Vegan Life > Recipes > Dinner > Chickpea Curry with Cashew Cream

Chickpea Curry with Cashew Cream

January 12, 2021

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Two bowls of chickpea curry closeup with rice

A "curry" dish is hard to define, since it can use many types of sauces (or no sauce), and many different spice blends. Many of the chickpea curry recipes on the internet are some form of the American version of channa masala, made with garam masala (a blend of cumin, coriander, and other spices), tomatoes, and a coconut milk base.

In this dish, I wanted to create something slightly different, so I used a spice blend that contains more turmeric (similar to Caribbean curries). I also used raw cashews as a base for the creamy sauce. Turmeric is a root that's related to ginger. Both turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties, so I love adding them to my dishes. As Hippocrates said, "let thy food be thy medicine."

This dish is nutritious in more ways than one, however. The chickpeas and cashews are good sources of protein, and serving them with rice increases the protein content. The flavors come from lots of spices instead of unhealthy ingredients (although I did include some maple syrup in this recipe, feel free to leave it out if you would like to avoid sugar)!

The spice mix in this recipe can be adapted to your individual tastes. Increase or omit the cayenne to change the level of heat. And feel free to leave out spices you don't like and add or increase others that you do like! Add lime juice if you want a bit of acidity.

You can also use different proteins or vegetables in place of chickpeas. Try the sauce with my crispy tofu recipe, or just pan-fry some chunks of extra firm tofu. Sweet potatoes, green peas, and bell peppers also work well with this creamy curry sauce.

While this dish might be normally served at lunch or dinner, the leftovers make one of my favorite breakfasts. It's delicious on toast, a bagel, or naan.

Chickpea Curry in bowl with rice and cashews behind

Chickpea Curry with Cashew Cream

5.00 stars from 2 reviews

Yield4 servings

Prep Time20 minutes

Cook Time25 minutes

Total Time45 minutes


  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. safflower oil or coconut oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced (about 1 medium onion)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger root, minced
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced (about 6 garlic cloves)
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced (about 2 medium tomatoes)
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) (15.5 oz / 439 g)
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (coriander), chopped
  • rice or naan, for serving

Spice blend

  • 1 tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne*
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves


  1. Blend pre-soaked cashews (soaked for 2 hours, or boiled for 10 minutes) with 3/4 cup water until smooth (2-4 minutes, depending on your blender). Add 1 tbsp. tomato paste and blend until evenly distributed. Set aside.

  2. Add oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook diced onion until it just begins to brown (about 5 minutes). Then add garlic and ginger and cook another minute.

    Diced onion in a saucepan, just browned
    Add garlic and ginger after your onion is just browned, as shown here.
  3. Add your spice blend to the pan (turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cayenne, cinnamon, and cloves), and allow to cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then add diced tomatoes and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a splash of water when you add the tomatoes, or as they cook, to keep them from drying out.

    Adding water to onions, garlic, and ginger
    Any time your curry gets too dry and begins to stick to the pan, add some water and stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add chickpeas, creamy cashew-tomato sauce, maple syrup, and salt to the pan, and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Taste and add spices or salt as desired.

  5. Stir chopped cilantro into the curry and cook for 1 minute longer. Serve with basmati rice or naan.

Notes & Hints

Soak your cashews in water for 2 hours, or boil them for 10 minutes. You don't need to soak your cashews if you have a high-speed blender.

This recipe has a mild level of spiciness; for medium heat, use 1/4 tsp. cayenne, or for no heat, omit cayenne.

If your ingredients get too dry at any point during cooking, add a splash of water to the pan.

Turmeric will temporarily stain anything it comes in contact with, including countertops, appliances, dishes, and your hands. Be careful when using it!

I recommend chopping all your vegetables and measuring your spices before starting this recipe, so that each ingredient is ready to go when you need it.

The spice blend can be adapted to your tastes. I often get the best results through experimentation!

If you can't find fenugreek (or another spice) at your local supermarket, you should be able to find it at an Asian grocery store, or you can order it online.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

Nutrition Data

Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe; Calories: 281Fat: 11 g.; Saturated Fat: 1 g.; Cholesterol: 0 mg.; Sodium: 565 mg.; Carbohydrates: 37 g.; Fiber: 7 g.; Sugar: 10 g.; Protein: 10 g.; Vitamin A: 34 mcg. RAE; Vitamin B12: 0 mcg.; Vitamin C: 13 mg.; Vitamin D: 0 mcg.; Calcium: 34 mg.; Iron: 4 mg.; Potassium: 556 mg.; Zinc: 1 mg.

Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.

Four vegan dishes: Creme Brulee, Detroit-style pizza, General Tso's Tofu, and Lemon Tart

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Two bowls of chickpea curry with a spice dish and cashews, overhead

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