A tasty veggie main or used as a delicious side

Try this lovely chickpea curry, chana masala, as one of your meat-free meals.

  • SERVES: 4
  • PREP TIME: 15 mins
  • COOK TIME:  45 – 60 mins
  • DIFFICULTY: easy

Chana masala

Also known as chole masala, channay, chholay.

But whatever you prefer to call it, it’s a great dish to have up your sleeve.

It’s a popular curry in India, where it’s sold on the streets.

As well as eaten from breakfast to evening.

And the best part, it’s cheap, nutritious, easy to make, meat-free and tastes fab.

In this recipe, I added spinach to give a little green to the dish and get more veggies in the mix.

Chana masala with spinach


I always have my larder stocked with pasta, tinned tomatoes, onions, beans, grains and seeds.

Then I know when our cupboards are low, I can still rustle something up.

And put off a shop for another day.

But I have realised over time, as with most things, quality equals taste.

So, if you have dried beans, which require overnight soaking, they will taste better.

Personally, I usually forget to do the overnight so I crack open a tin of whatever it is I need.

But now I do look a little harder for tinned food that does actually taste better.

And yes, I realise, there is a cost associated with that.

So, I’m not suggesting you by Harrods-own brand to show ‘quality’.

But some things such as chickpeas, are often far superior if you upgrade.

And often deli’s will have a good selection.

Chana masala with spinach


  • 3 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of coriander seeds
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 25g of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • ¼ tsp of ground turmeric pinch of cayenne pepper, or chilli flakes
  • 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium tomato, skinned and chopped
  • 1 tbsp of tomato purée
  • 500ml of just-boiled water
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 1 tsp of cornflour
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil finely chopped coriander leaves, to serve (optional)
  • Salt & black pepper


  1. Heat a large pan (with sides) to toast the cumin and coriander seeds in (don’t add oil, just dry fry) over medium heat for a minute or until you can smell the spices.
  2. Then grind in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Next, add vegetable oil into the pan over medium-low heat and fry the onion for 15 mins until soft.
  4. Once done, add the ground spices to the onion with the garlic and ginger and fry for a few more minutes.
  5. Add the chickpeas, tomato, tomato purée, hot water,1.5 teaspoons of salt and a generous grind of black pepper.
  6. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45-60 mins, or until the chickpeas are soft (you may need to add another cup of hot water if the chickpeas look a bit dry).
  7. Season, if necessary, then stir through the cornflour and add the spinach.
  8. Cook for a few more minutes for the sauce to thicken and the spinach to cook.
  9. Then take off the heat and finish with the extra virgin olive oil.
  10. Serve it with flatbreads, rice, or a fresh chopped salad.

If you’re looking for more meat-free recipes.

Then check out my Meat-free Mondaypage.

Recipe inspired by: Ripe Figs