This quick and easy version of the popular Indian dish Chana Masala, requires just one pan and about 20 min. A delicious blend of Chickpeas, Onion, Tomatoes and Indian spices (easily sourced at your local grocer). Vegan, naturally gluten-free and “clean eating”.
O.K. confession…I’m a huge Chana Masala fan, in fact it’s one of my favorite Indian dishes. Too many great Indian dishes to choose just one favorite (Tikka Masala, Tandoori Chicken, Saag Paneer, etc.) I’ve always assumed it was one of those dishes that just wasn’t going to taste the same if I tried to make it at home. Or that it was going to require lots of specialty spices that were hard to find, so quite frankly it’s just never been on my radar to try to make myself.
That is until now. I was coaxed by the lovey photos and the promise of preparing this meal in under 30 min. by my beloved Clean Eating Magazine. They’ve put together a special issue “Dinner in 30 min.” and I’m cooking my way through the issue. (What is clean eating? The gist is – consuming foods the way nature delivered them. No processed or refined foods..it’s more a lifestyle approach and not a diet. It most mirrors my own ideas of “healthy eating”. You can read more about it on the Clean Eating site if you are interested).
Any hoo…YUM! This Chana Masala was so easy, delicious and a lot less expensive than ordering Indian take out. All the warm, spicy Indian flavors mingling with chickpeas, tomatoes and spinach. You can prepare this dish in just one big skillet in about 20 min. I was able to find all the necessary spices at my local grocery store, no specialty store needed.
Chana Masala is both hot and spicy but you can easily tame it down to whatever fits your taste palate. (just reduce or increase the chile peppers, or add some cayenne pepper if you're really brave)
A bit of a chameleon…Chana Masala can be served with warm pita or naan bread. But there is SO much more you can do with Chana Masala. I recognize a few of these will definitely stretch the limits of “conventional” but hey..why not!? This stuff is just so darn tasty on just about everything.
My list of ways to enjoy Chana Masala (and yes, they’ve all been tried- a lot!)
1. With warm pita or naan bread
2. Over basmati rice (or cauliflower rice)
The Slightly unconventional:
3. Over a baked russet or sweet potato (with a dollop of Raita (cucumber,mint yogurt sauce) or plain Greek yogurt)
4. As an open face sandwich. Toast a piece of bread( crusty artisan is especially good) and pile high with warm Chana Masala (garnish with some fresh cilantro)
5. In lettuce cups. The contrast of cool lettuce cups and the warm, spicy Chana Masala is to die for! (especially with Raita)
6. As a dip-with tortilla scoops, pita chips or your favorite crackers
The Huh? You did what with Chana Masala?:
7. As the filling for an egg white omelet, or over the top of fried eggs
The Whoa! Pure Bliss:
8. # 4 above with a fried (or over easy) egg on top!
Make a big batch, this keeps really well in the refrigerator for a few days. Not to mention, it also makes a great weekday “take to work lunch”. It’s just as good cold as it is warm. (IMO)
Recipe inspired by Clean Eating Magazine (Dinner in 30 - Special Fall Edition 2014 pg. 60)
Quick and Easy Chana Masala
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic smashed
- 2 dried red chiles roughly broken into pieces (adjust to taste) (or 1 Serano green chili,minced)
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 cans 15oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 large tomatoes finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 6 cups loosely packed fresh spinach leaves
- sea salt to taste
- Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add garlic, chiles,garam masala, coriander, cumin, ginger and turmeric and cook ,stirring constantly for approx. 30 seconds (until fragrant). Add onion and cook until lightly browned (approx. 5 min.)
- Add chickpeas, tomatoes and lemon juice and continue to cook until tomatoes release juice and mixture comes to a boil.(approx. 5 min.).
- Add spinach ,stir occasionally, until slightly wilted. (approx. 1-2 min.).
- Salt to taste. Serve with warmed pita or naan bread, or over basmati rice or a baked potato (russet or sweet)
- * for more of a tomato base and slightly "soupier" consistency, substitute 1 can (15oz.) whole peeled tomatoes with their juices. (chopped small)