Vegan Chana Masala is a dish you can easily master. Rich in deep, aromatic flavors & a little spice to entice your taste buds. Vegan & Gluten Free (also nut free)
If you could go out to eat anywhere, what type of restaurant would it be? Does the thought of eating pasta make you smile? What about sitting at a table of endless chips & salsa? Or would it be a special night out with a loved one sitting across from you, while dining on local, farm to table dishes? While I may enjoy each of those immensely, if I could go anywhere to eat, it would be an Indian restaurant. And here are my reasons why ….
- There are a TON of vegan and/or vegetarian options
- The dishes are full of variety & aromatic flavors
- They do “spicy” right!
- chai tea, naan bread & masala (I could have just started with that one)
- I haven’t been able to make Chana Masala like they do…..UNTIL NOW
I have tried and tried with “don’t make this again” attempts, “just ok” attempts, and “cheater” attempts. Ok, to clarify, a “cheater” attempt is basically, I have a GO-TO jar of dairy-free Masala that I LOVE and in a pinch, that’s what I’ll grab. But the other night, I was determined to get it right, to learn from my mistakes and make the best, darn Chana Masala I’ve ever made, from scratch, no jar in sight! And I did……
I think I may have done a little happy dance and let out a squeal of delight when I took that final bite before plating.
Because I know you are here for the recipes, let me show you just how easy it is to make your of Chana Masala at home.
Start your pot of rice. Whether it’s done of the stove top, baked in the oven or made in a rice cooker, you’ll want to start that now. I like using Jasmine rice best with this dish, because it is a little more firm than typical white rice and not as nutty flavored as brown rice.
While that’s cooking, lets start on the main dish.
Cook down your diced onions, Serrano and garlic until translucent. Add your spices to the pan and stir. You’ll want those spices to cook into the onions for a few minutes so the flavors are truly cooked in there, not just thrown on top.
Then add your tomatoes & lemon juice. Bring to a quick boil then back to simmer.
Now grab your Immersion blender (or carefully transfer sauce to a blender) and puree until tomatoes & onions are less chunky and closer to a thick soup consistency. If you are using a blender, be sure to pulse in batches! Sometimes the heat from the puree will cause the top lid to come off, so I like to cover the top with a towel and keep my hand on the lid,,,,,JUST IN CASE.
Once you’ve gotten the consistency you desire, add in your tofu (Or chickpeas if following the soy-free option) and allow to simmer 10 minutes to let the flavors develop.
Now it’s time to add in the star ingredients….sour cream and butter, both vegan of course. This final step will remove the acidity from the tomatoes and bring the spice from the Serrano down just a notch. Plus, it’s what is needed for an amazingly rich and creamy sauce.
If you are looking for a dairy free sour cream, I like to use Tofutti brand, however it is NOT soy-free. Using chickpeas instead of tofu & plain yogurt or coconut cream in place of the Tofutti, would make this soy-free! If you have chickpeas out, try this Creamy Chickpea Curry from Food Faith Fitness.
Serve on top of rice with some fresh cilantro and make sure to add some green veggies. Lightly sautéed baby peas and spinach pair very well with this Indian dish.
For the full Indian restaurant experience in your own home, how about making some Naan bread? It’s so easy to make and you can find it here.
Chana Masala- Vegan style
- Jasmine Rice, cooked (or other rice of choice)
- 1 TB. virgin coconut oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 Serrano pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1 TB. minced garlic cloves (from a jar or 2 fresh minced cloves)
- 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. ground curry
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- 28 oz canned, diced tomatoes
- 1 TB lemon juice
- 1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed (OR 2 cans, drained chickpeas)
- 8 oz dairy-free sour cream (Tofutti)
- 2 TB dairy-free butter (Earth Balance)
- 1 TB. fresh cilantro, chopped
- Make your rice according to directions.
- In a large saucepan, heat oil on medium heat. When water droplet sizzles, add onion, Serrano, and garlic. Cook until onion turns translucent (3 minutes).
- Add spices: garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric, curry, and cayenne. Season with salt and cook several minutes, until spices are absorbed in the onions.
- Add the tomatoes in their liquid and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.
- Using a handheld immersion blender (or carefully transfer to a blender), and puree tomato mixture until more smooth texture, but not too soupy
- Add tofu cubes (or chickpeas). Reduce heat and allow to simmer 10 minutes for flavors to blend.
- Stir in the sour cream and butter during the last few minutes before serving.
- Serve with rice, and green veggies.
*Make this dish Soy-free & use 2 cans of chickpeas instead.
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