Most of the time being a vegetarian is exceptionally easy, but I don’t mind admitting that occasionally I really do crave a meat-based meal. In my younger, less aware days I ate a lot of meat, and didn’t even think about where it came from, or let alone care. Or if I did, I blocked it out. But nothing is going to block out this vegan chickpea curry.
Growing up in nineties and naughties Britain, curry was (and still is) an insanely popular dish. An estimated 12,000 curry houses sprang up around the UK and some of my absolute favourite curries were even invented in Britain (I’m looking at you tikka masala). In case you haven’t guessed, I really, really like curry.
But what I’ve come to realise in the middle of a curry crave isn’t that I miss a chicken korma or a lamb vindaloo – not at all. The meat itself was never important – I’m sure some of the curries eaten at 3am on a boozy night out probably didn’t contain what they actually claimed – but it’s rather the meal itself as a whole. The creamy sauce, the exotic spices and the crunchy poppadoms all combining together to make one the world’s favourite meals. As long as you get the sauce and rice right, you’re on to a winner.
Which is where this curry came from. I can’t take the credit – Kat’s fair hand is all over this chickpea curry (though hopefully not in it) and not only does it do away with meat, but it’s vegan too. Swapping out the milk and cream for a soy or nut-based variety is easy as veggie pie, and using chickpeas as the main bulk of the meal creates a lovely texture and provides you with a filling boost of fibre and iron.
So what am I saying? If you’re after a wicked, animal friendly curry made to the exact spice level you like – look no further.
Vegan Chickpea Curry – Health Benefits
A couple of years ago, we released the Amazing Chickpea Spinach Salad (it really is amazing, and is still one of my favourite lunches), and I also wrote about how good chickpeas were for you. What I didn’t realise was exactly how good.
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, or Bengal Grams, or Egyptian Peas, or whatever you like to call them, are ridiculously nutritious. I’ve don’t think I’ve heard of them referred to as a ‘superfood’ yet, but I’m wondering why not.
Not only do they contain high amounts of fibre, protein and iron, they also contain B6 and manganese – and the combination of these nutrients in the health benefits is just irrepressible.
To try and sum up (and it’s not easy to summarise these bad boys), you can expect an upturn in blood-sugar regulation, a decrease in heart disease chances, a lowering of cancer causes through the selenium and folate, an increase in liver enzyme function, and better digestion. And that’s just a few, really! Check out here and here if you’re interested in learning more.
On top of that, chickpeas (partly due to their high fibre content) are excellent at keeping you feeling full throughout the day. That of course comes with a myriad of weight loss and weight maintenance functions. Every diet should have a home for chickpeas. We recently released our new weight loss eBook, and as you’d expect, chickpeas feature in many of our meal plans – for good reason!
*note for the nutritional table – we make our chickpea salad with a little rice – this makes the proteins found in the chickpeas and rice a ‘complete’ protein, meaning our bodies can utilise it in the best possible way.
- ½ cup basmati rice
- 1 cup water
- Couple pinches salt
- 2 medium onions
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ lime
- 1-2 tbsp of your favourite curry paste. We recommend Tikka Masala, but any can be used as wanted for spice level. Tikka Masala is a medium spice
- 1 can low fat coconut milk or soya milk/cream (you can use regular too of course, just be aware of the higher calorie and/or fat content. 1 can = 1.5 cups)
- 1 regular can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (ca. 400g can with liquid)
- 1-2 tbsp vegetarian soy sauce (try one tbsp first, add another if required)
- 2-3 medium tomatoes/handful cherry tomatoes. The sweeter the better 😉
- 1 cup basil leaves
- Some curry pastes are already sweetened, some are not. If yours could use a little boost then don’t be afraid to add 1 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar.
- Also, throw in some green veg like broccoli, kale or cabbage for a nice vitamin C boost!
- And finally, slice up the other half of the lime for a cool looking citrusy garnish.
- Add the rice, water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil (could also be done the Indian way from our Buddha Bowls). Keep an eye on the rice - when the water is boiling put a lid on it, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 8-10 mins.
- While this is happening chop the onions, garlic, basil and juice the lime.
- Put the oil and onions into a large pan and cook on a low-medium heat until the onions start to soften and turn clear, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic for a further 1 minute.
- Add 1 tbsp curry paste and the milk, stirring until the curry is dissolved. Add another pinch of salt. Taste test - if you’d like your curry a little stronger then add another tbsp.
- Throw in the chickpeas (and chopped green veg if you’re using it) and soy sauce, and cook on a medium heat for around 5 minutes, bringing the curry to a boil. If it starts to burn, reduce heat immediately.
- Add the tomatoes, chopped basil, lime juice and gently simmer the curry for another 2 minutes. Taste test again, and if desired add a second tbsp soy sauce and the syrup or brown sugar. Give it another stir.
- The rice should be done by now too - fork it through to make it fluffy.
- Serve the curry and rice together with papadoms and naan bread as optional sides.