Coconut Chickpea Curry (Vegan & Gluten Free)

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

This Creamy Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry is the BEST curry I’ve ever had! It’s our go-to weeknight dinner. All made in one pot, incredibly flavourful, perfect for meal prep & budget-friendly!

Coconut chickpea curry in two plates bird eye view with rice and lime slices.

The best kind of recipes are the ones that you keep making over and over until you finally realise – this is one of my favourite recipes, isn’t it?! That’s this Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry. Without a doubt, we always have all the ingredients for it in our pantry, it’s incredibly easy to make, and a hit every single time. This is the ultimate pantry staple meal. Let’s get right into it!

Overhead shot of coconut chickpea curry in a pot with lime slices on top in a closeup shot.

Notes on the Ingredients

Chickpeas – chickpeas are the star here. They add fibre, protein, texture and keep the curry filling. I wouldn’t recommend substituting this since its the base.

Tomatoes, onion and garlic – these veggies are the base of your curry and really add a depth of flavour.  If you don’t like tomatoes, you won’t distinctly taste them. However you can substitute them for some substitutes I list in “your questions answered” below.

Coconut milk – coconut milk adds the creaminess to this curry that makes the sauce so smooth too. I recommend using canned.

Garam Masala – this is the main seasoning blend in this recipe! If you can’t find it, you can make your own. 

Additional Seasonings – these extra seasonings are very simple and really highlight the garam Masala and the chickpea curry. 

Lime – ah yes, our other star ingredient! The juice of a lime stirred into the dish enhances the flavour in such a way that you have to just try this dish for yourself to experience it. Do not skip this step, it really brings everything together.

Coconut chickpea curry in two plates side angle view with rice and lime slices with the pot in the background.

How to Make Coconut Chickpea Curry 

This chickpea curry takes only a few steps. First, you sauté the onion and the tomatoes together. We’ve found that this step really helps to develop the flavours of the dish and break them all down for the seasonings later. Then, add in your seasonings and your drained and rinsed chickpeas. Stir, and add in your coconut milk. Let it simmer, then add in the lime. That’s it. It’s no wonder that this dish is constantly in our fridge!  

While the cooking process is simple, the flavours developed are out of this world. One pot, stewing together flavours and spices and the most effort you have to make is to cut up the ingredients. I want a plate alongside some of my homemade naan just thinking about it!!

Tips for making this the Best Chickpea Curry

  • Always use the lime. If there’s one tip I always mention for this recipe, is to always use the lime. It really brings out the layers of flavour in the dish and is an essential part of the recipe!
  • Follow the instruction times. Sautéing the veggies makes a real difference to the end product, so I recommend just setting a time and letting it simmer away. 
  • Make it your own. This is one of those dishes that once you follow the base ingredients well, you can make the dish your own. Add in sweet potatoes, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots…it’s up to you. Just adjust the seasonings for the additions! I love using up extra veggies and adding them into this dish.  

Long story short – You have to try this dish! It’s creamy, delicious, and will leave you wanting even more after you’re completely full. It’s also incredibly nutritious, protein-packed, and leftovers last for days and also perfect for meal prep! Whether it’s for meal prep lunch or dinner, this actually freezes well and lasts for a long time fresh in the freezer.

Top down shot of coconut chickpea curry in a pot with lime slices on top.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Q: Can I substitute the tomatoes in this curry?

A: If you’re not a tomato fan, you won’t taste them. They blend right in and help with the thickness of the curry and all that flavour. If you’re allergic, you can in fact substitute them with pumpkin puree, or a butternut squash puree or something of the sort. It won’t taste exactly the same, but will give it that beautiful creamy texture!

Q: What goes well with this chickpea curry?

A: Any of the above veggies – make it your own! I also love serving this curry with basmati rice and/or naan bread.

More Amazing Vegan Curry Recipes

Enjoy friends! If you make this Coconut Chickpea Curry, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!

Creamy Coconut Chickpea Curry

This Creamy Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry is the BEST curry recipe I’ve ever tried! All made in one pot, this easy vegan curry is incredibly flavorful, perfect for meal prep, budget-friendly, and one of our go-to weeknight dinners!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large red onion or yellow onion diced
  • 14 ounces fresh or canned tomatoes diced (400g)
  • sea salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 16 ounces canned chickpeas drained & rinsed (454g)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons garam masala – I use this one
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder I use this one
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 13.5 ounces canned coconut milk* (383g)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour OPTIONAL**
  • 1 small lime juice of
Instructions

Instructions

  • In a deep pot over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil.
  • Add in the onions and tomatoes. Grind some sea salt and ground black pepper over the mixture and stir together. Lower heat to medium and allow to cook down until juices of the tomatoes are naturally released and onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add in the chickpeas, garlic, garam masala, curry powder and cumin. Stir to combine.
  • Add in the coconut milk and stir again. Add in the coconut flour which helps to slightly thicken the curry. Bring the curry to a boil, and then reduce to medium-low so that the mixture continues to simmer for 10 to 12 more minutes.
  • Taste the curry and season with salt and pepper if you desire. Remove the curry from the heat and squeeze a lime lightly over the top of the curry, stirring to combine. Don’t skip this step!! Allow to cool slightly and then serve. Enjoy!

Video

NOTES
Notes:
This recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
I’ve been asked this MANY times – this is the curry powder I use! It’s my favourite!
*Many readers have asked and yes you can definitely use reduced-fat coconut milk! You can even use boxed coconut milk if those calories suit you better.
** The coconut flour is optional and up to you! You can also use any other gluten-free flour you have on hand to thicken it, I just loved this flavour the most. You also don’t need to thicken it if you don’t want to, we skip it all the time.
WW POINTS: 6 with reduced fat coconut milk, 12 with regular (natural occurring sugar from tomatoes)
HOW TO STORE:You can store this curry in an air-tight tupperware container in the fridge for up a week. It’s an excellent candidate for freezing and can be stored in the freezer for up to a month.
 
A FEW NOTES:
1. This curry lasts for at least 5 days in the fridge as leftovers.
2. You can serve with whole wheat naan bread, basmati rice, or even crispy tortilla chips.
3. I substituted a can of chickpeas in the recipe for ease, but if you want you can buy dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, and then boiled until soft in replacement.
4. If you don’t have coconut flour, you can use regular flour if you’re not gluten-free.
TO ADD HEAT:
1. Crushed red pepper flakes: I would start with 1/4 teaspoon in the beginning so that that gets heated up with everything else. Taste and you can always add another 1/4 teaspoon.
2. Harissa paste: if you have a harissa or chili paste, you can stir a little in before the simmer part so that it can heat up with everything. Even sriracha can work.
3. Lastly, and my favourite, scotch bonnet pepper sauce which adds flavours and lots of heat. A few drops right before simmer again, and you can taste and decide whether you want to add more.
 
Chickpea Recipes Around the World
Spaghetti Squash and Chickpea Meatballs by Nutrition Stripped
Broccoli, Chickpea and Avocado Pita Sandwiches by Cookie & Kate

Nutrition

Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 28.5g | Protein: 7.3g | Fat: 9.4g | Sodium: 184.8mg | Sugar: 8.1g
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating




591 comments

  1. KHM says:

    5 stars
    So good. If the rice is done and the veggies are par cooked, this comes together so fast.

    Thanks!

  2. Michelle Duke says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is perfect as-is but so easy to customize and use up veggies in your fridge/freezer! I recently made it and added broccoli, red bell pepper, spinach, and carrots and added some harissa for extra heat.

  3. Colleen says:

    5 stars
    This is the first recipe I tried from Jessica In the Kitchen and I LOVE it. It really is so quick. We make it every other week. I usually add baked broccoli (which does extend the time) and mushrooms as well. So. Good. A couple weeks ago we cooked for my mother in law who is very not vegan and she just requested that we make it again the next time we see her! That’s quite the complement. I love this lady’s recipes!

  4. Jessica McManus says:

    5 stars
    I have made this so many times. Easy, healthy and most importantly: do delicious!

  5. Rivka says:

    5 stars
    Ok, so I’ve never actually written a recipe review on any site before (only read loads of them!). Had to comment on this one though. It was quick to make and absolutely delicious. Even my 18 year old meat loving son smelled it simmering from down the hall and came to see what was cooking…He devoured it and proclaimed it fantastic! Didn’t have lime:( but I gave it a splash of apple cider vinegar for an acidic hit. Thanks, this will become a definite “go to” dinner recipe!

  6. Vanessa says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight, and I’m in love! I added green bell pepper and spinach too. The only question I have, are the chickpeas supposed to be crunchy still?
    I can’t wait to have it for lunch tomorrow. Lol

  7. Dawn says:

    5 stars
    New keeper, thanks!

  8. Lisa says:

    5 stars
    I make this curry at least once a week. One daughter is vegetarian, the other a meat eater. My whole family loves this, including my husband who usually requests a chicken breast with everything. It smells good, tastes great and comes together so quickly. I add spinach if I have it and naan if I have some around too. This ia a winner1!

  9. 5 stars
    This is PERFECT for meal prep! Its so easy and most of all delicious… curry is new to me and this has 100% made me want to make more curries but this one is so good I might just make it on repeat…

  10. Mona Temchin says:

    5 stars
    A delicious variation on the chickpea and coconut milk theme (familiar to vegans and vegtarians). I don’t keep tomatoes around much, as they seem to make my joints ache. So I used cooked butternut squash as the base instead of tomatoes. (Butternut squash can be easily cooked whole in a slow cooker, about 4 hours on high). I added a small amount of sriracha for heat. Had no lime, so used lemon. Served over brown basmati rice with some naan on the side. Yummy and satisfying meal. I did need to add a fair amount of sea salt for seasoning.

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