This Indian-inspired vegan chickpea and spinach curry with coconut milk is the ultimate comfort dish - it's creamy, packed with flavor, and can be made easily in one pot in under 30 minutes! This recipe is rich in plant-based protein and is freezer-friendly, making it the perfect for meal prep or as a weeknight meal.
This one pot dinner is healthy, easy to make, and loaded with flavor. Aside from being vegan, this recipe is also naturally gluten-free! This chickpea curry is perfect by itself but pair it with rice and pita bread for a well-rounded, satisfying dinner!
I first tried coconut chickpea curry at a local vegan Indian restaurant! I fell in love with the flavor and how satisfying the dish was, both in nutrients and how filling it was. The description on the menu and forming a connection with our waiter gave me an awesome place to start when it came to developing my own recipe. This recipe is simply inspired by Indian cuisine and that meal, but it is by no means authentic! Check out Rainbow Plant Lifes' tofu curry for an authentic curry dish!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
This recipe is:
- Quick & easy to make: it takes less than 30 minutes to make and requires little to no cooking skills!
- A one pot meal
- Naturally plant based, vegan & gluten-free
Chickpeas: the star of the show! Chickpeas are the perfect alternative for chicken in this dish and help load this recipe with plant-based protein.
Spinach: for some added veggies and a great source of iron.
Coconut Milk: is the base for our creamy curry sauce. Feel free to use any non-dairy milk you like.
Curry Powder: a must for a curry recipe!
Tomato Paste: for flavor and to help thicken our sauce.
Garlic: a must for the best flavor
Onion: another flavor booster. I minced my onion, but if you'd like a bit more bite feel free to chop it in larger pieces.
Minced Ginger: I think you get the theme here...for flavor!
Spices: aside from curry powder, we'll be using cumin, turmeric, salt, and pepper to make this dish extra flavorful.
- In a large pot, a cast-iron skillet, or another straight-sided pan, heat oil over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic, onion, and ginger and cook for 5-7 minutes. If you'd like to add any heartier veggies other than spinach (cauliflower, for example), add them here!
- Add all of the spices, stir, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Feel free to adjust, omit, or add different spices to your preference! Paprika and garam masala are great additions or swaps.
- Add chickpeas, coconut milk, and tomato paste. Stir and let cook for 10-15 minutes. You reduce it to a simmer here and cook for up to 30 minutes to really develop the flavors and creaminess. 3 minutes before removing it from heat, add the spinach and allow it to wilt.
- Remove from heat and quickly whisk in lime juice and flour (optional). Let the curry sit for 5 minutes to thicken up before serving.
- Serve immediately as is or over rice with vegan naan or pita bread.
Variations & Substitutions
I love this recipe as is but feel free to change it up to your liking. These ideas are guaranteed to be delicious:
- Make this recipe oil free by using vegetable broth or water in place of oil.
- Substitute coconut milk for any other non-dairy milk you prefer. If you do make this swap, I would suggest adding the flour to ensure you get a nice creamy, thick sauce, as other milks are thinner.
- Replace the tomato paste with tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes.
- If you choose to use flour to thicken the curry sauce, feel free to use gluten-free flour, all purpose flour, cassava flour, or whichever type you like!
- Swap the spinach for kale, or add additional, heartier veggies like sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or zucchini. If you are adding additional veggies, do this in step 1 so they get nicely coated in the spices from step 2!
- Make a spicy chickpea curry by adding red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne powder.
This recipe is incredibly simple but keep these two tips in mind so you make this recipe perfectly!
- Let the curry simmer for at least 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Add the spinach about 2 minutes before serving so it wilts but still keeps its texture.
Definitely! Coconut milk is purely used to give a creamy texture, even more so with the added flour. You can achieve a similar texture using a different type of plant-based milk. I would recommend soy milk, as it is the thickest plant milk. In reality, any milk will do! If you do switch out the milk, you should definitely add 1 tablespoon of flour (as opposed to it being optional) to help thicken the sauce.
Store any leftovers in an air-tight container for 5-7 days. If you make rice to serve with this recipe, that can be stored in the fridge for 5 days as well. To reheat, microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through. Alternatively, you can reheat the chickpea curry on the stove over medium heat until warmed through.
Yes! Allow the curry to cool to temperature then put in an air-tight container and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. When to ready to eat, allow it to thaw then reheat as directed above.
I love to serve my chickpea curry over rice and vegan naan or pita bread. The best thing about this recipe is that you can really pair it with whatever you like: veggies, tofu, whatever you see fit.
Vegan Chickpea Spinach Curry with Coconut Milk
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ yellow onion chopped
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour optional
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne optional
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1-2 cups basmati rice
- vegan naan or pita bread
- In a large, straight-sided pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and minced ginger. Saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.1 tablespoon avocado oil, 3 cloves garlic, ½ yellow onion, ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- Add spices (curry powder, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes). Stir to combine and cook for another 2 minutes.1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Sprinkle flour over top and mix until combined.1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Add coconut milk and tomato paste and whisk quickly until smooth. Add in the chickpeas, stir to combine. Allow to simmer for at least another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer you allow it to simmer, the richer the flavor will be!1 can unsweetened coconut milk, 2 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 can chickpeas
- When you have 2-3 minutes left, add in the spinach. Stir to combine and cook until wilted.1 cup baby spinach
- Serve immediately as is or over basmati rice and pita bread or vegan naan. Garnish with lime juice, red pepper flakes and cilantro.a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1-2 cups basmati rice, vegan naan or pita bread
- Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for 5-7 days or freeze up to 3 months. Enjoy!