eggplant chana masala in a bowl

Quick Eggplant Chana Masala (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

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This eggplant chana masala is perfect for a quick & easy cozy dinner. It’s creamy, filling, made in one pot, vegan, and gluten-free!

eggplant chana masala in a bowl

Chana masala is a popular Indian dish made with chickpeas (“chana”) cooked in a flavorful tomato-based gravy infused with lots of spices (“masala”). I’ve taken this classic Indian dish and added my own twist to it, making it creamier, heartier, and even more satisfying than the original. Take your traditional chana masala up a notch with this quick & easy dish made plant-based, gluten-free, and ready in about 30 minutes!

ingredients to make eggplant chana masala

Ingredients

This eggplant chana masala uses a combination of traditional Indian spices and a little *secret ingredient* to create a stew that’s creamy, flavorful, and so satisfying!

  • Eggplant & Chickpeas ⟶ I used an American globe eggplant since that is what’s available near me, but Asian eggplants would also be tasty! Use about 2-3 small ones.
  • Tomatoes & Tomato Paste ⟶ Tomatoes are full of umami so you’ll see these a lot in my stews.
  • Onion, Garlic, & Ginger ⟶ The aromatic trio that forms the base of many Indian (and other cuisines’) dishes.
  • Garam Masala, Coriander, Cumin, & Turmeric ⟶ These spices are very common in Indian cooking and can often be used in other cuisines as well (excluding garam masala, which you can actually make yourself from a few spices you may have on hand). So I highly recommend stocking these in your pantry.
  • Coconut Milk ⟶ Not very common in traditional Indian cuisine, but I love adding coconut milk to my curries and stews to make them a little creamy. It makes this dish a lot more satisfying.
  • Japanese Worcestershire Sauce* ⟶ Japanese Worcestershire sauce is sweeter than regular Worcestershire sauce, being made primarily from fruits, vegetables, and vinegar. It adds a lovely contrast to the spice in this chana masala, so I highly recommend adding it if you have some!
    • If you don’t have Japanese Worcestershire sauce available, you can add sugar instead. Start with a teaspoon and adjust to taste. For the future, you can make your own Japanese Worcestershire sauce — recipe coming soon!

Eggplant Chana Masala FAQ’s & Tips

Can I make it without eggplant?
You can absolutely turn this into a regular chana masala by omitting the eggplant and doubling up on the chickpeas! Just make sure to serve it with some veggies on the side — or throw in a couple handfuls of spinach/kale at the end of cooking and let the greens wilt.

Is this eggplant chana masala gluten-free?
This dish is naturally gluten-free! Serve with rice or gluten-free flatbread.

What if I don’t have some of the spices?
In a pinch, you can substitute curry powder for the coriander, cumin, and turmeric. If you don’t have garam masala, you can also try subbing with curry powder, or make your own blend. Please be aware changing the spices will alter the flavor of the final dish, but it will still be delicious!

If you have time, roast the eggplant!
I wanted this to be a one pot, quick and easy dish, so I have not included steps for this in the recipe card (maybe in a future recipe?). But if you have time, roasting the eggplant first is a great way to add another depth of flavor to this dish. Chop the eggplant, season with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake at 425°F for about 30 minutes or until soft and slightly charred. Mash and add to the stew and simmer for about 10 minutes. *chef’s kiss* Perfection.

squeezing a lemon wedge to add drops of lemon juice into a bowl of eggplant chana masala

More Hearty Soups & Stews

eggplant chana masala in a bowl with a spoon, lemon wedges on the side

If you try out this eggplant chana masala, don’t forget to leave a comment/rating down below and tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking! I love seeing all of your tasty recreations 🙂 Happy cooking!

Eggplant Chana Masala

This eggplant chana masala is perfect for a quick & easy cozy dinner. It's creamy, filling, made in one pot, vegan, and gluten-free!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Indian, Vegan
Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 globe eggplant chopped
  • ½ yellow onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1 ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander
  • ¾ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 pinch of cayenne optional
  • 1 ¾ cups (15 oz can) cooked chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½-1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp Japanese Worcestershire sauce** optional
  • salt to taste

Garnishes

  • chopped cilantro
  • lemon wedges

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender and translucent, 3-5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the spices (garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne) and stir constantly for 30 seconds, mixing everything well.
  • Add chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato paste, coconut milk, ½ cup vegetable broth, and Japanese Worcestershire sauce (if using). Stir to combine. For a thinner stew, add an extra ½ cup of vegetable broth.
  • Bring to a boil then lower to simmer over medium low heat until the eggplant is very soft (about 15-20 minutes).
  • Use a fork to mash some of the eggplant chunks. This creates a thicker, creamier stew.
  • Taste and add salt as needed. Serve with chopped cilantro and lemon juice.

Notes

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE: Not authentic obviously, but I love adding a little bit of Japanese Worcestershire sauce for a touch of sweetness and little extra depth. However, you can also add 1-3 tsp of sugar (adjust to taste) or omit entirely.
Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate.

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