This easy Indian-inspired Butter Chickpeas recipe is a healthier, vegan version of classic Butter Chicken. But made with whole food, plant-based ingredients! The sauce is ultra-creamy and so satisfying. (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.)
This Indian-inspired vegan Butter Chickpeas recipe is so satisfying and creamy.
Plus it only takes 30 minutes to make!
Hearty chickpeas swim in a velvety sauce that is rich with warm spices and savory flavor.
It's also pleasantly filling, and a good source of plant-based protein and fiber.
Ingredients for Butter Chickpeas
For this recipe you will simmer in a saucepan or large skillet:
- Yellow onion: Or you can substitute white onion or sweet onion instead.
- Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): This is a great plant-based alternative to the chicken that is traditionally found in this dish. They're tender and hearty!
- Petite diced tomatoes: I like petite best with this recipe because they're smaller and bite-sized. However if you can't find them, regular diced tomatoes work great too.
- Coconut milk: I use regular & unsweetened canned coconut milk. (Full-fat coconut milk.)
- Peanut butter: Natural, creamy peanut butter works best.
- Tomato paste
- Curry powder: This is a warm, earthy spice blend. Most often I use a mild/medium curry powder from "Simply Organic" brand. Be aware curry powder can range in spiciness depending on how much cayenne pepper is included.
- Garlic powder: Or you can use fresh garlic cloves (minced).
- Smoked paprika
- Tamari: This adds salty, umami flavor. You can also substitute soy sauce or coconut aminos. (If you don't have any of those, then simply salt to taste instead.)
Butter Chicken is a popular Indian dish that was developed in the 1950s. Traditionally, the sauce is made with tomato, onion, curry, and butter.
However we eliminate the dairy butter in this vegan version. The richness is achieved with coconut milk and peanut butter instead. It's so luscious and creamy!
The sauce is also very forgiving. So add any "accent" seasonings you enjoy.
Ground cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, garam masala, and chili powder are all great.
Serve this dish as is, or pair it with other additions such as:
- Cooked brown rice: I highly recommend serving this dish over rice, so it can mingle with the delicious sauce!
- Nuts: Sprinkling nuts on top before serving such as cashews, peanuts, or slivered almonds add really nice texture and crunch.
- Fresh cilantro: Either garnish with cilantro, or stir in fresh cilantro to the dish at the end of cooking time.
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Flatbread, naan, or pita bread on the side
I store my leftover rice and butter chickpeas in separate containers in the refrigerator. Then simply reheat in the microwave when ready to enjoy.
We find it keeps for about 3-4 days.
Vegan Butter Chickpeas
- 1 yellow onion (or white or sweet)
- 15 oz. can chickpeas
- 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
- 14 oz. can coconut milk (regular, unsweetened)
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (creamy, natural)
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 1/3 Tbsp. curry powder (1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp.)
- 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder*
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
- 1 Tbsp. tamari
- Cooked brown rice (and/or flatbread), cashews, cilantro for garnish
- Cook your rice according to package instructions. (Or prepare it ahead of time so it's ready to go.)
- Dice onion.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté onion for 7-8 minutes. (I use 3 Tbsp. water/broth for no-oil sauté method, adding more as needed.)
- When onion is softened, add the curry powder (more/less as desired), garlic powder, and smoked paprika (or other seasonings of choice*). Stir and heat for 1 minute, adding a touch more liquid if necessary.
- Rinse and drain chickpeas. Add chickpeas and diced tomatoes (with juice) to skillet. Stir and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully add coconut milk, peanut butter, and tomato paste. Stir until well combined.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally as the sauce thickens.
- Before serving, stir in the tamari.
- Serve warm over brown rice, topped with cashews and fresh cilantro if desired.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
If you are enjoying this Butter Chickpeas recipe, also check out:
- Portobello Fajitas
- Broccoli Cashew Stir Fry
- Chickpea-Walnut Taco Crumbles
- Spring Roll Bowls with Peanut Sauce