Recipe: Chana Masala

Post by Olivia Martino, Registered Dietitian and Owner, Nourish Northwest

The name of the game for me lately when it comes to making dinner is simple.  This is a huge change coming from an over achiever in the kitchen who usually finds pleasure in trying out new, often complicated recipes.  These days, things are busy.  So busy, that in order to ensure something nutritious gets in my belly I have to stick to easy recipes that are tried, true and fast.  While scanning through the recipe cards in my mind I looked for something that was balanced, satisfying, quick and most importantly, full of flavor; this one popped right up!

Chana Masala is a popular chickpea based dish from India.  It is full of anti-inflammatory spices, including a blend called garam masala.  If this is a spice you are unfamiliar with, I recommend buying it in the bulk spices section if your store has one.  That way you can purchase just what you need for a nominal fee without having to commit to a whole bottle. This dish is thick and stew-like and is perfect on its own or over brown rice, cauliflower rice, or my favorite, baked sweet potatoes.  Just make sure to get your base of choice started before going into the rest of the recipe so that everything is done at the same time.  Interested in learning how to prepare more Indian dishes?  We have a Kids in the Kitchen cooking class on March 8th, as well as a Plant Based Indian Cuisine class for adult on March 16th!  Click here for more details and registration.

Chana Masala 

(adapted from


1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1tablespoon garam masala (use more or less depending on spice preference)

1 teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 can chickpeas

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

1 small bunch fresh cilantro, minced

Baked Sweet Potatoes or Cooked Brown Rice for Serving



Add the coconut oil to a large pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook for about 1 more minute, stirring often. Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the coconut milk and continue to simmer for 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve over baked sweet potatoes or brown rice.

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