25 minutes

Chickpea Spinach Curry

Chickpea spinach curry is a simple and delicious vegetarian meal that comes together in under 30 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights. Full of aromatic warming spices, it will make your whole house smell amazing!

This chickpea spinach curry is a delicious and cozy comfort food. It is also my five-year-old son’s favorite meal. He calls it “curry balls.” Although that’s not exactly the crave-worthy name I would have chosen, his delivery is pretty on point: “May I please have some more of Mommy’s delicious homemade curry balls?” Umm… yes, of course. Daddy, pass the curry balls! And now this recipe is called curry balls forevermore.

I hope your family loves this recipe as much as mine does. The sauce is a crowd-pleaser. It is a mild and creamy tomato-based curry that is perfect for kids who don’t want anything too spicy. Yet, it’s still complex and flavorful, and doesn’t feel like “kid food.” As the cook of the family, I love that it uses spice blends I can find in my local grocery store.

We serve this with coconut basmati rice, naan bread and roasted veggies. This easy recipe is also great for meal prep. The sauce tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge.

Pass the curry balls!

Two plates of chickpea spinach curry over rice, with a dish of curry, naan bread, forks and garnish surrounding them.

You Will Love This

  • A super simple weeknight meal that requires very little prep (really just chopping an onion and opening some cans), yet it has a complex and delicious rich flavor. It’s also beautiful – those fresh greens add a lovely pop of color.
  • This curry is vegan and naturally gluten-free, making it a perfect recipe for a group with diverse dietary needs.
  • It is one of our favorite healthy meals – full of fiber and plant-based protein!
  • The sauce is a great way to use up leftovers. Leave out the chickpeas and substitute cooked chopped chicken, roasted sweet potatoes or cauliflower for an equally delicious meal.

Ingredients

To make chickpea spinach curry, you need the following simple ingredients (exact measurements are in the recipe card below).

Ingredients for chickpea spinach curry on a marble background.

Ingredient Notes

  • Olive oil: Vegetable oil or another neutral oil will do.
  • Spices, including curry powder, garam masala, salt and sugar: Curry powder and garam masala are two common Indian spice blends that you can find in the spice section of your local grocery store. If you haven’t cooked with Indian spices before, note that curry powder is different from curry paste. Curry powder is a dried spice mix, often with a bright yellow or golden color. Curry paste is a more concentrated oil-based herb and spice combination, and can be a variety of colors like red, yellow and green. Use the yellow dried curry powder in this recipe.
  • Tomato sauce: Feel free to substitute tomato paste and water. I often do when that is what I have on hand.
  • Canned diced tomatoes: You can substitute fresh chopped tomatoes for the canned diced tomatoes.
  • Coconut milk: Feel free to use heavy cream in place of coconut milk in this recipe.
  • Canned chickpeas: This recipe uses canned chickpeas that have been drained and rinsed, which makes it super fast and easy. If you prefer to cook your own dry chickpeas – do it, friend! It will be so delicious!
  • Spinach: I love a few handfuls of fresh spinach in this curry, but other leafy greens will work too. Chopped kale would be a great substitute.

Instructions

Step One: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until onion is softened. Add minced garlic, and sauté another couple of minutes.

A large skillet on a marble background with sauteed onions.

Step Two: Add a pinch of salt and the curry powder to the saucepan and sauté for about a minute, just to incorporate into the onions. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add garam masala, sugar, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet, and stir to make a pretty tomato-onion gravy.

A large skillet on a marble background with sauteed onions covered in curry powder and garam masala spices.
A large skillet on a marble background with a tomato gravy of onions, tomatoes and curry spices.

Step Three: Add the coconut milk or heavy cream, and salt (to taste). Bring the sauce to a low simmer.

A large skillet on a marble background with coconut milk being stirred into tomato curry sauce.

Step Four: Add the chickpeas, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the chickpeas are warmed through and a little softened. Don’t overcook them or they will get mushy and start to break apart.  

A large skillet on a marble background with a light orange curry sauce with chickpeas on top of the sauce, not yet stirred in.
A large skillet on a marble background with a light orange curry sauce with chickpeas.

Step Five: Right before serving, add a couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach to the pan, and stir to combine. You can remove the pan from the heat at this point, the residual heat from the sauce will wilt the spinach to perfection. If you chose a heartier green (like kale), add it to the sauce a little earlier to get it nice and soft. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to take this sauce over the top!

A large skillet on a marble background with a light orange curry sauce with chickpeas with baby spinach piled on top, not yet mixed in.
A large skillet on a marble background with chickpea spinach curry being stirred with a wooden spoon.

Serve This With

We love to serve this curry over rice. Instant pot basmati rice is my favorite, but brown rice is a great option for more fiber. Add some grilled or roasted veggies like squash, carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower or red pepper. Don’t forget some naan to soak up any leftover sauce!

A close up of a wooden spoon with a scoop of chickpea spinach curry, with a skillet of curry and naan bread in the background.

Storage and Reheating

  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This is a great meal to eat the next day – the sauce will just improve with time.
  • Reheating: Reheat in the microwave for a super simple lunch. You can also reheat this in the morning and put it in a thermos to stay warm until lunch. Include some naan bread for dipping, and enjoy a delicious lunch at school or work.

 

A large skillet on a marble background with chickpea spinach curry being stirred with a wooden spoon.

Chickpea Spinach Curry

Chickpea spinach curry is a simple and delicious vegetarian meal that comes together in under 30 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights.
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 393 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Kosher salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes drained and juice squeezed out
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk unsweetened
  • 2 15.5 ounce cans garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until onion is softened. Add minced garlic, and sauté another couple of minutes.
  • Add a pinch of salt and the curry powder to the saucepan and sauté for about a minute, just to incorporate into the onions. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add garam masala, sugar, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet, and stir to make a pretty tomato-onion gravy.
  • Add the coconut milk or heavy cream, and season the sauce with salt, to taste. Bring the sauce to a low simmer.
  • Add the chickpeas, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the chickpeas are warmed through and a little softened. Don’t overcook them or they will get mushy and start to break apart.  
  • Right before serving, add a couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach to the pan, and stir to combine. You can remove the pan from the heat at this point, the residual heat from the sauce will wilt the spinach to perfection. If you chose a heartier green (like kale), add it to the sauce a little earlier to get it nice and soft. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to take this sauce over the top!

Notes

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This is a great meal to eat the next day – the sauce will just improve with time.
Top Tip: Curry powder and garam masala are two common Indian spice blends that you can find in the spice section of your local grocery store. If you haven't cooked with Indian spices before, note that curry powder is different from curry paste. Curry powder is a dried spice mix, often with a bright yellow or golden color. Curry paste is a more concentrated oil-based herb and spice combination, and can be a variety of colors like red, yellow and green. Use the yellow dried curry powder in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 12gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 773mgPotassium: 913mgFiber: 11gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 1943IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 137mgIron: 6mg
Keyword chickpea curry, quick curry, vegetarian curry
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