Chana Masala is an easy 30-minute healthy Indian recipe! This vegan and gluten-free chickpea dish is simmered in 1-pot with coconut curry spices and a tomato base. Toss this chana masala recipe with rice or serve with a side of roasted vegetables for an irresistible dinner!
A healthy and light chana masala recipe that is quick, easy and ultra delicious!
This sauce was originally going to be turned into both chana masala (also known as chole or chickpea) and a tikka (chicken) masala recipe but as I was making the sauce I realized I forgot to get the chicken out of the freezer to thaw! So we get the vegetarian version:-) No disappointment here, this chana masala is amazing, quick and good with anything rice:-)
Since I made a huge batch of slow cooker chickpeas earlier in the week – I was all set to make homemade chickpea masala sauce! Really you can make the sauce and add any protein you like or keep it vegetarian and pour it over cooked rice or roasted potatoes and carrots. Aside from this delicious recipe, I also suggest mixing it with rice then stuffing and baking it in a red or green bell peppers to turn it into stuffed peppers!
What inspired this healthy chana masala recipe? Our Christmas feast at a local Indian restaurant!
We always go out to eat on Christmas Day. Our restaurant selections vary and this year my father-in-law chose an Indian restaurant. We had the best time ordering a smorgasbord of foods that everyone shared. Mostly a ton of chana masala and tikka masala with sides of rice and potatoes and fresh naan bread. The flavors of curry, garlic, onion, masala and turmeric filled tables! Every rice, meat, bean and legume was bathed in masala sauce – so much we licked every last drop! I knew I had to replicate the sauce when I got home.
After Christmas I was home whipping up my own version of a healthy chana masala recipe that you have to try!
Here is why… it only takes a few simple ingredients and the health benefits are unbelievable!
Making Chana Masala Sauce
It is all about those chickpeas! You can use canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or make them in the slow cooker and turn any leftovers into hummus or sprinkled on salads another night. To make chickpeas in the slow cooker, add about 2 cups of dried and rinsed beans to the slow cooker with enough water to cover them about 4 inches high. Cover and let the chickpeas cook for about 6 hours. Rinse and drain them before adding them to this recipe.
Indian Spices- Curry, Turmeric, Garam Masala Powder (a blend of traditional spices used in Indian cuisines), Paprika, Garlic, Ginger!
Canned Diced or Stewed Tomatoes!
Canned Full-Fat Coconut Milk!
Add some pretty garnishes such as cilantro, green onion, lime juice and colorful crunchy watermelon radishes!
Health Benefits of Chana Masala
Chana masala is 100 percent plant based and your body will thrive from that! It is high in vitamin C, fiber, healthy metabolism boosting fats, is anti-inflammatory, contains cancer fighting properties and aids in healthy digestion.
Chickpeas are high in fiber and vegan plant-based protein which helps support the digestive system and body composition. They also help the body to feel satisfied and fuller for longer! In addition, chickpeas contain essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, choline, and selenium.
Indian spices are known to be some of the best anti-inflammatory spices for your body! Curry spices are incredibly healing and turmeric is the main spice in most Indian dishes. It compliments vegetables and helps prevent cancer, aids to protect the body against heart disease, reduces Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, decreases inflammation and helps the liver to flush out toxins from the body.
Garlic, onion and tomatoes are known to help prevent cancer and consuming cooked tomatoes makes their lycopene content higher than raw. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of fiber, potassium and magnesium.
Canned coconut milk is high in saturated fats that the body can easily metabolize. The fats are actually healthy for brain development and boosting the metabolism (in moderation). It is also a rich source of minerals such as manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, niacin and pantothenic acid.
Masala sauce has become one of my new favorite foods and is literally made with no grains or meat and has satisfying bold flavors! It contains all plant based ingredients and healthy fats from coconut milk! It can be ready in as little as 30 minutes or make it ahead of time for a quick weeknight dinner!
Chana Masala Recipe
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 14.5 ounce can organic tomato sauce
- 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- 14.5 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas drained and rinsed (about two 15-ounce cans)
- cilantro for garnish
- green onion for garnish
- watermelon radish for garnish
- lime wedges for garnish
- 2 cups hot cooked rice or quinoa
- In a pot on the stove turn on the heat to medium and add the onion, tomato sauce, coconut milk, diced tomatoes, minced garlic cloves, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, garam masala, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chickpeas after 10 minutes. If it starts to bubble on the sides turn the heat down slightly.
- Serve over the rice or quinoa and garnish with fresh lime juice, cilantro, watermelon radish, and green onions.
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