Chana Masala – Chickpea Curry with Red Bell Pepper. Vegan Glutenfree Mofo Recipe

Vegan Chana Masala - Chickpea Curry with Red Bell Pepper



More Chana Masala you say. Well, there cannot be enough chickpea curries right. Chickpeas in any Indian gravy are called Chana masala. This version has no onions, but tomatoes and red bell pepper, and black pepper instead of green or red chili. Mofo post 3!

Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans contain about 12.5 grams of fiber per cup. That’s 50% of the Daily Value (DV). They contain small but valuable amounts of conventional antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, and also contain more concentrated supplies of antioxidant phytonutrients. They help lower our LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. That small bean packs a punch.
The chickpeas in the pictures are Chinoli chickpeas. These are smaller chickpeas which Mom got from local vendors in my home town in India. They are sturdier than the big white ones, so they retain their shape after cooking. You can use any chickpeas for this chana masala. These days I find both the white kabuli chickpeas and smaller black/brown chickpeas, all organic in whole foods and other stores.

Here are a few more Chana masalas
The most frequently cooked version of Chana Masala.
The Sweet and sour onion and tamarind version
And more bean/lentil soups and curries here.

Vegan Chickpea Curry | VeganRicha

Oh well, the Wednesday post got delayed because of the long weekend!

I have been working on My Vegan journey and FAQ page since months now and haven’t hit publish because I think it needs more information. I think will publish it in a few days and keep adding questions, answers and links later as I collect them, as there is always going to be more information we learn every day :)

From my brain to blog Wednesday ~~ 

The most frequently asked question next to the nutrition questions about the plant-based diet, is how exactly to start the transition.

You can do it whichever way you like, do it Cold Tofu, stop eating all animal products that you know of, or do a gradual transition. We did it gradually and I think it is less overwhelming than figuring everything out in a day. 

* Start with a few important/frequently used ingredients at a time. Find the substitutes available. Try all substitutes to find the ones that work for you. Sometimes some subs work in certain recipes while some in other. It is a trial and error process.

* Find vegan versions of some of meals or dishes that you eat frequently. If you dont already cook, pick up on cooking a few. :) It sounds daunting, but with the easy availability of substitutes, ready sauces/dips for pastas or sandwiches, it is simple enough to try. Also keep 
a list of restaurants with vegan options when experimenting. You shouldn’t need to go hungry. 

* It is possible to feel lost because all the vegan jargon and new ingredients. Hello, nutritional yeast, lentils, quinoa, millet etc. Stick to subbing out the meals and ingredients you know and pick up the jargon later.

Ask food bloggers, ask in vegan forums. Ask about substitutions, about recipes. About anything. Ask about cookbooks which suit your eating style. Ask nicely and everyone will help!

* Keep a supply of snacks or meals with you when travelling or visiting, until you can figure out how to manage travel, or how to manage visiting friends and family who are not vegan. 

Don’t be discouraged by slips, or by people making fun of you, or by people from the vegan community itself judging you for taking so long to transition. for not knowing things etc.

* It takes some time to figure out answers and solutions. No one is perfect. Remember why you chose to be vegan in the first place. Hubbs and me are vegan for the animals. and be it not getting across to people making me feel low, or people judging me or enticing me or anything, a simple thought of why I have made this choice gets things back on track.

We did a gradual transition over months. When I decided to go plant-based, I was cooking only some of the everyday meals in the house and was not inclined to eat restaurant food more than once a week. So it depended on a mutual collaboration with hubbs for the diet change. We eliminated the meats, cheese  and dairy/eggs in meals in one day. Lunch and dinner were in my hands, so I could do that. It took us a while to eliminate eggs from breakfast as hubbs used to make breakfast then. My balance just dint work well in the mornings. After I took some of the breakfast duties over, I helped hubbs pick up(on cooking) some of the indian breakfasts which are by default vegan.  

The milk in the morning tea also took time. Because milk is what we drank as is or in tea or other ways while growing up. We ate cheese or meat only occasionally if ever, hence making it easier to eliminate or sub them. We just eliminated them and found subs later.  So after trying a couple of subs for chai, we finally decided on the taste change with almond milk + creamer and then done. 

These are just a few of my thoughts. I hope they can help in some way. :) all of these Wednesday blabs will eventually end up on the FAQ page. 

What are some of your tips for anyone starting a transition to a plant-based diet?

Chana Masala – Chickpea curry with Red bell pepper.

Allergen Information: Free of dairy, egg, corn, soy, yeast, nut, gluten, grain.

Serves 2-4

1 teaspoon oil
1/2 red bell pepper chopped small
1 inch ginger chopped (can be substituted with ginger paste)
5-6 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped (can be substituted with garlic paste)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
pinch of asafetida(hing) – optional
1 teaspoon Chana Masala spice blend or garam masala
3 medium tomatoes, chopped small
1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas washed and drained or 1 cup dry chickpeas soaked overnight and pressure cooked for 4-5 whistles, or cooked in slow cooker.
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a pressure cooker or deep pan, add oil and heat on medium.
Add red bell pepper and cook until lightly brown on the edges.
Add in the ginger garlic and cook for a minute.
Add in the spices, asofetida, chana masala blend and mix well.
Add in the tomatoes and cook on medium low, partially covered with occasional stirring till tomatoes are tender and mushy.(10-15 minutes)
Mash the tomatoes lightly, then add the cooked chickpeas, black pepper and salt and 1.5 cups water.
Pressure cook for 2 whistles.
Or cover and cook at low-medium heat, until chickpeas are easily mash-able. Add more water if needed.
Let the pressure cooker release pressure by itself(5 minutes). Adjust salt. Add more chana masala blend and chili powder/black pepper per taste. Mix well.
Serve hot topped with chopped onions, lemon wedges, cilantro and Rotis/Naans/Basmati Rice/quinoa or as is bowl of soup.

This Chana masala is being shared at rickis wellness weekend, Allergy Free Wednesdays and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

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  1. says

    I love the ‘regular’ chana masala, so 8 might give this a try :-)
    those are some very good tips for going vegan and making the transition. I think learning new things never stops, and I kinda like that :-)

  2. says

    Girl, I am soooo with you on the “there can never be too many chickpea curries” comment!

    This channa masala looks super delicious. Totally fits your Comfort Foods theme! :)

  3. says

    love channa:) any which way! we gave up meat when our daughter, as a toddler, joined up the dots between the cute lambs in the fields and the meat on her plate. She pushed her plate away with a resounding “no”, and we realised she was right! My brother came and emptied my freezer of all the joints of meat, and that was that! I didn’t buy a meat substitute until my daughter was at school, and her friends decided that they couldn’t come to tea because they didn’t eat vegetarian foods. I said, don’t you eat burgers chips and beans, they said yes, I bought veggie burgers, life went on. Even now, years later, I still buy the occasional pack of sausages – why not? Enjoy the variety, hurt no animals:)

  4. says

    Keep the curries coming! I want to scoop them all up.

    Good info on transitioning to a plant-based diet. I think a lot of people don’t even try it because they think eating/cooking vegan is “too hard” or will “take too long” (to make meals). So not true! But it takes some work, effort, and experience – and good support from vegan bloggers like you!

  5. says

    I love chickpeas in anything so this is perfect 😉
    And I’m happy that my husband is finally embracing Indian flavours and spices – so this will be perfect 😉
    Because now we all know the superfood power of turmeric! 😉

  6. says

    Quick and easy channa masala. I guess this will taste just as good in samosa chaats too!!

    Good read about transitioning to a plant-based diet. Mine was all too sudden but the first choice during transition was Almond milk and I don’t think I can go back to non-vegan stuff anymore. It is hard for people to understand the true essence of being a vegan and I definitely don’t want to look like I am forcing anyone to convert to one. I wish people realize the passion behind it and change for the better.

  7. says

    Chana Masala!!!! My favorite. I love it with garlicky rice. I just bought a jarred chickpeas today at the grocery in Spain…and I’m thinking of making a chickpea “tuna” salad, and now this, I would love to do some curry-based dish with chickpeas! I prefer smaller chickpeas, but that’s cool that they have a name for that. Thanks for the wonderful recipe, Richa!

  8. says

    I LOVE channa masala.

    I know many people who stopped eating meat and dairy products after watch the movie, Forks over knives…

    Neary 100 years ago Mahatma Gandhi vowed not to drink cow’s milk after he came to know about the cruel procedure “Doom Dev” endured by the cows to produce more milk.

    Thanks to youtube, just type, ” youtube oxytocin india” in google, you will come across so many heart-wrenching videos of innocent dairy cows.

    people will not have the urge to drink milk and eat paneer after reading and seeing horrible conditions of dairy cows…

  9. says

    Sure, I am going to echo what everybody says about how much they love chickpeas and curries but the curry on the blue table cloth just makes this more mouthwatering. Lovely!

  10. says

    Question for you, Richa: I’m allergic to tomatoes (and onions). I’ve been dying for some chana masala. It’s one of my favorite foods. Any suggestions to use instead of the tomatoes? I’ve been doing peaches in a lot of recipes that call for a little bit of tomato.

    • says

      no tomatoes would be interesting. You can try roasted red peppers instead of the tomatoes. Add a bit of vinegar for the tang. let me know how that turns out


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