Chana Masala
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A simplified version of traditional Indian chana masala, this healthy dish comes together in just 30 minutes. I add fresh spinach for extra nutrients and a pop of green.
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 4
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 cardamom pods, minced (discard the outer shells)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 5 to 8 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice + 1 tablespoon lime juice, more to taste
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and generous pinches of salt and pepper and cook until browned and very soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cumin seeds halfway through.
  2. Add the coriander, turmeric, cardamom, garlic, garam masala, ginger and cayenne pepper, if using, and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add ¼ cup of water and scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and another few pinches of salt. Stir and bring to a low simmer so that it’s bubbling just a bit. Cook on medium heat to thicken, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the chickpeas, ¼ cup more water, and another pinch of salt, and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and it’s a thick stew, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Stir in the spinach until wilted. Remove from the heat.
  5. Add the lemon/lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon or lime if desired. Add the fresh cilantro just before serving. Serve with steamed rice and naan, if desired.
Recipe by Love and Lemons at