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  • SeattleCancerNutrition

Coconut Chickpea and Tomato Curry

Cancer treatment is so involved. From the doctors appointments to the scans to the time spent resting. With all of this going on, it can be hard to find time to cook or to even think about what to cook for that matter. Meal prep can help and so can super simple recipes that use on-hand ingredients like coconut milk, canned tomatoes, and canned beans. My Coconut Chickpea and Tomato Curry recipe is a great choice when you need a quick fix. This delicious curry makes for an easy one-pot meal bursting with flavor.


Curry is a term for spiced sauce based dishes that is common in many countries including India, Thailand, and South Africa. These dishes can be meat based or be made vegetarian with a variety of different vegetables. Curries from different regions will have different flavor profiles. A common spice blend used in Indian inspired curries is garam masala. Garam masala is a mix of the spices cumin, coriander, cardamon, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Different variations may also include some additional spices like turmeric and saffron.

Garam masala is a main player in this Coconut Chickpea and Tomato Curry and I think you’ll love the bold, savory flavor. Beans don’t have to taste plain or boring! When you season them right, they can be as flavorful as any meat dish. Curry is such an easy recipe style to make quickly on a busy night or meal prep each week. I make a variety of curries and serve them with naan bread and/or rice.

Coconut Chickpea and Tomato Curry Spices

Adding spices to dishes not only creates a delicious flavor and aroma but also boosts the nutritional profile of the dish. Spices have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects and may be protective against certain chronic conditions. I’m all about more spices, as evidenced by my Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep book. If I would have had this recipe back when I was writing my book, it would certainly have been in there.

What I love about the spices in this dish is that they are plentiful. Onion, fresh garlic, and ginger make the base. You’ll add in your garam masala, cumin, and coriander after that. You even garnish this dish with fresh cilantro, so it’s really bursting with flavor and health benefits, too.


Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are high in fiber and plant-based protein. One cup of chickpeas has 11 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber. The soluble fiber in chickpeas is good for digestion and it also helps to lower LDL/bad cholesterol levels, lowering heart disease risk. A lot of my clients simply like to toss them on a salad but they’re excellent in curries and soups as well. They take center stage in this Coconut Chickpea and Tomato Curry recipe.

Coconut milk

Coconut is a rich source of both saturated fat as well as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), a type of fat that is more easily digested than other fats. MCT oil may cause the body to release more leptin, a satiety hormone that may contribute to the feeling of fullness and healthy weight management. Keep in mind that while MCT is digested differently than other fats, the predominant fat in coconut milk is definitely saturated fat, so a little goes a long way. This is a major reason that I like to use light coconut milk in a lot of my recipes but if you like full fat, you go right ahead!

Making the Coconut Chickpea and Tomato Curry Recipe

Creating the Flavor

Start by preparing your vegetables. Chop the onion, mince the fresh ginger and garlic, and measure out all your spices (garam masala, cumin, and coriander). Then heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown – about 3 to 4 minutes. Next, stir in the spices and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Stir for one minute, so that the flavor of the spices can infuse into the oil. Then add the tomato paste and cook for an additional 30 seconds. If it’s getting too sticky, add a little bit of water – about a tablespoon at a time – so you can keep stirring it.

Making the Base

Next, stir in the coconut milk, stir it all together and bring the pot to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the coconut milk thickens up a bit. Remove it from heat and carefully puree it with an immersion blender, or transfer the mixture to a regular blender, and blend until smooth. Be careful when blending hot liquids because when you put the lid on, the steam can create pressure within. I really love my immersion blender and I use it for recipes like this all the time.

Completing the Dish

Return the blended mixture to the pot, if necessary, and add in the chickpeas, lime juice, and any additional salt you need. Stir it together until everything is well incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide up the curry into separate bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro. If cilantro isn’t your thing, you can absolutely do parsley instead.

Serve your Coconut Chickpea and Tomato Curry

Coconut curried chickpeas can be enjoyed in many different ways. It pairs great with any type of rice or other grain like quinoa. You can also serve it with naan or with a starchy vegetable like roasted potatoes or a baked sweet potato, or with a side salad. You can, of course, also enjoy it just on it’s own!

If you love the idea of an easy curry, I’ve got a couple others for you. I have a vegetarian mango curry a penne pasta with vegan curried cauliflower cream sauce, and an instant pot lentil curry as well.

Let me know in the comments if you tried this recipe and what you thought!


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced

  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 1 14-oz can reduced fat coconut milk, use full fat if desired

  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.

  2. Stir in the ginger, garlic, garam masala, cumin, coriander, and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. I usually add ¼ to ½ cup of water here to keep it from sticking too much.

  3. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add another ¼ cup of water if needed for consistency.

  4. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat.

  5. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender or in a regular blender until smooth (use caution when pureeing hot liquids).

  6. Return the sauce to the pot, if necessary, and add the chickpeas, lime juice, and any additional salt per your taste. Sprinkle with cilantro.

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