Vegan Chana Masala (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or Stovetop)

Chickpeas cooked in a robust tomato sauce with Indian spices is so comforting. This vegan slow cooker chana masala recipe is beyond easy to make and only requires simple ingredients. Plus, it tastes amazing with rice or naan!

Where are all my Indian food lovers?

What’s not to love? The dishes are packed with robust, complex flavors and not to mention naan and rice.

This vegan chana masala recipe is one of my personal favorites because it is so flavorful, healthy, and easy to make.

What is chana masala?

It’s basically chickpeas simmered in a delicious gravy.

Chana (chickpeas) is a great source of fiber and plant-based protein.

The masala (sauce) is a tomato based sauce with spices. If heat isn’t your thing you can adjust the spice levels to your liking. I am personally a spicy food fan, so I tend to go heavier with the heat (fair warning)!

This chana masala recipe is naturally vegan so if you are looking for a healthy plant-based weeknight meal, look no further my friends.

Ingredients in chana masala:

While chickpeas are the heart of chana masala, the broth is like the soul of this dish. To make it you’ll need:

  • Oil
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Serrano pepper (optional)
  • Vegetable broth
  • Lemon juice
  • Coconut sugar
  • Seasonings
  • Chickpeas
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How to make chana masala in the Instant Pot:

This healthy and hearty vegan dinner recipe couldn’t be any easier. I prefer the Instant Pot method (although you can make this recipe in the slow cooker or on the stove top)

Follow these 3 simple steps to make my easy chana masala recipe:

  1. Put the Instant Pot on saute mode and cook the onion and serrano pepper with some oil.
  2. Add ginger, garlic, and seasonings. Cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add vegetable broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, and sugar. Give everything a good stir.
  4. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes.
  5. Release the pressure and add the lemon juice. Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

VEGAN CHANA MASALA SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Garnish with a bit of chopped cilantro (AKA coriander) on top for a bright pop of fresh flavor. Chana masala is typically served with naan and steamed basmati rice or brown rice. Or enjoy as a low carb dish by serving with cauliflower rice.

I love adding a dollop of some plain vegan yogurt to this dish! It adds the perfect amount of healthy fat and acidity to the dish.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How can I make this chana masala recipe more or less spicy?

I like a good bit of spicy kick in my version, so if you’d like to make a more mild variation I recommend you skip the serrano pepper and add only a pinch of cayenne.

Want your dish even spicier? I like your style. Increase the amount of cayenne to a full teaspoon and you can even add an extra serrano pepper if you dare.

Can I cook this Crockpot recipe on high heat?

Technically yes, you can cook the chana masala on high heat for 4 hours. But for the tomatoes to properly break down and have the best flavor I highly suggest you use our low and slow method.

How long will leftovers last?

This recipe is great for making ahead and enjoying for days. Homemade vegan chana masala will keep well in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 or 5 days.

You can even freeze chana masala for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before quickly reheating on the stovetop or microwave.

vegan chana masala in bowl with rice. served with naan

If you tried this vegan slow cooker chana masala, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!

vegan chana masala in bowl with rice. served with naan

Vegan Chana Masala

Easy chana masala recipe made with healthy ingredients. Buttery chickpeas with a spicy yet savory sauce. Top this vegan Indian recipe over a bed of rice and fluffy naan for a wholesome plant-based dinner.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Gluten Free, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: healthy slow cooker recipes, instant pot indian recipe, slow cooker indian recipes, vegan indian recipe
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 234kcal
Author: Amanda

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil can substitute with coconut oil
  • 1 medium red onion finely diced (about 1-1/2 cup)
  • 1 serrano pepper minced (about 1/2 Tablespoon, omit if you don't like spice)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced (about 1-1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1.5 inch ginger knob peeled and minced (about 1-1/2 Tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne optional – omit if you don't like spicy food
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 14-ounce cans chickpeas or garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 Tablespoons coconut sugar (can substitute with cane sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Serving Suggestions:

  • cilantro for topping (optional)
  • rice brown, jasmine, basmati or cauliflower rice for low carb option
  • naan Indian bread
  • plain vegan yogurt

Instructions

Instructions for Instant Pot

  • Put Instant Pot on saute mode. Add olive oil. Once hot, add onion and serrano pepper. Cook until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, cumin, and garam masala. Stir and cook until the mixture is fragrant (about 1 minute).
  • Add vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, and coconut sugar. Give everything a good stir and put the Instant Pot lid on, sealing the valve.
  • Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Let the Instant Pot naturally release for 15 minutes.
  • Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Instructions for Crockpot

  • Add all the ingredients minus the lemon juice to the slow cooker. Mix well.
  • Set on low 8 hours.

Instructions for Stovetop:

  • Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and serrano pepper. Cook until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, cumin, and garam masala. Stir and cook until the mixture is fragrant (about 1 minute).
  • Add vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, and coconut sugar. Give everything a good stir, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low-medium and let gently simmer for about 40 minutes.
  • Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Assembly Instuctions:

  • Serve chana masala with rice and/or naan. Top with cilantro and serve with some plain vegan yogurt if desired.

Video

Notes

  • I recommend setting your slow cooker or Crockpot setting to low instead of high. This gives the tomatoes longer to cook and breaks down that strong tomato flavor. I  found the chana masala to have an overbearing tomato flavor when cooked on high.
  • For garam masala, you can buy a spice blend, or make your own! I make this blend to keep on hand. You will only need 2 teaspoons for the chana masala. Here’s the recipe I follow:
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/4 teaspoon coconut sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (without rice or naan) | Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.1g | Protein: 11.2g | Fat: 4.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.6g | Sodium: 943mg | Fiber: 13.9g | Sugar: 1.4g

This recipe was loosely adapted from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen Cookbook

Please note this post may contain affiliate links which does not impact the cost to you, but gives me a small commission. Thank you for your support!

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4 thoughts on “Vegan Chana Masala (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or Stovetop)”

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious, better than the last version of chana masala I made. And I loved that it was made in the slow cooker–just toss everything in, stir once in a while if you’re home, and that’s all the work you need to do.

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