We just got home from vacation, and returning to reality is proving to be more difficult than usual. Our first day back was spent putting things away and attempting to get caught up on laundry, but it turned out to be one of those times when the mess just moves and grows and here we are, 12 hours later, not much better off.
We’re fresh out of most food, but a grocery run was not in the cards. Thank goodness for pantry meals like this Slow Cooker Vegan Chana Masala! We are out of most everything, but we did have an onion, some garlic, spices, a can of tomatoes, and a couple of cans of chickpeas in the pantry. Done! Well … almost done. I did ask my guy to stop on the way home from work for the lemon and cilantro, which in my opinion is a must for this Crock Pot deliciousness.
Chana masala is a hearty chickpea curry with Indian roots. It can be made a number of ways, this version being one of the simplest I’ve seen – and most delicious I’ve tasted. I adapted it slightly from this Orangette perfection, making use of the slow cooker so that the amazing combination of flavors has even more time to mingle and make magic. Plus, any night is a good night when dinner’s ready without having to lift a finger after you get home, am I right?
I’m totally down with no-effort dinners in this post-vacation haze. Now if only the laundry would do itself.
Slow Cooker Vegan Chana Masala
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
- 3 medium cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger (can substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 3 cardamom pods (seeds removed and crushed (throw away the husks) (can substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom))
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste (if desired)
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
- Toppings: Lemon wedges to squeeze over the top (cilantro, and/or plain yogurt (if not vegan))
- Place a large saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and golden, 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute, stirring frequently, for one more minute. Add ginger, cardamom, cumin, garam masala, coriander, cayenne powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir constantly for about 30 seconds to toast spices a bit. Pour in the tomatoes and stir, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon and scraping the bottom of the pan to release any onion and spices stuck to the bottom.
- Pour tomato and onion mixture into the slow cooker. Add chickpeas and stir gently to combine. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Taste and add additional salt if desired.
- Scoop into bowls. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and plenty of cilantro leaves, and/or plain yogurt if you prefer.