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

Chickpea Curry with Cashew Cream

January 12, 2021

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Chickpea curry in a bowl 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 cumin and coriander, 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 cashew cream as a base for the 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 it 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 blend in this recipe can be adapted to your individual tastes. Increase or omit the cayenne to change the level of heat. And feel free leave out spices you don't like, and add or increase others that you do like!

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.

Two bowls of chickpea curry with cilantro
This recipe makes enough chickpea curry for four people.

Chickpea Curry with Cashew Cream

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. ginger root, minced
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 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, tomato-cashew cream, 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

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!

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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Top-down view of chickpea curry in a bowl

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Steph Sunshine

Hi! I'm Steph, and I love to explore vegan food, health, and of course, the world. I'm sharing my best vegan recipes, and things I've learned and loved from my travels and health journeys.

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