconds or until fragrant.
- Toast the spice. Add the spice mix and cook for about 1 minute, stirring continuously.
- Cook the tomato paste. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for about a minute, stirring continuously, until darkened in color.
- Toast the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly, until slightly browned.
- Finish it off. Add the tomatoes and the coconut milk to the mix. Stir until everything is incorporated and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Serve over rice and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
- Chickpeas: Drain, rinse, and dry the canned chickpeas.
- Use a large pan for even toasting. If the pan is too small, toast the chickpeas in batches.
- Instead of quickly combining ingredients, toast spices and cook the tomato paste first for deeper flavor.
- Cool the curry before refrigerating for up to 4 days.
- Reheat on the stovetop or in a microwave.
- For freezing, cool the curry, transfer it to a sealed container, and freeze it for up to 3 months.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.