Last updated on July 20th, 2023 at 05:10 pm
This chickpea and spinach curry has been the most popular recipe on the blog since it was posted 6 years ago!
Grab a pot and get a hearty, family-friendly vegan curry on the table in around 30-minutes. Serve it with pudina chutney and rice for a nourishing and delicious meal.
This post was originally posted on October 27, 2017 and updated February 18 , 2022 with updated images, notes and ingredient substitutions.
Reader Review. "I’ve been making this recipe on a weekly basis for some time now, so time I wrote a review. This is a family favourite and we eagerly await chickpea curry night. Put it with some flat breads or pappadams and the whole family is happy. Thanks!" (Anton) ★★★★★
I Hope You'll Love this Chickpea Spinach Curry
This recipe is a great one to have in the back pocket. I often find myself throwing it together mid-week when things start to get a little hectic and my time management skills fail.
Did I mention the walk-away part? A few minutes of stirring and you are good to just walk away while your chana saag does its thing.
Ingredients & Substitutions
While there are a few spices in this chickpea curry, they are all pretty common - you probably have them in the pantry already. The rest of the ingredients are kitchen staples.
Canned or dried chickpeas. I most often use canned organic chickpeas but if you prefer, you can use dry chickpeas. I've included instructions on how to cook dried chickpeas from scratch below 🙂
Canned or fresh tomatoes. I like to add chopped fresh tomatoes to my vegan curry but I've used canned chopped tomatoes. You can also use regular tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes - you'll need around 3. Either will work although the canned may produce a slightly more acidic taste depending on the brand.
Spinach. So, this curry is Chana Saag. "Saag" in India usually means a mix of greens like spinach, methi (fenugreek), mustard greens, bathua leaves etc. Sometimes it just refers to spinach. You can add pretty much any leafy green you like here but to keep things simple, I'm just using spinach.
Spice Mix. To create a warming bowl packed with balanced flavours we use a mixture of spices. There are a few to be sure, but all of them are available at your supermarket. You'll need turmeric, cumin, garam masala, cinnamon, cardamom and curry powder.
Curry Powder. Use a hot or mild curry powder in this recipe depending how you like your heat. I use Keen's (not a sponsored link) curry powder because it's readily available at the supermarket and is mild enough for my little one to eat.
How to Make Chickpea Spinach Curry - Step By Step Photos
You'll find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Steps 1 and 2: Melt oil in a heavy-based pot over medium heat and add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and tomatoes.
Steps 3 and 4: Stir in the spices, ginger, tomato paste and sea salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Steps 5 and 6: Add the chickpeas, coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring the mixture up to a boil.
Steps 7 and 8: Reduce the heat to low and cook with the pot lid off until the sauce is thick and creamy. Stir in the baby spinach and allow it to wilt gently. Remove from the heat.
Step 9: You're done. Serve your chickpea curry with rice or quinoa, naan or both. Yum!
Want to Use Dried Chickpeas Instead? Here's How
Want to use dried chickpeas in your vegan chickpea curry? Let's do it.
- You're going to wash 2 cups of dried chickpeas and pick out the gnarly brown ones. Those suckers will break your teeth.
- Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water making sure you cover them by several inches to allow for expansion. Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth to soak overnight and expand.
- The next day drain and rinse the chickpeas in cold water.
- To cook your soaked beans, place them in a large pot and cover with several inches of water - about 1 litre (approx 1 quart) per cup of soaked beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Add salt if you like - a good amount is around an eighth of a teaspoon for each cup of chickpeas.
- Cook at a simmer for 60-90 minutes until desired tenderness.
- If you don't have time to soak your chickpeas overnight you can quick soak them before cooking. Cover the dried beans with cold water by several inches in a large pot. Place the pot over medium to high heat on the stove and bring it up to a boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow the chickpeas to sit in the hot water for 1 hour.
- Drain the beans before using.
In a hurry? Use these recipe shortcuts to save time and get dinner on the table pronto.
What to Serve With Your Curry
You can't go past a big bowl of aromatic basmati rice or for additional protein, cooked quinoa.
Add pappadum or naan.
Simply add a squeeze of lime and a spoon! So good.
Tips To Making the Best Chickpea Spinach Curry
Chickpea and Potato Curry. Add peeled, cubed potatoes when you add the chickpeas. Cook until the potatoes are tender.
Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry. Add cubed sweet potato with the chickpeas and cook until the sweet potato is tender.
Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry. Chop half a cauliflower into florets and add them to the curry with the chickpeas. Cook until the sauce is thickened and the cauliflower is tender.
In the fridge.
After cooling your curry completely, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
In the freezer.
Again, cool the curry completely and store it in a freezer-proof container in the freezer for up to 3-months. Fair warning - the spices can stain your containers. I divide my curry into portions and freeze it in separate containers so I can just pull out a single serve if I want.
Chickpeas are a great source of fibre which helps make us feel fuller for longer. They are also a good source of protein. Adding spinach to your chickpea curry provides iron while adding tomatoes, which contain Vitamin C, helps our body absorb that iron more easily. While coconut milk is high in fat, you can reduce the amount and simply substitute it with more stock or water.
Totally. I've used a 400 gram (14 oz) tin of chopped tomatoes in this recipe and it turned out great. The flavour is slightly more acidic but it's hardly noticeable.
The curry will keep well for 3-4 days in a sealed container in a fridge.
Yes. After cooking the curry allow it to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-proof container. Label the container with the name of the curry and the date you made it and store in the freezer safely for up to 3 months.
On its own, you'll get 4 good bowls but it will easily stretch to 6 serves with rice or quinoa.
Spices should be store in airtight containers in cool, dark spaces in the kitchen. Ground spices will keep for up to a year if stored properly while whole spices will keep for up to 3 years.
If you like this chickpea and spinach curry, you might like to check out these quick and easy meals.
Want more plant based-goodness?
Chickpea and Spinach Curry
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 large onion or 2 regular (optional for a thicker sauce) finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 400 grams cherry tomatoes, halved approx 2 punnets
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1-1½ teaspoon curry powder add more for more heat
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 480 grams cooked chickpeas cooked or 2 cans (drained)
- 200 ml coconut milk half a 400ml (14 oz) can
- ¾ cup vegetable stock or water
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes or diced green chillies to serve (optional)
- Melt the coconut oil in a heavy-based pot over medium heat and add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft.
- Add the garlic and tomatoes.
- Stir in the garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, tomato paste and sea salt. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas and stir through to coat. Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring the mixture up to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook with the pot lid off for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and creamy. Stir in the baby spinach and allow it to wilt gently.
- Remove the curry from the heat and serve with a smattering of chilli flakes or chillies and cooked rice or quinoa.
- Use canned chickpeas to reduce the cooktime
- Using a good quality brand of canned tomatoes will reduce your prep and cooking time.
- Or you can skip chopped tomatoes and use a tomato passata instead - this will help to thicken your curry quickly without forfeiting flavour.
- To thicken your curry sauce more quickly, cook it for 15-minutes. Around this time mix 2 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Add the "slurry" to the curry and mix it in really well. Your sauce should thicken up in no time.