Chana Masala

By Michaela Ballmann, MS RD CLT

Chana Masala - top view[1]Chana Masala is a fragrant Indian curry that is warming and nourishing due to the use of spices. A popular vegetarian dish, the hearty chickpeas provide satiating protein that pairs with fiber from the vegetables to satisfy any appetite. True superfood ingredients from garlic and onion to cilantro provide a welcome antioxidant boost to fight inflammation.

The tomatoes really make this recipe. When in season, fresh tomatoes lend their natural sweetness. All other times of the year, canned work just as beautifully. I prefer a fire roasted variety for some extra smokiness and depth of flavor.

I used to order Chana Masala when we’d go out to eat and think, “I wish I could make this at home!” Now I do and you can too! No more wishing.

This one-pot meal is a real crowd pleaser and is excellent served over brown rice or with my favorite Indian bread Paratha. Leftovers are even better as the flavors meld and intensify.Chana Masala - side[1]


1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil

3 cloves garlic

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 Tbsp whole cumin seeds

1 Tbsp turmeric

1 Tbsp garam masala

1 Tbsp chana masala spice or more garam masala

1 28oz can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted

1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 tsp salt or to taste

1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic and onion until translucent.
  2. Add cumin seeds and stir. Wait until you hear the seeds popping, then add the turmeric, garam masala, and chana masala spice mix, and stir well.
  3. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the garbanzo beans and salt and cook for about 3-5 more minutes. Add more spices or salt to taste.
  5. Mix in the cilantro directly before serving.

Michaela Ballmann MS RD - Wholify-1200[5] Michaela Ballmann MS RD CLT is a Registered Dietitian with both a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Loma Linda University. She is also a Certified LEAP Therapist assisting those with food sensitivities and molds individualized meal plans to combat inflammation and restore her clients’ wellbeing. Michaela is enthusiastic about guilt-free eating, whole person care, and nourishing food.  Her main interest is in getting people to love food, their bodies, and themselves. She reaches people through her blog, podcast, and private practice. You can also connect with Michaela on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.