This Healthy Butter Chickpeas dish is a lightened-up, vegan and gluten free take on a classic Indian-style dish. You won’t miss the chicken here, this homemade dairy free curry is rich, creamy and satisfying made with coconut milk, tomatoes, chickpeas and a secret ingredient – almond butter! This healthy recipe is quick and easy to make for the perfect weeknight dinner any night of the week.
So, I did something crazy.
I took Butter Chicken and made it super healthy, super tasty and very much vegetarian.
I made Butter Chicken without chicken or butter! And I am so glad I did!
MAKING REAL FOOD EASY AND DELICIOUS WITH HEALTHY BUTTER CHICKPEAS…
This Healthy Butter Chickpeas recipe is a delicious veggie-take on an Indian classic. And believe me, you won’t be missing the chicken here. This stew-like dish is rich and creamy without any heavy cream or butter. It’s easy to make and gluten free, vegan and dairy free!
What real food ingredients will you need to make this Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe?
Don’t let the long list of ingredients fool you here. This recipe is definitely worth digging into the pantry and pulling out some staples. You’ll need a can of chickpeas, stock or water, plain tomato sauce, almond butter, coconut milk, yellow curry, cumin, cayenne, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime and honey or sugar.
What else will you need to make this recipe?
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Microplane (to grate your garlic)
- Can opener
- Large skillet
- Spatula or wooden spoon
This Healthy Butter Chickpeas dish is a lightened-up, vegan and gluten free take on a classic Indian-style dish. You won’t miss the chicken herre, this homemade dairy free curry is rich, creamy and satisfying made with coconut milk, tomatoes, chickpeas and a secret ingredient – almond butter! This healthy recipe is quick and easy to make for the perfect weeknight dinner any night of the week.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped (about 1 medium onion)
- 3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced or grated
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mild yellow curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you like it hot!)
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 15oz can plain, low sodium tomato sauce (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 19oz can low sodium chickpeas (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (freshly squeezed is best)
- 1/4 cup smooth, natural almond butter, at or close to room temperature
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (I used full fat)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (preferably unrefined sugar or honey would work too)
- Salt and extra lime juice to taste
- Rice, potato wedges, etc for serving
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, being sure not to brown, 4-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and all of the spices to the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Deglaze the pot with the vegetable stock, being sure to scrape all of the browned bits off the bottom, then add the tomato sauce, chickpeas, cilantro and lime juice, stirring until well incorporated.
- Bring tomato mixture to a simmer and cook 20-25 minutes until chickpeas and plump and tender.
- Remove from heat and stir in almond butter, coconut milk and sugar and continue stirring until smooth and streaks remain. Season with additional salt and lime juice to taste.
- Serve over brown basmati rice and top lots of fresh cilantro.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN BUTTER CHICKPEAS…
Hands down, my favourite part of this dish is the flavour! These Healthy Butter Chickpeas are beyond flavourful and all those lovely Indian spices come together so wonderfully, without being too spicy. (I can’t do that spicy heat – but if you can, add a little extra cayenne!) Here the combination of mild yellow curry powder and cumin pair perfectly together with a squeeze of lime and fresh cilantro.
My second favourite part of this dish is definitely the super unexpected and delicious secret ingredient – almond butter!
Sounds weird and maybe a liiiittle bit off, I know. But it works, I promise! It gives a super deep, rich flavour, especially if you use a roasted almond butter and together with the full-fat coconut milk, the tomato-based sauce becomes so wonderfully thick and creamy.
You really can’t taste the almond butter at all (don’t worry!) but it lends a richness that you really can’t beat.
As for other tips and tricks for this recipe, I always use canned chickpeas that have been drained, rinsed really well and patted dry because that’s what is easy for me. You can definitely cook dried chickpeas for this recipe too, I preferred the convenience of canned. And to my curry dishes, I always add a little bit of sweet to really make the flavours pop (something I think I learned Rachel Ray and The Pioneer Woman) – not too much, just a teaspoon. I use either an unrefined sugar, honey or even maple syrup would work too.
This recipe is especially unbeatable when you serve a big scoop over brown rice (or try basmati) with lots of cilantro and an extra squeeze of lime.
Or my latest obsession – over baked potato wedges!! Best. Dinner. Ever.
And if you liked this Healthy Butter Chickpeas recipe, you will LOVE this Roasted Broccoli Chickpea Quinoa Bowls this Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup and this Curried Roasted Cauliflower.
AND PIN THIS RECIPE FOR LATER!
MORE ABOUT THIS CLEAN-EATING RECIPE FOR BUTTER CHICKPEAS WITH COCONUT MILK…
I struggle with recipes like this one!
Here’s the thing…
One thing that makes me sweat, other than catching a serious spin class (which I have not done in far too long), is spicy food. I am perhaps one of the biggest baby when it comes to spicy things in my mouth. My eyes water uncontrollably. My tongue and stomach feel like they’re on fire for days. And I go into an insane hot flash throughout the entire meal.
It’s quite the scene and I try to avoid it as much as I can.
So with that being said, you can imagine I’m often not that adventurous when it comes to different foods… and different foods that have a reputation for spicy.
The struggle is real sometimes.
But I realized a little while ago that that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy all the amazing flavours of all these different Asian-style foods. Instead, I decided to only make them myself so that way I can be sure to control the amount of spicy peppers and hot sauces that make their way inside my pot. (I also get to control the quality and amount of the other ingredients that are used too!)
So now I can enjoy all the Healthy Butter Chickpeas and Coconut Curries without having to worry about crying my eyes out or having a hot flash.
Best. Dinner. Ever.
I HOPE YOU LIKE THIS RECIPE AS MUCH AS I DO! IF YOU GIVE THIS HEALTHY BUTTER CHICKPEAS RECIPE A TRY LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND BE SURE TO SHARE A PICTURE ON INSTAGRAM USING THE TAGS @ALWAYSNOURISHED AND #ALWAYSNOURISHEDFOOD. I LOVE TO SEE WHAT YOU’RE COOKING!
This Healthy Butter Chickpeas recipe was originally published in February 2017. The recipe and photos were updated in January, 2018. Thank you for supporting Always Nourished and making recipes like this one possible!