broths + soups/ mains + sides/ recipes

Warming Vegan Chana Masala

Warming Vegan Chana Masala | Well and Full

Confession: I never used to like Indian food. Or Thai food, or sushi, or anything except what I was used to eating growing up. The most exotic we ever got in my house was ordering from our local Chinese takeout place down the road. Regarding Indian food, it was a texture thing – I love crisp, crunchy, and drier-leaning foods, so the curries and stews of Indian cuisine didn’t really appeal to me. But I didn’t have my first real experience with it until college, when my friend and his boyfriend asked me if I wanted to order Indian takeout with them. I refrained, imagining those soup-y curries. But when their takeout finally came in, it smelled AMAZING. A tantalizing mix of spices I couldn’t identify, subtle hints of heat on the air mixed with the fragrant scent of basmati rice.

I thought of that experience while I was developing this recipe, sautéing the onions and garlic with the tomatoes, mixing in the curry powder with the cumin and turmeric. The smell coming out of my kitchen was incredible.

It got me to thinking about trying new things and experiencing other cuisines. Food is such an AMAZING gateway to another culture. And if you dive deeper into the history behind various cuisines, you’ll learn even more. For example, the use of spices in India is connected to the Ayurveda, a system of medicine thousands of years old, and the Spice Trade between the East in the West. Kerala, known as the “Spice Garden of India”, was actually the place Columbus was trying to reach in his travels.

But I digress. I maintain that the best way to learn about the world is through traveling, but that’s a something that’s not always available to all people. Next best thing? Trying new foods from different countries or cultures. So if you’ve never tried Indian food before, take it from a former skeptic – you’re going to love this vegan chana masala!

Warming Vegan Chana Masala | Well and FullWarming Vegan Chana Masala | Well and Full

Warming Vegan Chana Masala | Well and Full

Warming Vegan Chana Masala

This vegan chana masala is made with a beautiful medley of spices, anchored by fragrant aromatics. Plus, it comes together in about a half hour!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion diced
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • Juice from 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • Pinch Cayenne
  • Small Handful of Cilantro chopped
  • Basmati Rice for Serving optional


  • Bring a large soup pot to medium heat. Add in the diced sweet onion with a drizzle of olive oil, and sauté until onions are soft - about 7-10 minutes.
  • Then, add in the minced cloves of garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Be sure to watch the garlic so it doesn't brown!
  • Then, add in the diced tomatoes and sauté for another 1-2 minutes, so the flavors can really meld.
  • Add in the vegetable stock, chickpeas, lemon juice, spices, and cilantro, and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer chana masala for 5-10 minutes, so the flavors can meld together.
  • When done, serve in bowls over basmati rice (if desired).
  • Enjoy!

Warming Vegan Chana Masala | Well and Full

Quote of the Day:

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.


  • Reply
    Abby @ Heart of a Baker
    January 24, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I’m just now starting to love Indian food and I’m wondering why it took me so long! I also discovered my husband loves it too, so a win all around :)

    • Reply
      January 24, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      We’ve definitely been missing out, girl!

  • Reply
    Traci | Vanilla And Bean
    January 24, 2017 at 11:10 am

    This is super cozy, Sarah! I adore Indian food, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started making it at home. Growing up in Texas, there was NO opportunity to eat Indian food… meat and potatoes is what I grew up on. So, as an adult I started expanding my inner culture and am SO grateful I stepped out of my box. A squeeze of lemon really ties flavors together! Delicious and mouthwatering photography!

    • Reply
      January 24, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      I grew up on meat and potatoes too, so I definitely understand where you’re coming from. In fact, I can’t think of a single Indian place within 10 miles of my hometown! But it sounds like we’ve both come a long way ;)

  • Reply
    Fernando @ Eating With Your Hands
    January 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    I kinda relate, except for the sushi which was LOVE at first sight. But Indian and Thai is just something that I’ve always had subpar experiences with. Greek food, too. I need to find that exceptional eatery that serves me something that just blows my mind.

    Or maybe these cuisines are something like Persian food, where you just have to visit a family to experience the real thing?

    • Reply
      January 24, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Hmm, good point… home cooked, family meals are always better!! I’m lucky to live near some pretty good Thai places now so that’s definitely changed my viewpoint ;)

  • Reply
    Hana | Nirvana Cakery
    January 24, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    This looks so good Sarah! I practically live on curries and soups in winter, I love Indian spices and food. And speaking of Kerala, the food is out of this world! x

    • Reply
      January 25, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      I’d love to visit India one day!! Kerala is on my list!!

  • Reply
    Kathy Jantzen
    January 25, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Just wondering…can I leave the tomatoes out? Is there something to sub in? Sensitive to nightshades and really would love to make this recipe! Thank you <3

    • Reply
      January 25, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Hmmmm…. maybe instead of tomatoes you could just add more broth? I’m not exactly sure how it would taste, but you can’t go wrong with onions + garlic + spices! If you give it a try, let me know how it works out! :D

  • Reply
    October 10, 2018 at 3:01 am

    My hubby made this for me and must be blind to the word garlic, he used 2 cloves.
    I at it because i dont like waste but damn, my taste buds are only just gettong over that :)
    Making properly myself this morning. It smells lovely, so easy x

    • Reply
      October 10, 2018 at 11:12 am

      I’m so glad you liked the recipe, Michaela!! Thanks so much for leaving a note :)

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