You know that “big pot of beans” meal prep guides always tell you to make at the start of a week? This easy chana masala is perfect for that. These fragrant, Indian-spiced stewed chickpeas are great over rice, spooned into flatbread with creamy avocado, topped with a crispy-edged fried egg, or simply served with fresh greens.
Whichever route you choose, make sure there are scallions. Lots of scallions. They bring a brightness, bit of spice, and color contrast to the dish.
This easy chana masala recipe starts with a sautéed onion, which gives the dish a subtly sweet foundation. Next, the aromatics: garlic, ginger, cumin, and garam masala.
Key ingredient: Garam Masala
Garam masala is a classic spice blend made of cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, and cumin. It’s rich, perfume-y, and warming, and you’ll find lots of ways to use it up. (I love it in stews and roasted vegetables). And no, garam masala is not the same as yellow “curry powder”, which typically refers to a spice blend known as “madras curry”. Although there is some overlap between their ingredients, yellow curry powder contains turmeric and has a completely different flavor profile.
I call this recipe “hassle-free” because I made sure to keep the ingredient list minimal. Most chana masala recipes call for garam masala plus a bunch of whole spices, some of which are in garam masala already – which seemed redundant to me. So although this version is not super “authentic,” it is more practical for most of us.
This recipe also includes raisins, which are definitely not authentic. I love them here because their sweetness balances the acidity of the tomatoes and lemon. However, if you’re a raisin-hater (I can sympathize – I live with one), leave them out.
Home-cooked chickpeas vs. canned
You can use canned chickpeas here, but I recommend cooking them from scratch if you have time. The texture of canned chickpeas tends to be mushy; plus, they’re usually over-salted and have that canned taste. Chickpeas cooked from scratch hold their shape much better, and you get to control the amount of salt.
Chana masala freezes perfectly, so I recommend doubling the batch – your future self will thank you. Especially the future self who just got back from vacation and could really use a home-cooked meal.Print
This easy chana masala recipe is perfect for meal prep and can be served in a variety of ways. Plus, it freezes perfectly.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 4 cups of cooked chickpeas (or 3 cans, drained and rinsed) (See Note)
- One 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ⅓ cup white raisins
- Scallions, to serve
- Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook until softened and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, and pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas, tomato sauce, water, lemon juice, turmeric, pepper, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the raisins. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve with scallions.
To cook chickpeas from scratch, soak them in a large volume of water for 8 to 24 hours. Drain, place in a large pot, cover with at least 2 inches of water, and season with a generous pinch of salt. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer with the lid ajar until the chickpeas are cooked through, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Calories: 268
- Fiber: 10.1 g
- Protein: 11.1 g