Chana Masala

The Cowgirl Gourmet


There is a big difference between opening a can of chickpeas and cooking them from scratch. Though it's not a lot of work to cook your own chickpeas, the results are astoundingly improved when you do. And now that I have done it, it is unlikely I will ever buy a can of chickpeas again. I made hummus for the 4th of July and decided the remaining chickpeas needed to become something equally vibrant. This chana masala hits all of the right notes and within 30 minutes, a hearty, healthy (and vegan) meal will be on the table and ready to tantalize everyone's taste buds.


Serves 4-6


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 serrano chile, minced (with seeds)

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 (28-ounce) can diced organic tomatoes, with the juice

2 (15-ounce) cans or 4 cups homemade chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup cilantro, for garnish

Lemon wedges, for serving


In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cumin seeds, allowing them to toast for 1-2 minutes. Stir frequently, to prevent burning, and allow the seeds to get golden and very fragrant.


Raise the heat back to medium-high and stir in the onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger and chile. Stir well to coat and cook for five minutes, stirring often. Then add in the remaining spices, including the coriander, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, garam masala and salt and cook for two more minutes.

Add the entire can of diced tomatoes and their juices to the pot and stir well to combine, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour the water and chickpeas, stirring well and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes.


Serve over basmati rice and a side of roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli. Refrigerate any leftovers and trust this dish will be even better in the days that follow.


When reheating leftovers, you may need to add some water to thin it out a bit.

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