Chana Masala Recipe

I LOVE Indian food.  LOVE.  The aroma, the taste, the texture–it’s allllll goooood.  Not only is it super tasty, but with all the exotic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory packed spices, it can make for a super healthy meal as well.  You may or may not have heard all the buzz around the spice turmeric, which contains disease fighting curcumin, but it’s one of the staple ingredients in Indian dishes.  It takes eating healthy to a whole new level when adding these powerful herbs and spices.

Indian food seemed to be one of those impossible-to-make-myself delicacies.  When I want it, I get take out.  But that gets expensive, and I decided I was up for the challenge.  All I have to say is…it’s that simple?!  I wouldn’t have waited so long if I knew it wasn’t going to be this long drawn out process!  If you’ve never made chana masala before, or had the same thoughts as I did, you can totally do this.

Here’s what you need: 





  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or ground) cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (less if you’re sensitive to spicy foods)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 15-ounce (BPA free!) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed & drained
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (at a specialty or health food store)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add in the oil and onion. Cook onion until it’s translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Stir in cilantro, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and salt.
  3. Stir in water and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Using a Vitamix or other blender, empty the contents of the saucepan and blend the mixture on high until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little more water.
  5. Pour back into the saucepan.
  6. Add chickpeas to the mixture and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Stir in garam masala.
  7. Simmer another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve with rice (brown, basmati, or my favorite cauliflower rice!). If you like naan and are not gluten free, that’s a nice accompaniment too.

The finished product, chana masala, over my own version of saag and cauliflower rice:


chana masala over cauliflower rice

Enjoy! 🙂

*If you LOVE chickpeas as much as I do, check out my earlier post, a recipe on roasted chickpea snacks!  Want something sweet without the guilt? Try my chickpea cookie dough!

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