Easy Chana Masala Recipe


No, this isn’t an easy version of Chana Masala. As it turns out, the authentic version is easy all on its own! Read on for this Easy Chana Masala Recipe…

Easy Chana Masala Recipe


Easy Chana Masala Recipe

I took my first stab at making Indian food just a few days ago. I was late to the Indian-food-love overall. I had my first taste around the age of 27. Why I waited so long, I’ll never know. But I do know now that I indeed love Indian food.

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

After my love-at-first-taste experience with Indian food, I enjoyed eating it frequently. However, I dared not try making it on my own. Indian food seemed to me to be this exotic and impossible-to-reproduce food masterpiece. I thought it was best ordered at an authentic restaurant. But at the coaxing of one of my Indian friends, I finally gave her recipe a try. It was for one of my favorites – Chana Masala!

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

Indeed, it was delicious and wonderful. But, the best part was that it was incredibly simple to make. Or is the best part how insanely affordable this vegetarian dish is? Either way…Hazzah! :) And did I mention how much my meat-eating husband loves this?

I adapted my friend Yamini’s recipe to share it with you guys!

4.0 from 1 reviews

Easy Chana Masala Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Talk about a 30 minute meal you’ll want to make ASAP. This easy recipe comes together in a cinch and uses few ingredients (but ok, lots of spices). It’s also easy on the wallet. This recipe boasts an amazing and unique flavor. Chana Masala makes for a great vegetarian main course or side dish. Serve with rice and/or homemade naan. Yes, homemade is simple and really completes the meal). See Notes below for another naan option.
Adapted from my friend Yamini’s recipe
*Vegetarian* *Vegan* (Possibly Gluten Free?)
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like your eats)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped, about ½ cup (or sub canned)
  • 1 – 1½ cup water
  • 2 15-ounce cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (should be available in most grocery stores)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper, if needed
  1. Pre-heat a medium sauce pan to medium heat. Add oil to pan. Add onion and cook until onion is translucent and just browning, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute, or until garlic is fragrant.
  2. Stir in coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and salt.
  3. Stir in water and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender (or stand blender), blend tomato mixture until blended well. Add extra water, if needed.
  5. Add chick peas to tomato mixture and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Stir in garam masala and additional salt or pepper, to taste, if needed. Simmer chick peas and sauce for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve chana masala with rice and/or naan.
Serves: 4. But even if you’re only feeding less, make the whole batch. This makes for wonderful leftovers that re-heat great the next day.

If you have the time, homemade naan can’t be beaten. But, if you need a hand, Trader Joe’s has great frozen naan. It’s available in two flavors: tandoori and garlic. And, it heats up in only 1½ minutes in the oven. Not too shabby, TJs!

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

Remember to check out this post for a link to a simple homemade naan recipe and video! It would go perfectly with this Easy Chana Masala Recipe. You can also buy naan at the store. I get mine from the frozen section at Trader Joe’s. I also recommend picking some up from your fave local Indian restaurant or trying the recipe out yourself. Don’t be a scaredy cat like me. Don’t fear the Indian cooking, embrace it! If I can do it, so can you! ;)

How old were you when you tried your first Indian food?

Guglhupf + Quick Tomato Lentil Soup


I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!


I have a new soup recipe to share with you guys, but first…


Hubby and I are now home, but I have some more photos from my weekend away to share.


Including this pretty plant at hubby’s mom’s house.


We lucked out with more bright blue skies today.


The weather was perfect for brunch with bloggie friends – Sarah, Josh, and Anne!


We headed out to one of my fave places in Durham – Guglhupf.

IMG_0907.jpg IMG_0908.jpg

I love the funky-chic interior there – especially those glowing orbs of light.

Guglhupf has a casual brunch on the weekends with self-seating and ordering at the counter, which I really liked. More places should do this.


I got a cappuccino to drink.


I love how so many places in Durham do such pretty coffee art. I don’t know of anywhere back home that does this.


I thought I was just going to miss this chick due to traveling schedules, but we juuust had enough time to meet up. :)


Hubby even had a guy friend to chit chat with. Boy power!

Us girls had a totally different conversation going on at our end of the table, and it was so great to catch up with Sarah and Anne.


Hubby got the Eggs Arnold – from the menu – “spinach, artichoke, and tomato topped with poached eggs & hollandaise served on brioche with seasonal fruit


I tried the Farmer’s Omelette – “with house made country sausage, emmenthaler cheese & caramelized onions, served with seasonal fruit and sliced baguette

I don’t normally like sausage, but I seem to be on a bit of a kick with it lately. I blame the delicious sausage at The Flying Biscuit. lol. Anywho, the omelette was very tasty – especially with the gooey cheese and sweet onions. I wish I would have ordered a little extra veg or something, though. I don’t think I’ve been getting enough this weekend.


Girl photo – Anne, moi, and Sarah. Hope to see these fab girls again soon!


Hubby and I swung by the bakery on our way home to pick up goodies to take home, including a loaf of ciabatta to go with soup for dinner. We didn’t have any soup prepared, but I really wanted to bring some bread home and I just love soup with good, crusty bread. So, I figured I’d whip some up later.

I also picked up an almond croissant, which didn’t make it past the car ride home.


I enjoyed the croissant with some Zen tea we picked up from Starbucks.


The traffic was pretty busy, but I was thankful to not see any accidents. Maybe the slow-driving kept people safer?


As we neared home, the sky opened up with the most gorgeous lighting.


I took a ton of photos.


And I even caught a couple planes landing.


Bailey was pretty tuckered out and ready to be home.


Once home, I got started in the kitchen. I started some soup and some new granola – maple cinnamon.


I was really excited about the bread going with the soup. We ended up toasting the yummy ciabatta slices and adding a wee bit of real butter.


As for the soup, I made up a tomato-lentil soup. I like making big batches of soup so I can freeze leftovers for quick meals later. I like how lentil soups are generally pretty filling, and I also prefer doing vegetarian soups because I think they freeze better (though Giada does have a bad-a$$ beef lentil soup).


Quick Tomato Lentil Soup

Vegetarian/Vegan if you use the appropriate broth/soup

Most lentil soups seem to have directions requiring hours of cook-time. This affordable soup can be done in under 45 minutes (or less if you’re quick). The soup also doesn’t use fancy ingredients or even that many, making it an easy go-to soup for even busy weeknights.

Also, you can use the leftover broth/soup from this pot roast recipe to make this one…at least that’s what I did. ;) You may have more than 2 cups of broth/soup left, but you can just add it to the soup as long as you don’t mind if it’s a little more brothy.


  • 2 cups beef broth (or vegan/vegetarian broth)
  • 2 cups french onion soup (broth version in carton, not can) (use vegan/vegetarian version if you prefer)
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup french lentils, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10 baby carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, washed, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)


  1. Pre-heat a medium/large pot over medium heat. Add EVOO. When oil is warm enough, add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook till onions turn translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 60 seconds.
  2. Add broth, soup, tomatoes, and lentils to the pot. Add basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25-40 minutes depending on how pressed for time you are or how tender you like your lentils. Taste the soup frequently past the 25 minute mark to check the texture. Add extra salt/pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with nice, hearty bread and enjoy!

Tip: Freeze leftovers for easy meals when you’re pressed for time later


After the soup, I was eyeing my homemade granola.


I enjoyed a mini parfait over some vanilla Oikos (*).


The granola is not bad, but it needs work. I’m going to tweak the recipe before sharing with you guys.


Oh and lookie at what Sarah gave me – an adorable note pad.


I love the note – “For CHIC recipe ideas!” Yes…this will be perfect for new recipe development…thank you Sarah!


By the way, I updated my Recipe page (click to view)! Be sure to take a looksie!


I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready for my vacation to end. Luckily, I have more holiday vacation time ahead! How many days off work are you taking for December holidays? I think I’m going to have 7 hard-earned and carefully saved up days this year.

Savory Chickpea Spinach Crostata


Saturday was busy with shopping.


Sunday was busy with kitchen experiments!


Here’s a preview of my first experiment. Any guesses what I made?


Since I had such luck with the apple crostata the other day, I decided to make another one, but this time…a savory crostata. This would serve as lunch and my second experiment of the day.


For the filling, I wanted to use leftover veggies and pantry staples.




Filling the crostata this time was much easier and just so fast.


After a quick trip to the oven, my home was filling with the delicious aroma of home-baked goodness in the form of my chickpea and spinach crostata.


I tried healthifying the crust with some substitutions, which yielded a drier crust, but the overall flavor was still really great.


Savory Chickpea Spinach Crostata

NOTE: You may be able to make this vegan by finding a vegan crostata dough or adapting the one linked below and skipping or finding a substitute for the egg wash.


  • 1 prepared crostata dough (I used an adapted version of this one, but I’m not quite ready to share the recipe yet)
  • 1 15-ounce can rinsed, drained chickpeas
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions (I used frozen)
  • 2 garlic cloves (use 1 if you don’t like a strong garlic flavor)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash pepper
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp EVOO, plus a little extra for drizzling


NOTE: Prepare dough as directed. While dough chills, preferably closer to end of chill-time, prepare filling as follows:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add EVOO. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add garlic and cook till fragrant, about 60 seconds.
  3. Add spinach, chickpeas, dill, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, till spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add lemon juice, stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Remove from heat.
  5. When dough is ready, roll out to an 11 inch circle. Add filling to center, leaving a 2 inch edge (you may want to bury the spinach under the chick peas as it will burn more easily). Fold edges over the chickpea filling. Edges may overlap and center of crostata will remain open. Smooth out cracks as needed.
  6. Whisk egg white and water together lightly. Use egg wash to brush edges of crostata. Drizzle a little EVOO over the chickpea center.
  7. Bake crostata 38-42 minutes, till crostata is golden brown.
  8. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. (Careful, it’s hot!)


Bon appetit!

Shrimp in Saffron Broth Recipe


Saffron is one of those ingredients that the everyday gal doesn’t typically have in her pantry. It’s exotic and expensive and sometimes hard to find in stores.


But, if you’re like me, every once in awhile you splurge for a special ingredient to make a particularly yummy-looking dish you’ve seen in a magazine or on TV.

I bought saffron awhile back to make Martha Stewart’s Chicken & Israeli Couscous with Tomato & Lemon (click here to view my adaptation of the recipe). The recipe was delicious, but I didn’t really know what to do with all the leftover saffron.


I’d never cooked with saffron before, so I wasn’t familiar with how to incorporate the ingredient into my everyday cooking.


Luckily, I’ve been able to come up with two fun recipes utilizing the unique saffron: Saffron Honey Almond Oatmeal (inspired by a delicious Indian dessert) and this one – Shrimp in Saffron Broth.


The recipe’s name sounds like something you’d see on the menu of a fancy restaurant, but don’t be deceived. The dish is actually very easy, fast, simple, and affordable (especially if you’ve already invested in saffron for a previous recipe).


In other words, not only could you add this dish to your regular dinner rotation, but you could use it the next time you entertain and trick your friends into thinking you’re an expert chef. Ha-ha! :)


In the photos, you can see I served my shrimp with rice, but the rice soaked up the broth quite a bit. I would suggest serving the shrimp over some sort of pasta, like orzo. I garnished the dish with chives to add some fresh green color. The chives actually taste pretty good with the dish, too, in the event you want to eat your garnish (I often do because I don’t like to waste food).

Shrimp in Saffron Broth

Serves 2 (easy to multiply if you’re entertaining)


  • 3/4 lb large peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • pinch of saffron threads (about 1/4 tsp)
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • chives, optional garnish


  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add EVOO. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook till bottom side is cooked/opaque, about 2 minutes.
  2. Flip shrimp, add garlic, red pepper flakes to taste (depending on how spicy you want it), and saffron threads.
  3. Once shrimp are just cooked/opaque, pour in chicken broth and stir to combine. Let broth bubble up and cook down for just a minute to let flavors combine.
  4. Serve over orzo pasta and garnish with chives.

NOTE: I also served my shrimp with a side of simply sauteed swissh chard .


Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan)


Finally! I have a quick minute to type up my uber-yummy Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) (the ones I made for that cookout awhile back) recipe for you!

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) #healthy #recipe #vegan

Ready for a veggie burger that won’t crumble apart on you? Ready for a veggie burger full of flavor? I’ve got the perfect recipe…Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan).

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) #healthy #recipe #vegan

This recipe uses cooked quinoa. So, you can either use leftover quinoa or cook some for this recipe. It’s fast and easy.

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) #healthy #recipe #vegan

This recipe also uses lots of yummy fresh veg!

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) #healthy #recipe #vegan

And this recipe also uses a micro-baked potato, which is easy to make…

Micro-Baked Potato Directions:

  • wash potato
  • pierce skin in several places
  • loosely wrap with paper towel
  • microwave 5-7 minutes, till a fork easily pierces through and center is tender

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) #healthy #recipe #vegan

After your prep (quinoa, veg, potato), you’re pretty much just a whirl away in the food processor.

I like this Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) because you can easily prep it ahead. If you’re entertaining, you can make the burger mixture in the morning or the day before. Day-of, you just have to form patties and bake away.

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) #healthy #recipe #vegan

Baking is only the main cooking method. If you’re grilling out, follow the baking directions for cooking and re-heat the veggie quinoa burgers on the grill.

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) #healthy #recipe #vegan

Get some fresh vegetables prepped for toppings. I used organic romaine and heirloom tomatoes from my garden.

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) #healthy #recipe #vegan

Serve on buns or not – your choice.

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) #healthy #recipe #vegan

And see! No crumbles!

Reasons you should try this Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan):

  • full flavor
  • no-crumbling factor
  • vegan
  • gluten-free if you use GF bread crumbs
  • a prep-ahead recipe so you can enjoy your guests if you’re entertaining
  • re-heats nicely and makes great leftovers


Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Here’s a delicious quinoa veggie burger recipe that is crumble-free and easy to make! Dried spices help zest up this Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe.
*Vegan* *Gluten-Free if you use GF bread crumbs*
makes 10-12 medium sized patties
Serves: 6
  • 1 dry cup red quinoa, rinsed & cooked
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 15 ounce black beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium potato, cooked & removed from skin – you can micro-bake it (see above for directions)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • dash cayenne (add more or less depending on how spicy you want your burgers)
  1. Combine black beans, potato, onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne in a food processor. Pulse till vegetables are chopped finely and contents are mixed.
  2. Add bread crumbs and pulse till mixed well.
  3. Add quinoa and pulse till mixed well.
  4. Move mixture to a bowl and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (this will help the mixture to set and make it easier to form into patties. You can prep your recipe up to this point ahead of time if you’re entertaining and move on to the next step when you’re ready to cook)
  5. When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form the veggie burger mixture into patties (or balls) and place on the prepped baking sheet.
  7. Bake 18-22 minutes, till burgers are lightly browned on top (note: if you’re entertaining, you can also cook the burgers ahead of time and re-heat them on the grill)
  8. Serve with toppings and enjoy!
Tip: Freeze the leftovers for an easy meal later!

Southwest Quinoa Veggie Burgers Recipe (Vegan) #healthy #recipe #vegan

Enjoy these delicious quinoa veggie burgers!


You may also like these other quinoa recipes:


Be sure to share this recipe on Pinterest, twitter, or Facebook if you liked this post! Thanks for reading!

A Real Tofu-Kale-Soba-Noodle Dinner


My body has finally started signaling it’s ready to eat real food again. I’ve been craving tofu-soba-noodles since yesterday and finally made a batch tonight to enjoy.

But first…

I wanted to try one of my Nicobella Organic Vegan Truffle samples (*). I figured they don’t have dairy in them, so I should be able to eat one, right? :)


Eeny, meeny, miny…



I decided to try the walnut flaxseed crunch.


The vegan truffle was really good!

I plan to do a full review of the Nicobella vegan organic truffles soon (once I’ve sampled all the flavors), so I’ll save the details for then, but what was most noticeable about this truffle over traditional ones, to me, was that this one didn’t leave me feeling heavy or on a sugar high! Nice!


Ok, on to dinner!


I finally got to test out the Tofu press (*) Nasoya sent me a couple weeks ago.


The press was a cinch to use and was so much easier than stacking pots/pans and cans to weigh my tofu down. Thank you Nasoya!!


So like I was saying, I was really craving soba noodles with tofu and veggies. I guess your body just let’s you know when it’s ready for something, ya know? I must be ready for real food again. I’ve been eating pretty well today (especially compared to the last couple days).


Ingredients assembled/cleaned/prepped.


Again…using a too small pot for all the big, leafy greens I wanted to cook! :lol:




I did a play on one of my faves – my 3, 2, 1 Vegetarian Noodles (click for recipe), except I just used kale. I missed the other veggies but wasn’t up to going to the grocery store to get the others.

Hubby was out watching the basketball games, so my friend Megan came over for some girl-talk. ;)


We made sure to have some time for…CHOCOLATE! As in some vegan chocolate chip cookies, which I made earlier today.

Oh yea!!!!!!!




No Project Hydrate Updates for today. I haven’t really been keeping track since I first started feeling under the weather. I’m hoping to pick up again tomorrow, though.

Did you see the fun + eats from hubby’s beer brewing extravaganza? One of my favorite photos from the last couple weeks is in that post – it’s the hummus – the one taken from the side. Love!

Check out this post for some weight loss / diet / healthy eating tips gathered from one of the coolest TV shows I’ve seen lately.

Who’s excited about something they gave up for Lent that they’ll get to enjoy again tomorrow?!

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