Chickpea Curry

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This flavor-packed Chickpea Curry is loaded with aromatic spiced veggies, tender chickpeas, and a creamy coconut sauce. This plant-based curry is an easy weeknight meal that is naturally gluten-free and vegan.

Try some of our other popular curry recipes next, like this Coconut Curry ChickenLentil CurrySweet Potato Curry, or Vegetable Curry.

Overhead view of Chickpea Curry, served with rice, cilantro, naan bread and coconut raita.

Chickpea Curry

Wow! This curry has quickly climbed to the top of family favorite recipes! My kids can not get enough of it; even my 2-year-old polished off what I’d consider an adult-sized serving and was begging for more. Although, she did leave the rice and naan behind — apparently it wasn’t exciting enough after the chickpeas, ha!

I’ve made this quite a few times and kept it mild for the kiddos, but if you’re looking for a spicy chickpea curry recipe, I also share how to amp up those flavors below.

Process shots: Sautee coconut oil, onion and carrot; add garlic and ginger; add seasonings.

Let’s Chat Ingredients

  • Coconut milk. I highly recommend using full-fat coconut milk for the best flavor and thickness. Coconut’s natural sweetness helps to balance the spiciness. Lite coconut milk doesn’t thicken quite as nicely and won’t result in the rich full flavor that regular coconut milk provides. (See “quick tip” below for more coconut milk information.)
  • Red curry paste. Red curry paste adds loads of flavor without requiring lots of additional (often hard-to-find) ingredients. Curry pastes can vary from brand to brand, particularly in spiciness. We use Thai Kitchen® which I would say is very mild and has a great flavor. I’ve also used Maesri® red curry paste, which is probably my favorite flavor-wise, but it’s a lot spicier than Thai Kitchen. When making this chickpea curry for my kids, I use Thai Kitchen.
  • Yellow curry powder. Curry powder is another ingredient that varies a lot from brand to brand. We’ve tested this curry with Great Value®, Simple Truth Organic®, and McCormick® — all work similarly and are very mild.
  • Fire-roasted crushed tomatoes. The tomatoes make a big difference flavor-wise in this chickpea curry so I recommend good-quality fire-roasted tomatoes. This type of tomato is charred over a flame before being crushed and canned. Contact with that flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and gives a distinct smoky flavor; essentially you’re getting more flavor without any extra work.

QUICK TIP

It can be overwhelming to navigate coconut milk options in the grocery store. Look for shelf-stable, unrefrigerated cans of coconut milk. You’ll find canned coconut milk on the international aisle, with Latin or Asian products. Here’s an article outlining the best brands to use. I personally use Imperial Kitchen® since I can find it easily at my local grocery store.

Process shots: sauté seasonings and vegetables; add tomatoes and continue to sauté; rinse and drain chickpeas; add to pan and continue cooking.

Chickpea Curry Tips

  • Finely dice the veggies: To avoid any chunks of uncooked carrot or red onion, take your time to be certain the veggies are diced finely and evenly. Short-cut? Quickly pulse these veggies in a food processor!
  • Add spice. If you want a spicier curry, increase the red curry paste to 3 tablespoons, and/or add in some cayenne pepper (to your preference; start slowly and increase as desired).
  • Taste and adjust. As with most recipes, taste and adjust the seasonings to your personal preference. Remember you can always add more, but you can’t remove any seasoning.
  • Take the time to develop flavors. While it may seem tedious to add just a few ingredients at a time (sauté, add a few more, sauté, etc.), we do this to add layers of flavor to the curry. The spices get so much more flavorful by sautéing in the oil, the tomatoes’ sweetness is accentuated, and the chickpeas will become tender quicker. 

QUICK TIP

What’s in a name? Chickpeas are really and truly peas, but they have a lot of other names. Some of the most common are garbanzo beans, Egyptian peas, Bengal gram, and cecci beans.

Process shots: add coconut milk to the pan; stir and simmer until thickened; add cilantro and lime; mix well and serve.

Our three favorite accompaniments to Chickpea Curry are warmed naan, cucumber raita, and cooked basmati rice.

Overhead view of Chickpea Curry with basmati rice, raita, lime and cilantro.

Close-up view of a plate of Chickpea Curry over basmati rice.

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Chickpea Curry

5 from 2 votes
This flavor-packed Chickpea Curry is loaded with aromatic spiced veggies, tender chickpeas, and a creamy coconut sauce. This plant-based curry is naturally gluten-free and vegan.
Print Recipe

Chickpea Curry

5 from 2 votes
This flavor-packed Chickpea Curry is loaded with aromatic spiced veggies, tender chickpeas, and a creamy coconut sauce. This plant-based curry is naturally gluten-free and vegan.
Course Dinner, Vegetarian
Cuisine Healthy, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword chickpea curry, chickpea curry recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 163kcal
Cost $6.58

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1-1/2 cups (205g) finely diced red onion (~1 large onion)
  • 1 cup (157g) finely diced carrot (~2 large carrots)
  • 2 tablespoons (15g) minced garlic (3-5 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons (15g) minced fresh ginger (~1-inch piece)
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste Note 1
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder Note 2
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon EACH: garam masala, paprika, ground coriander, white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Fine sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 oz. 411g) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15.5 oz.; 439g) EACH chickpeas (also called Garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (13.5 oz; 400mL) coconut milk (I don't recommend lite coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice (~1 juicy lime)
  • 1/3 cup (15g) finely diced cilantro
  • For serving: cooked basmati rice (Note 3), warmed naan (Note 4), raita (Note 5)

Instructions

  • ONION AND CARROT: Heat the coconut oil in a large cast iron pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is melted, add in the diced onions and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and tender, about 8-11 minutes. Don't rush this; these two ingredients don't get much more tender throughout the cooking process. (Cooking will take slightly longer in a nonstick pot since it does not retain heat the same as a cast iron pot.)
  • AROMATICS: Add the garlic and fresh ginger; cook for 1 minute. Add the seasonings (curry powder, garam masala, paprika, coriander, sugar, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper to taste (I add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper) and red curry paste. (See Notes 1 and 2.)Cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 more minutes or until very fragrant. (Nothing should be burning/browning; lower heat if this is the case.)
  • TOMATOES AND CHICKPEAS: Add the fire-roasted tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot for 1 more minute. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas, cooking and stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add in the coconut milk; stir until combined. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Curry should be very fragrant and thick.
  • FINISHING: Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding additional salt or pepper if needed. Serve over rice, with warmed naan, and a scoop of raita if desired. (See Notes 3, 4, and 5.)

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Curry pastes can vary from brand to brand, particularly in spiciness. We use Thai Kitchen® which I would say is very mild and has a great flavor. I've also used Maesri® red curry paste, which is probably my favorite flavor-wise, but it's a lot spicier than Thai Kitchen.
Note 2: Yellow curry powder is another ingredient that varies a lot from brand to brand. We’ve tested this curry with Great Value®, Simple Truth Organic®, and McCormick® — all work similarly and are very mild.
Note 3: Check out the blog post for my quick and fool-proof way to cook basmati rice!
Note 4:  I recommend warming the naan first; char it over the stovetop, warm it in the microwave, or pop naan minis in the toaster (more details in the blogpost).
Note 5: We love the cooling contrast of this raita yogurt sauce. Here's the recipe if you're interested in whipping this up to top the chickpea curry with: Stir all the following ingredients together in a small bowl:
  • 1/2 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped English (or Persian/Salad) cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons EACH: chopped fresh cilantro, chopped green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: ground cumin, ground coriander, fine sea salt
Nutritional information is for the curry only, and not the rice, bread or raita.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 47mg | Potassium: 346mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 11089IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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