Easy Chickpea Curry With Coconut Milk
Easy Coconut Chickpea Curry is jammed pack with flavor and nutrition. This one-pot, vegan wonder comes together in just 30 minutes. Plus it's completely adaptable to what you have on hand!
Have you ever noticed when you search for "bean main course meals," like 90% of them are Mexican flavor-inspired recipes? Now I happen to LOVE Mexican food, but I also love a variety, which is where this recipe comes in. It's a bean main course that is Asian-inspired.
Curry dishes originated in India, but are now a common cuisine all over Asia. Curry usually involves veggies, spices, and protein in a creamy tomato sauce, served over rice. It's completely adaptable to whatever you have on hand, or what you like to eat. Curry makes a great meal because it's fast, budget-friendly, and healthy.
This particular recipe is vegan/vegetarian because it uses chickpeas as the protein source. It's so easy and delicious, you're going to be making this recipe all the time.
The thing I love about this recipe is its versatility. I almost called it "clean out the fridge chickpea curry" because when I make it, I use whatever vegetables are hanging out in my fridge. So far, I haven't added a veggie that didn't taste like it belonged. My very favorite veggies for this recipe are:
- sweet potatoes
Others that I've tried and work well include:
- red potatoes
- bell peppers
I haven't tried mushrooms or zucchini yet, but I think they would work. Honestly, the only veggie that I can't imagine adding is cucumbers. But hey, try it out if you want to, and let me know how it goes.
You'll need 1 ½ cups of chickpeas, which is about the equivalent of 1 can. If canned beans are your jam, then that is 100% fine, but I cannot stress to you enough about how much better freshly cooked chickpeas taste in this recipe over their canned counterparts!
My recommendation is to cook a large batch of beans, either on the stove or instant pot, and then freeze them in 1 ½ cup-sized servings. That way you can have the convenience of just pulling out a can, but still enjoy the flavor of fresh beans. Seriously, they taste so much better and are more cost-effective, healthier, and more eco-friendly.
In addition to the veggies, you'll need a can of petite diced tomatoes and a can of coconut milk. I'd stick to canned coconut milk if you can. I've never tried using coconut milk out of the carton with this recipe, but I think it would be fine if you're in a pinch. It would have a lower fat content if you did this, but the sauce might be a bit thinner.
Seasoning and Spices
You'll also need garlic, turmeric, chili powder, and curry powder for this recipe. You can adjust the spices to fit your taste preferences. For example, add more chili powder if you want your recipe to be spicier.
And finally, you'll need salt. Confession: I often leave out, or half the amount of salt that most recipes call for. It is crucial in this recipe, however. I like to use coarse kosher salt. I even sprinkle a little extra on top of my individual bowl.
I don't know why, but something amazing happens to your taste buds when you get a big burst of salt mixing with this warm curry recipe. You've got to trust me on this one!
Chop all the vegetables.
You'll want them to be in bite-size pieces.
Add a dash of olive oil to a large pan or large pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add veggies and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
They should be mostly soft before moving on to the next step.
Add in the 4 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 2 teaspoon turmeric, and 2 teaspoon curry powder. Saute for 1 more minute to activate the flavors of the seasonings.
Make sure the heat is not too high when adding in the spices and that you stir often during the 1 minute. Spices can easily burn, making your dish taste really bad.
Add in the chickpeas, undrained tomatoes, coconut milk, and salt. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil for 5 minutes.
Simmer on the stove until the veggies have reached your desired softness.
Simmer time depends on the type of veggies you use. Most veggies will be done after the first 5 minutes of gentle boiling. Some, like potatoes and sweet potatoes, can take up to an additional 20 mins of simmer time.
If you are using potatoes/sweet potatoes and want to speed up the recipe cook time, you could microwave them until they are only slightly firm, and then add them into your curry to simmer.
My favorite way to serve this is in a bowl over warm, white rice.
Brown rice would also be great. Cauliflower rice would be good too! I haven't tried quinoa, but I think it would also work. You could also eat it without a grain. Naan bread is also fantastic with this recipe.
If you don't have chickpeas, another type of white bean--like great northern or cannellini--would work just fine.
You could also add cooked, cubed chicken into this recipe if you are not trying to make it vegan/vegetarian.
Uneaten servings of curry should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days. You can reheat it in the microwave, or in a pan on the stove.
This recipe also makes a great freezer meal. To freeze, store in a freezer-friendly, airtight container for up to 3 months. Make sure the curry has completely cooled before placing it in the freezer. This will help prevent freezer burn.
To defrost, remember the phrase: "Low and Slow." This will help the beans and veggies not become mushy in the reheating process.
For best result, let the curry defrost for 24 hours in the fridge. You can also use the microwave or stove to defrost. Just use a very low setting and stir often.
I used the recipe analyzer from VeryWellFit to create this nutrition label.
This nutrition label only includes the chickpea coconut curry, it does not include rice, naan, or any other ingredients you serve the curry on.
This chickpea coconut curry is gluten-free. This recipe is not keto-friendly or Whole 30 approved because chickpeas are not allowed in either of those diets.
✨ Top tip
Since this recipe freezes so well, I love to freeze it in individual-sized portions for an easy lunch option. I use reusable food storage containers and pull them out one at a time on days when I don't feel like making lunch.
I don't recommend freezing cooked rice in the containers with the curry, because frozen rice always reheats a bit grainy. But if this doesn't bother you, then you can freezer the rice and it makes for an even quicker frozen meal option.
Easy Chickpea Curry With Coconut Milk
- olive oil
- 5 cups chopped fresh vegetables, such as: onions, carrots, celery, peas, potatoes, broccoli
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk 13.66 oz
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes 14.5 oz
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or one can
- 1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
- additional salt and pepper to taste
- Chop all the vegetables.*
- Add a dash of olive oil to a large pan or large pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add veggies and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the 4 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 2 teaspoon turmeric, and 2 teaspoon curry powder. Saute for 1 more minute to activate the flavors of the seasonings.
- Add in the chickpeas, undrained tomatoes, coconut milk, and salt. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil for 5 minutes.
- Simmer on the stove until the veggies have reached your desired softness.**
- My favorite way to serve this is in a bowl over warm, white rice.
- *I usually make this recipe with whatever veggies I have on hand, and I've never come across one that I don't like in it. My favorites include onions, carrots, celery, peas, potatoes, and broccoli. I also think that sweet potatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, corn, or butternut squash would be great. It's really up to your preference and what you have on hand!
- I don't see cucumbers working in this, but who knows. Let me know if you try it out and it's good.
- **Simmer time depends on the type of veggies you use. Most veggies will be done after the first 5 minutes of gentle boiling. Some, like potatoes and sweet potatoes, can take up to an additional 20 mins of simmer time.
- If you are using potatoes/sweet potatoes and want to speed up the recipe cook time, you could microwave them until they are only slightly firm, and then add them into your curry to simmer.