Food/ Main Dishes/ Vegetarian

Vegetarian Chickpea Curry With Coconut Milk

Bamboo bowl of Vegetarian Chickpea Curry.

Vegetarian Chickpea Curry in pan.


In the past few weeks we’ve had some really damn cold evenings. It’s funny; my mom will often text me from Canada to let me know it’s colder here in North Carolina than it is up North. Our winters aren’t comparable at all, and I’ll take an NC winter over a sloppy miserable Southern Ontario winter ANY day. But now more than ever, it’s been the perfect time to curl up with this cozy and warming chickpea curry with coconut milk.

This dish was born a few years ago out of a desperate attempt to offer a vegetarian Friendsgiving protein for my non-meat eaters. It turned out to be a smashing success—even for those piling turkey onto their plates—and a few of us continue to make it on the reg.

Vegetarian Chickpea Curry With Coconut Milk.

Curries come in many forms. For this one, I wanted something hearty and substantial—not soupy. I also wanted to keep the recipe simple with minimal and accessible ingredients, and little prep and cooking time. This belly-warming dish was inspired by Chana Masala, a North Indian dish that brings together chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, coriander seed, garlic, chiles, and ginger.

If you’re a fan of chickpeas in general, you need this chickpea curry in your life. It’ll fill you up without weighing you down and, the best part, is you can make it ahead of time. The leftovers are delicious, if not better since the flavors get a chance to mingle and get to know one another.

Bamboo bowl of Vegetarian Chickpea Curry.

Bamboo bowl of Vegetarian Chickpea Curry.

This makes for a beauty side, but it also serves as a main. You can eat it on it’s own, serve it with some warm naan, or pile it over a fluffy mountain of basmati rice :)

If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3

Want to warm up with some other curries? Check these out!

Vegetarian Chickpea Curry With Coconut Milk

Vegetarian Chickpea Curry With Coconut Milk

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
This belly-warming Vegetarian Chickpea Curry With Coconut Milk is the perfect cozy dish for cool nights! Makes for a great side dish or main.


  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced red or yellow onion
  • 1 TBSP freshly grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15 oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 heaping handfuls of spinach, torn or roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 TBSP concentrated Indian curry paste (mild, medium, or hot—whatever your preference!)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt, more to taste if needed


  1. Heat oil in a skillet over moderate heat.
  2. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic. Simmer until fragrant, stirring often to prevent browning; about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chickpeas and drained tomatoes. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the torn up spinach and cook until it's wilted down. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may want to add one handful at a time.
  5. Add the coconut milk, curry paste, curry powder, turmeric (if using), and salt. Stir until the paste has dissolved and the seasonings have mixed in well. This may take about 2-3 minutes of constant stirring and folding.
  6. Let the curry simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove from heat and serve with warm naan, pitas, rice, or on its own.
Pin Image with text—Bamboo bowl of Vegetarian Chickpea Curry.

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  • Reply
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    February 14, 2019 at 2:30 pm […] curries are your jam, you need this Thai Coconut Fish Curry With Kabocha Squash and this Vegetarian Chickpea Curry With Coconut Milk in your life. OR. Bring your sandwich game up a few notches with this Healthy Curry Chicken Salad […]
  • Reply
    February 2, 2019 at 2:46 pm This looks so good. Can I make ahead and freeze?
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      February 2, 2019 at 3:34 pm Thanks Margie! And yes! This should hold up in the freezer just fine.
  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 11:33 am These photos are so tempting! I love chickpeas, and I especially love dishes where chickpeas are the primary ingredient. They're so hearty and satisfying without making you feel like you've eaten something heavy. I've never had a chickpea curry, and I feel like this is a gigantic void in my cooking rotation after reading this recipe! Those wonderful spices with the coconut milk must be so good with the chickpeas (and I love that you can choose your level of heat!). Will be making this one soon!
  • Reply
    Marisa Franca
    December 10, 2018 at 1:09 pm If it's one thing we never run out of is chickpeas! We love them and are always trying to find new ways to use them. Your Vegetarian chickpea curry sounds so tasty and what a great idea for a meatless meal. Love the recipe.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2018 at 10:05 am Oh yeah! I'm always up for a chickpea curry loaded with vegetables! I always have a ton of vegetables on hand (because I'm a produce hoarder LOL), so a dish like this gets made in my kitchen at least twice a month. Looks like I'll have to be trying your recipe...thanks for sharing! :)
  • Reply
    December 10, 2018 at 12:20 am Colder in NC than in Canada?! Now that's just WRONG. But this chickpea curry - oh my gosh thank you! I've been trying to think of new ways to eat more vegetarian that my husband (the carnivore) will love AND I was just looking at a bunch of chickpeas. Pinning this for later!
  • Reply
    December 9, 2018 at 11:09 pm This sounds so flavorful and tasty! What a great filling meal, and so easy for a weeknight dinner. I would love to try this out, and I love the coconut milk touch, makes it sound so rich and yummy!
  • Reply
    December 8, 2018 at 6:18 pm I'm always looking for inventive ways to use chickpeas, and this curry sounds amazing. It's also a bonus that it's made with coconut milk because I have a hard time digesting dairy. Beautiful photographs, too!

  • Reply
    December 7, 2018 at 10:51 pm I never would have thought to serve a curry at a Friendsgiving, but the flavorful marriage of the spices probably brings a welcomed profile to the table. Thanksgiving dishes can always feel so similar, that this curry breaks up the monotony very well. I've never been a fan of soupy curries, so this recipe is perfect for me! Just hand me this and some garlic naan and I'm one happy lady!
  • Reply
    December 7, 2018 at 12:40 pm I've recently started making simple chickpea curries at home whenever I'm looking for something warm and cozy to eat. I almost always have a can of chickpeas in my pantry. This is the perfect curry to dig into on a cold winter day. Which brand of paste do you use/prefer?

    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      December 12, 2018 at 4:25 pm Hey Carmy! I use Patak's. I need to hunt down an Indian market in this area and see what kind of pastes they have, but I've found that Patak's offers up a really great flavor.
  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 11:32 pm This was delicious - made it tonight for dinner! Could you give me some guidance on Curry paste? I've never used it before and wasn't sure what to buy. I've seen it in a couple of your recipes.
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      December 7, 2018 at 3:00 pm Hi Ilana! I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I'm happy to guide you however I can with curry pastes! There are different kinds, which can definitely get confusing. For Indian-inspired dishes, the best one you can find at your run-of-the-mill grocery store is Patak's (So you can see the bottle: If you have an Indian market near you, you could definitely get something authentic there. For Thai-inspired dishes, I highly recommend Maesri or Mae Ploy. You should be able to find those in any East or Southeast Asian market. Mayyyybe the grocery store. The easiest grab at most grocery stores seems to be Thai Kitchen, but I'd leave that for a last resort. I hope this helps!
      • Reply
        December 10, 2018 at 4:19 pm Thanks so much! I found Patak's Madras Curry paste at the supermarket and used that.
  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 9:04 am Girrrrrrl, this dinner is my JAM! I'm in love with all things curry AND 30 minutes or less. I would have been one very happy friend at that Friendsgiving. I'm popping this on my to-make list!
  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 8:49 am What a hearty and warm meal for a cold winter's evening! The colors are vibrant and your dish sounds so flavorful. Can't wait to try it! Pinned and yummed so I have the recipe for later.
  • Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 4:56 pm I was just thinking about what to make for dinner tonight and came across your post. I've checked my pantry and I have everything, but spinach for this luscious looking curry. I'm wondering if I could substitute kale for the spinach, if I blanched and drained it first. Think it would be ok?

    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      December 5, 2018 at 6:09 pm Hey Lisa! I totally think that would work. I often swap one for the other in soups and curries. Let me know how it goes!
  • Reply
    December 3, 2018 at 10:46 pm Love how quick and simple this is. I would definitely make this during the busy week and be so happy to have left overs for lunch the next day. I'm always looking for more one pot healthy meals that are vegetarian, yet offer complete nutrition. Wonderful recipe.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2018 at 2:12 pm I happen to always have chickpeas in the cupboard. What a great "meatless" meal. We love curries of all kinds. Coconut milk makes them so delicious. I need to give this delicious recipe a try soon. I know hubby would love it too.

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