Chana Masala

Well, the 2nd annual gluten-free, vegan Thanksgiving was a success. Minus, of course, the Lions loss. Which is really nothing new for us Detroiters, except that this year, everyone was thinking (but not saying) that we actually had a chance. Turns out, we didn’t. And so, while the Lions’ defeats have been a constant in my recollection of recent Thanksgivings, my Thanksgiving plate has altogether done a 180 from the once dark meat and gravy-laden plates Thanksgivings in the past.

Ironically, I was the most stuffed this year than I have been in recent memory. I guess I have my willpower to thank for that. Or lack thereof…

There was also the problem of my menu planning. Two types of stuffing? Sure! Baked vegan mac and cheese? Why not? Cornbread and focaccia? Sounds good to me!

But I had absolutely nothing to do with my absolute favorite part of my meal. A wonderful Aloo Matar (Indian peas and potatoes) which was contributed by my aunt’s friend, an amazing Indian home cook. It was just too good, especially over mashed potatoes (who needs gravy when you can have Aloo Matar?).

So now you have the backstory to why, since Thanksgiving, I’ve been craving good Indian food. Sadly, there is little in the way of Indian restaurants in our neighborhood. As a result, I’m relegated to homemade Indian, which can be (and was) a tricky endeavor for the Indian cooking novice. I finally came up with something that satisfied by deepest cravings. I was a bit disappointed that the canned chick peas I used were weirdly “crunchy” — almost like they hadn’t been cooked enough before they were canned. But crunchy chickpeas aside, I was very happy with how this turned out. I would recommend it alongside some brown rice and topped with chopped cilantro to serve. Who knows, maybe I’ll even put it on next year’s Thanksgiving menu. It’s not like we’re saying no to anything in that department…

Serves: 4

Chana Masala:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 large vine tomatoes, chopped

1 cup water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup light coconut milk

cilantro (optional) for topping

Spice Mix:

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1. Heat oil in a large, deep pan or Dutch Oven. Add onion and garlic. Saute over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until onions just begin to brown. Add spice mix and toss to coat onions.

2. Add chickpeas, ginger, tomatoes and water. Bring to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until water thickens and sauce begins to reduce. Add coconut milk and salt and simmer to heat through.



  1. says

    Audrey – Sorry for the delayed response. I think your comment got lost in the shuffle! Thanks for the feedback! Glad you enjoyed. — Beth

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