I remember the first time I tried Indian food. It was vegetable jafrezi, and the menu had a little chili pepper symbol next to the name. I love spicy food so I figured “hey why not give this one a go?”. I swear to you it was the hottest dish I ever had in my life. That did not deter me away from Indian cuisine though, because underneath that spice was the most robust, complex flavors I’ve ever had in my life.Plus I got to eat even more rice and naan to balance it out. Fast forward to today and I’m an Indian food addict.
This slow cooker chana masala recipe is one of my personal favorites because it is so flavorful , healthy, and easy to make. Chana (chickpeas) is a great source of fiber and protein for all you vegetarians and meat eaters alike. 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. As I mentioned before, I am a spicy food fan so I tend to go heavier with the heat (fair warning)! I promise you this Indian recipes isn’t anywhere close to as hot as that jafrezi was.
Crockpot recipes are apart of my regular routine in the colder months because for one, most of the recipes are fool proof and taste amazing and two, dinner can be ready when you walk in the door. This chana masala recipe is naturally vegan so if you are looking for a healthy plant based weeknight meal, look no further my friends.
Slow Cooker Chana Masala
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced (about 1 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 1/2 inch ginger knob peeled and minced (about 1 1/2 Tablespoon)
- 1 medium red onion diced (about 1 1/2 cup)
- 1 serrano pepper minced (about 1/2 Tablespoon, optional)
- 2 cans chickpeas or garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
- 1 - 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar (can substitute with cane sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 1/2 teaspoons garam masala*
- Brown rice
- Naan Indian bread
Put all ingredients in slow cooker
Set on low 8 hours
Serve hot with brown rice or naan
You can purchase garam masala spice blend in the store, or make your own. I listed the recipe I use below.
- I recommend setting your slow cooker or Crockpot setting to low instead of high. This gives the tomatoes longer to cook and break down that strong tomato flavor. I found the chana masala too 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 1/2 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
- For Crockpot, I use this one and I love it! If you are on the fence about purchasing a slow cooker, I highly recommend because it is truly a versatile kitchen appliance
This recipe was loosely adapted from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen Cookbook