Weekday Dinner – Accidentally Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry Recipe

When we started SALT&CHILL back in June, our aim was to give people the chance to create amazing and tasty dishes every day of the week that would only take 30 to 45 minutes to prepare without missing in flavour – let me just say, this coconut chickpea curry ticks all the boxes we could ever have thought of.

You’d think that to make this you’d have to plan in advance to get all the ingredients but truth be told, once you get hold of the spices (which are good to have anyway), this only requires cupboard ingredients. In fact, the day we first made this we were really quite desperate as we didn’t have much food left in the fridge (which seems to be happening more and more frequently…).

We paired this with brown rice, but any kind of rice will work just fine!

vegan coconut chickpea curry bowl with coriander and lime and brown rice

Vegan Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Brown Rice

An easy, rich in flavour curry ready in 30'
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Steaming for the Rice 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2 Servings


  • Chef's Knife
  • Dutch Oven


Fort the Vegan Curry

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 inch ginger (2.5cm approximately; minced)
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 400 gr plum tomatoes (14oz can)
  • 400 gr chickpeas (14oz can; drained and washed)
  • 400 ml coconut milk (14oz can)
  • 1/2 lime (juiced)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Chopped coriander (to garnish)

For the Brown Rice

  • 1 cup brown rice (washed and drained)
  • 1/2 tsp salt


For the Brown Rice

  • Start by measuring a cup of brown rice and rinse it thoroughly. Add to a pot of salted, boiling water and let it cook uncovered for 20 minutes (or until cooked – look at the instructions on your pack as they vary from brand to brand)
  • Drain the cooked rice and put back in the pot. Cover and let it steam for 10 minutes.

For the Vegan Curry

  • While the rice cooks, let's take care of the curry. Start by heating up the vegetable oil and dicing the onion. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and let it cook for approximately 10 minutes or until it's soft.
  • While the onion sweats, mince the garlic and ginger. Add to the onion when it's ready and let it cook for 1 minute.
  • Add turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper and black pepper and let the spices toast for 1 minute.
  • Add the canned plum tomatoes (including the juices) and crush them. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and the washed chickpeas as well. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 minutes on a medium-low heat. Adjust with salt if needed.
  • By this time, the rice should be cooked and steamed – the curry is ready to be served! Add some chopped coriander on top.
Keyword Curry, Spices, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

An ode to curry

Jake briefly talked about it when making another vegan Indian curry. For how much we love curry, we are very aware that this is far from being authentic. We don’t even make our own Garam Masala!

What I can say though, it’s that this coconut chickpea curry proved to be an excellent weekday dinner recipe, as it’s quick, tasty, healthy, and holds well for the next-day lunch. While you can indeed make this spicy hot, the secret of this tasty recipe is in the flavour of the spices. The subtle cinnamon in the garam masala, the turmeric, the zingy ginger, and then the sweetness of the coconut milk. I think of this curry as the essence of comfort food. Like a lasagna, but healthier.

bowl of vegan coconut chickpea curry with coriander and brown rice, with half a lime and coriander on the back

Is this coconut chickpea curry the best vegan curry ever existed?

Maybe I’m exaggerating just a tiny bit. Or maybe not, you’ll be the judge of that. Now, if you’re impressed with this coconut chickpea curry but you still feel that meat would work better… I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think the same thing. We still have to try and recreate this as a non vegan recipe, but we will soon try it.

For me, a recipe is a success when we end up either making it again the same week or when we actively consider doing so. In this case, we did both. The day we made this curry, it was just enough for 2 portions. There comes the next day, and while trying to decide what to have for dinner, we briefly considered making this again, but we had no coconut milk left. Fast forward to a couple of days after, we both had a long day at work, it was pushing 8pm and I was just starting to think what could we do and trying to resist the temptation of takeout food. But then, the sign I was waiting for: a hidden can of coconut milk. And so we made it again. And it was great.

On top of that, this is a very healthy alternative that doesn’t taste like healthy food, which is the absolute magic of using spices. I’m pretty sure the second time we made this, we forgot to add salt. And honestly, we did not miss it at all.

And finally, it’s vegan. Now, I’m not gonna give a lecture on vegan food because I’m not the right person to do so. I’m not even vegan in the first place. But, I really do want to emphasise the importance of being careful about the amount of meat we consume as an environmental act – as I mentioned in others posts, cutting on meat is one of my ongoing objectives to help the environment (I have more as part of my Ecologi subscription).

If you can’t or won’t give up on meat, we’re in the same boat. But pay attention to the provenance of the meat you buy: the best way to do so is to buy as local as possible and giving priority to a local butcher rather than a big supermarket chain. It’s just a tad more expensive, but it does make the difference.