Gluten Free | Quick (30 Minutes) | Soup and Stew | Vegetarian and Vegan

Masala Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew

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A 30-minute one-pot vegetarian or vegan chickpea stew with spices, cauliflower, tomato and spinach.

A vibrant red tomato based chickpea and cauliflower stew in a white soup pot and ladle.

This hearty stew is so tasty and easy to make, full of cauliflower, chickpeas and spinach in a base of canned pureed tomatoes.

Cook this one-dish dinner in less than an hour, anytime you crave the spicy aromas and hunger-satisfying flavors of Indian vegetarian food.

The recipe is easily adaptable for vegans, too — just use coconut oil in place of the ghee and you’re good to go.

Depending on my mood and what’s in the pantry, I play around with making different versions of chickpea masala (or chana masala).

It’s a classic Indian dish of spiced chickpeas that never fails to satisfy.

What is masala

A vibrant red tomato-based chickpea and cauliflower stew in a white soup pot and ladle, served into bowls with yogurt on the side.

The spice blends known in the Western hemisphere as “curry” powders are the same as masalas.

Indian and Southeast Asian cooking is enhanced by a huge array of herbs, spices and blends — which explains why everyone seems to love eating it.

It’s super convenient to buy pre-blended curry powders, but I also enjoy mixing up my own blends. I highly encourage you to try it!

If you keep a basic assortment of spices in your pantry, you can customize your food to suit your taste. At the same time your cooking will reach another level of flavor.

Get my free ebook: Six Simple Spice Blends

When I first cooked this dish, I was thinking about how much I enjoy eating a good tangy tikka masala sauce, which typically has a tomato base and rich, creamy texture.

I also threw in a head of cauliflower for an extra boost of vegetables, because who isn’t a fan of the outrageously good combo of chickpeas and cauliflower?!

Now let’s talk about the creaminess factor.

While I usually depend on coconut milk to add a rich mouthfeel to an Indian chickpea curry, I tried something new with this recipe.

Instead of coconut milk, the trick is to use a small amount of basmati or jasmine rice powder to thicken up the stew as it cooks. This technique results in a stew-like texture, rather than a brothy one.

Making rice powder is very simple – you can grind the rice along with the spices in a spice grinder and stir it into the pot after softening onion, garlic and ginger in ghee.

Don’t have a spice grinder? No worries — just stir some rice flour in a small bowl with the ground spices called for in the recipe.

You can also skip it altogether. Simply the cook the stew uncovered after the cauliflower becomes tender, until the stew reaches the consistency you prefer.

Ingredients you need for making masala chickpea stew: cauliflower, chickpeas, ginger, tomato paste and puree, green chili, spices and ghee.

Ingredients you need to make cauliflower and chickpea stew

  • Chickpeas (canned or home-cooked)
  • Cauliflower
  • Onion
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Ghee, butter, or cold-pressed vegetable oil such as coconut
  • Fresh green chili – I recommend serrano or jalapeno for medium-hot heat level.
  • Tomato puree and tomato paste
  • Spices: Ground cumin, coriander, paprika and cayenne
  • Basmati rice or rice flour, to thicken the stew
  • Fresh spinach

What to serve with chickpea stew

This hearty dish is deliciously nourishing served in bowls, all by itself.

  • To dress it up, stir in some whole milk plain yogurt or coconut cream.
  • Crumble roasted cashews over the finished dish for some crunch.
  • Warm up some naan bread to go alongside, or serve over hot cooked rice. I love it with a batch of Perfect Coconut Rice.
A vibrant red tomato-based chickpea and cauliflower stew in a white soup pot and ladle, served into bowls.

Storing and Freezing chickpea stew

This recipe makes enough stew to serve 4-6 people.

If you have leftovers, keep refrigerated up to 5 days.

For longer storage, portion into freezer containers and freeze 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before heating in a microwave or on the stovetop.

More simple, spiced-up vegetarian recipes:

Masala Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew

Familystyle Food
A delicious 30-minute vegetarian or vegan chickpea stew with Indian-style masala spices, cauliflower and a hearty tomato base.
Print Pin
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Soup and Stew
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

Spice blend
  • 2 tablespoons (20 g) long grain white rice, such as basmati or jasmine
  • 2 tablespoons (20 g) sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) ground coriander
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
Stew
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) ghee, butter or coconut oil
  • 1 (150 g) onion, chopped
  • 2 -inch knob ginger, peeled and grated on a rasp grater
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated on a rasp grater or in a garlic press
  • 1 fresh serrano or green jalapeno chili pepper, chopped
  • 1 (675 g) head cauliflower, 1 1/2 pounds, cut into bite-size florets
  • 2 15-ounce (850 g) cans chickpeas (or 4 cups cooked chickpeas), drained
  • 1 cup (220 g) canned tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) tomato paste
  • 4 cups (1 l) vegetable stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) kosher salt
  • 3 ounces (65 g) spinach
Options for serving:
  • Plain yogurt and chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions 

Mix the spice blend
  • Pulse the rice, paprika, cumin, coriander and cayenne in a spice grinder until the rice is powdered. *see note below
Cook the stew
  • Heat the ghee, butter or oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chili and cook 2-3 minutes, until softened. Stir in the spice blend until coated in the fat.
  • Add the cauliflower, chickpeas, tomato puree, tomato paste, stock or water and salt and stir well. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook 20-25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.
  • Drop the spinach into the pot and stir until it wilts. Serve warm in bowls, topped with plain yogurt and chopped cilantro, if you like.

Notes

Note: If you don't have a spice grinder, substitute 1 tablespoon rice flour and stir together with the spices in a small bowl.
To freeze: For longer storage, portion into freezer containers and freeze 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before heating in a microwave or on the stovetop.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 889mg | Potassium: 726mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3173IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram!!

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food!

11 Comments

  1. This is perfect for dinner when you don’t want to add meat to a dish, however, is still loaded with flavor.

  2. This is such a great pantry-friendly strew. Uses the easiest ingredients and is incredibly flavorful. Something I will definitely be making again!

  3. This looks fantastic. I absolutely love the flavors and ingredients you used here. I will definitely put this on my menu for next week. I bet my family will love it too.

  4. I’m really missing my favorite Indian restaurant, so this is a must make recipe! It looks so rich and savory!

  5. There’s something about spicy vegetable stews that always wins me over. I’ve never been a fan of brothy minestrone, I like a thicker texture. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  6. This masala Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew looks really scrumptious and it’s making me super hungry. This is perfect to have after having a tiring day. I love that it’s not only delicious but healthy as well.

  7. Just beautiful, and totally my kind of food. Everything about this recipe looks great, and I’m going to make it !

  8. That is a great looking stew! So colourful and healthy…I could use a bowl right now. Such a great option for those of us that don’t eat enough vegetables!

  9. So good! I broke out the sourdough starter and ate it with some fresh naan and paired perfectly! Love this so easy and delicious!

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