Chana Masala (Quick + Easy)

top down view of healthy chana masala in a bowl with rice, lime and cilantro.

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5 from 6 reviews

Full of flavor, this 30 minutes Chana Masala recipe is quick, easy, and great served over basmati, jasmine or brown rice, or quinoa.


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water for water saute
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 45 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 serrano chili peppers, seeds removed and diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon EACH ground coriander, cumin and turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cans (15oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 34 cups fresh cooked)
  • 1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1/4 cup water, + more as needed
  • 2 small lemons or limes, juice of
  • mineral salt & pepper to taste
  • grain of choice: rice, quinoa or couscous (optional)

optional garnish

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • lemon or lime wedges
  • sliced cherry tomatoes
  • arugula


Prep: Start with chopping, dicing and mincing the onion, garlic, ginger and serrano chili. This is pretty much the most work you’ll have to do. I grated my ginger using this handy fine grater (affiliate link), but simply mincing your ginger is great too.

Saute: In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat and saute the onions until translucent, add the garlic, ginger, chili and spices and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Cook: Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cinnamon stick and 1/4 cup of water, turn heat to low and simmer at a gentle boil for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little more water if you prefer a saucy chickpea stew. Remove cinnamon stick and stir in the lemon juice.

Serve: Serve with grain of choice and optional garnish. And for scooping and soaking, this easy Vegan Naan is perfect!

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 – 6 days. To keep longer, store in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months.

Serves 4 – 6


If you don’t have garam masala on hand, you can still pull off a flavorful stew replacing garam masala with:

  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons cumin and 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • In place of a cinnamon stick, use a tiny pinch of cinnamon
  • If you don’t have turmeric, it’s fine to omit it

In place of using 1 or 2 serrano chili peppers, 1 jalapeno (whatever size you prefer) will work too.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: This fine grater (affiliate link) is great for grating ginger, cinnamon sticks and garlic.