In less than 45 minutes, you’ll have this rich, creamy, coconut-flavored chickpea spinach curry on your plate! This Indian-inspired curry is vegan, loaded with spinach, vegetables & squash. Grab your naan or basmati rice, because it’s a good one!
I’m a big fan of Indian cuisine.
I find a lot of the flavors, textures, and spices are very similar to what I grew up enjoying in my Jamaican household. We ate a lot of spicy curries with fresh spices all the time, so it’s no wonder I had to make my own vegan curry.
This recipe came way as a quick meal prep when I was running short on time & needed something nutritious and hearty to take with me to work on my night shift.
If you know a bit about my backstory, working full-time night shifts as a nurse, I need meals that will sustain my energy for 12+ hours, and this coconut chickpea curry did it for me!
But whether you live a shift-working lifestyle like me or not, you most likely are someone who’s had busy days or a busy night and you’re needing an easy recipe that is the perfect vegan meal for you.
So don’t worry – I’ve got the perfect vegan chickpea curry that’ll be on repeat all the time.
The best part of this great recipe is that it uses pantry staples you most likely have on hand! I make sure that I frequently stock my kitchen pantry with canned chickpeas and creamy coconut milk so I can make my own recipes
And let me tell you that leftover curry the next day is one of the best things to eat! I find the flavors develop and meld together the longer it sits; it’s just that good.
This chickpea spinach curry is something that the whole family will love. It has the right amount of heat that’s perfect for cold winter days or anytime in between.
You’ll love this recipe because it’s:
- Cozy, Comforting & Insanely Good: This is my own version of curry from what I grew up eating as a child. My parents would always make meat-based curry dishes that were so rich in flavors. I have turned all the flavors that I know and love and made this with my favorite coconut milk to recreate so many of my family recipes.
- Quick & easy to make: No more spending hours in the kitchen trying to get your next weekday or weekend meal on the table. This recipe can be whipped up in a flash & is a great way to go when you’re short on time in 30 minutes!
- Full of Protein & Fiber: Following a plant-based lifestyle, many people are generally concerned about getting enough protein. You’ll be happy to know that chickpeas are one of the most common sources of protein you can find available in your local grocery store, or specialty store, or can be easily purchased online.
- Perfect for meal-planning: When planning your meals, make sure to double or triple up on the recipe so you can enjoy this for a few days.
- Pack full of vegetables: If you need to clean out your fridge, you can add any vegetables into this curry dish and it’ll still taste amazing.
Ingredients & Substitutions:
- Chickpeas: Also called garbanzo beans. The main protein & fiber source in our curry dish. In this recipe, I used canned chickpeas for the benefit of having this meal on the table in 30 minutes and they are just as good as soaking the dried chickpeas overnight.
- Coconut Milk: I use full-fat canned coconut milk to add creaminess to this curry dish. I would suggest you start off by adding about half the amount that’s called for in the recipe and add more during the cooking process as necessary. This makes the chickpea curry so silky smooth and rich to eat! And don’t worry if you’re concerned about having a strong coconut taste. The addition of all the spices and seasonings will mellow out the taste of the coconut milk. Vegan sour cream could work as a sub for coconut milk as well.
- Tomatoes: I used fresh Roma tomatoes in this recipe because I love the flavor of freshly cooked and sauteed tomatoes. Plus, I find using fresh helps to cut down on the acidity I find with many canned tomato products. Remember to cook slowly so the tomatoes don’t burn and they can release their natural flavor and sugars. You can also sub and use cherry tomatoes in a pinch.
- Mustard Seeds: I used black mustard seeds in this recipe and it adds another rich depth to the dish. Add them to your oil in the beginning stages and be careful as they splatter right away but also you don’t want to burn them!
- Ginger: Adds a zing and spiciness to the dish but also has great health healing & soothing benefits.
- Garlic Cloves: Adds amazing garlic flavor.
- Ground Turmeric, Ground Coriander: These are spices that are normally found in a lot of South Asian & Caribbean curry dishes. These have a bold flavor profile that pairs so well with everything. I’ve been a bit obsessed with turmeric to recreate my favorite Vegan Turmeric Golden Milk Latte which is also so good with these spices added too!
- Jamaican Curry Powder: There are so many different brands that offer Jamaican curry powder. Find one that you prefer and like. Indian curry powders differ in each household as each spice is blended together, whereas West Indians can tend to use a pre-made spice mix blend. If you don’t have access to Jamaican curry powder, simply use what you have, or, you can find whichever curry powder your local grocery store has.
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Gives a spicy kick to the dish. If you don’t like spice, simply leave this out.
- Buttercup Squash: I love its buttery, rich, full flavor! You can always use butternut squash or pumpkin here instead.
- Spinach: My green of choice in this recipe is spinach but you can add whatever green you have on hand. Just make sure to double up on the greens and don’t fret about the amount! Most greens when cooked, wilt down quite significantly in size.
- Salt & Black Pepper: Helps to round out the dish; use to taste.
Heat your pan on medium heat and add two tablespoons of vegetable oil and saute your chopped onions, garlic, and ginger, for 5 minutes until your onions are translucent, making sure to stir frequently so your garlic doesn’t burn. Next, add in your mustard seeds and scotch bonnet pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
Next, add in your chopped tomatoes and cook this down until your tomatoes are nice and soft, breaking up big pieces as it cooks and becomes almost paste-like. If your tomato mixture is drying out, add 2-3 tablespoons of water and continue to cook. This can take up to 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, add in your spices with another 2-3 tablespoons of water and cover to cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Add in your chickpeas and mix around, making sure to smash a few chickpeas to add some texture and help to thicken up the sauce. Add in your squash, water, and your full-fat coconut milk. Mix well & cover to cook for another 10 minutes or until your squash is fork-tender.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I use lentils in this recipe?
This recipe can absolutely work with lentils! Some of my favorite ones to use are green or brown lentils in a curry dish. You could also use red lentils but they tend to cook quicker than the rest of your ingredients and may cause your to be mushy. If you’d like, you could combine your lentils & chickpeas in this dish to give it an extra protein boost if you’d like!
My squash took longer to cook. What happened?
If your squash is taking too long to cook, it could be that your cube pieces are too big and didn’t have enough time to cook on the inside. It could also mean you didn’t have enough liquid in your pan to steam your squash until fully cooked. Try cubing your squash smaller into bite-sized pieces and making sure the sizes are all the same. Also, I suggest you try pre-cooking your squash by boiling, microwaving, roasting, or putting them in the air fryer for 10 minutes.
Can I use another type of milk instead of coconut milk?
You can use plain, unsweetened oat milk if you’d like, or you can my Homemade Oat Milk Creamer thinned out with a bit of water. Both options would be amazing. I would try to use milk that has a more neutral flavor but almond, macadamia, or hemp milk could work too!
Storage & Freezing
Storing: You can store leftovers of this chickpea spinach curry in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Reheating: Reheat this on the stovetop with a few tablespoons of water added until heated through, or you can warm this up in the microwave for a few minutes too!
Freezing: Once cooked and cooled, you can freeze curry in an airtight container for up to a month. When reheating from frozen, the texture of the creamy coconut sauce may change a bit but the flavors will remain the same – simply stir through and it’ll be fine.
So here’s how to make your Chickpea Spinach Curry!
Coconut Chickpea Spinach Curry
- 1 19oz can (540ml) of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- 1 can (400ml) of full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 3 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon of finely minced ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
- 1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 tablespoon of Jamaican curry powder
- 1 cup of cubed buttercup squash (can use butternut or pumpkin)
- 3 cups of fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper (or 1 tsp of crushed red chili flakes)
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Heat a large pot or a dutch oven on medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Once heated, saute your onions, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic, and ginger for 3-5 minutes until translucent and fragrant, then add in your mustard seeds. Be careful at this stage as the mustard seeds will scatter & pop!
- Once your onion mixture is translucent and mustard seeds have heated, add in your chopped tomatoes and cook covered for 15 minutes until soft and start to form a thick tomato paste-like consistency, stirring occasionally.
- Next, add in your spices and cook for 3-5 minutes, adding 2-3 tablespoons of water and mixing occasionally.
- Add in your chickpeas and some chickpeas down a bit with a fork or a potato masher to give texture and allow the chickpeas release their starch. Add in your squash, coconut milk, water, and mix. Continue to cook, covered for 20 minutes.
- Add in your spinach, a mix again. Garnish with chopped coriander, sliced red onion, red chili flakes, and drizzle with extra coconut milk; Serve with cooked basmati rice, fresh naan bread with a side of fried plaintains.
- You can substitute the Jamaican curry powder with whatever curry powder you have. The spice blend may be a bit different but the flavors should be the same.
- Mustard seeds add a unique flavor profile to the dish. Be careful when adding them to your hot oil – they will splatter quite a bit & can burn very easily.
- If you don’t have some of the fresh ingredients on hand, you can substitute them for dried ones. Fresh ginger for ground ginger, fresh chilis for dried red pepper flakes, etc.
- You can use any type of plant-based milk in this recipe, instead of coconut milk. Try using hemp, macadamia, almond, or even my Homemade Oat Milk Creamer or Vegan Cashew Sour Cream!
If you loved this dinner recipe, you’ll also love these:
Did You Make This Recipe?
Share your comments below or better yet, sign up to my email newsletter list & you’ll be the first to know when a new recipe get’s published + you’ll get a FREE Kitchen Essentials Plant-Based eBook!