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Easy chickpea and vegetable curry with quinoa

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Chickpea and vegetable curry with quinoa

I’ve been craving for a simple vegetarian dinner that I could just whip up in the matter of 30 minutes, and so this very easy chickpea vegetable curry recipe with quinoa was born. Let not the simplicity of this dish fool you, though: it is still a very filling veggie dish, and it rightfully deserves to be called a main course. You won’t go hungry after enjoying curry flavors, chickpeas, mushrooms, and spinach in a creamy coconut broth, on top of protein-rich quinoa.

Chickpea and vegetable curry with quinoa

Easy chickpea and vegetable curry with quinoa

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


Easy chickpea and vegetable curry with quinoa


  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl oz or 400 mL)
  • 1 can chick peas (15 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon or more brown sugar
  • 1 quarter lemon squeezed or more
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 bunch spinach, cleaned
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water


  1. Heat coconut milk in a large pan until it boils and reduce heat to simmer. Add next 7 ingredients to the coconut milk: chickpeas, red curry paste, tomato paste, brown sugar, lemon juice, chili powder, basil. Mix everything together until even consistency.
  2. Add spinach, chopped green onions and sliced mushrooms to the coconut milk mixture, bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a separate pan, combine 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked and fluffy.
  4. Note: If you like your curry a bit runny, add a little bit of water in the end to reach the desired consistency. If reheating the next day, you will likely have to add a touch of water to the curry as it will thicken overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. To serve, place a scoop of quinoa into the middle of each plate. Top with chickpea curry.



green onions

Green onions

chickpea curry sauce

Mixing in all ingredients for chickpea curry sauce

chickpea curry sauce

Adding red curry paste to chickpeas and coconut milk


Cooking quinoa




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{ 84 comments… add one }
  • Denise [email protected] Brazil To You February 25, 2013, 6:59 am

    Julia: I am drooling just thinking about the creaminess and aroma of this curry. It looks fantastic!

  • Ashley February 25, 2013, 3:30 pm

    Some of my favorite veggies and chickpeas in a creamy coconut broth?? Sounds amazing! I’m still not sold on quinoa but with something like this on top maybe I’ll come around : )

  • [email protected] February 25, 2013, 5:56 pm

    Love, love, love the ingredients in this! And I’ve become an absoulte fanatic about cooking with quinoa. It turns out great everytime. Unlike rice, which I have a habit of turning to mush.

    • eat well and sleep March 3, 2013, 1:31 am

      Delia Smith has the best method for cooking rice. My Mum’s got a cook book of hers from way back. Its the only recipe I’ve ever used cos it works every time. Use twice as much boiling water as you have rice, put a lid on it and simmer for about 10 mins, until the water has been absorbed (depends if you’re cooking long grain or basmati). This is white rice. Brown rice I’m not so confident with. The Delia recipe can be found

    • monika February 28, 2014, 11:30 pm

      I rinse my rice 3 times before I cook it and I find it doesn’t go mushy, this how my mother always cooked it. Makes perfect rice every time. Use twice as much water as rice and bring the water to a boil before you put the rice in. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook until all wanted is absorbed.

  • Hungry Huy February 25, 2013, 10:03 pm

    Hey, that pan looks familiar! I use the same one for my quinoa :).

    The smell of curry makes me feel at home for some reason… The only thing is it makes everything I’m wearing smell like it for about a day too. What kind of curry paste are you using? Where might we find some? Looks great Julia!

  • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen March 2, 2013, 6:27 pm

    This is certainly a vegetarian dish I look forward to eating! I love every single ingredient in this recipe. Except for the mushroom, I even have everything in my pantry and fridge right now.

  • eat well and sleep March 3, 2013, 1:16 am

    Thanks for this recipe Julia, the top image is awesome, amazing presentation. I’m gonna try this today, bet my plate doesn’t look anywhere as neat as yours haha. Quinoa will be a first for me so looking forward to trying it. I might leave out the sugar though as we’re on a pretty strict diet. Will the dish be greatly affected if I do this?

    • Eat Well & Sleep March 3, 2013, 2:13 pm

      Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as yours – I uploaded a pic to the blog. It may not have been as aesthetically pleasing, but by golly did it taste good! Thanks again for the awesome recipe. I had great fun making this.

      • Julia March 3, 2013, 3:08 pm

        Well, I just checked your blog post with your photo – yours came out exactly like mine did! It looks great. I like how runny it is on your photo, which is, I forgot, what I did to mine, too, after I took the photos.

    • Julia March 3, 2013, 3:06 pm

      I add sugar to compensate for sourness and tartness of tomato paste and lemon juice, but if you’re on no-sugar diet, omitting it won’t affect the flavor that much.

  • Jill March 3, 2013, 12:21 pm

    Love this idea of using red curry with chickpeas (my favorite bean).

    • Julia March 3, 2013, 3:09 pm

      Yes, I love chickpeas a lot and plan to do more recipes with them.

  • Stephanie September 6, 2013, 6:23 pm

    I’m anxiously waiting to enjoy my creation of this recipe but the quinoa is taking FOREVER!!! Are you sure that it is 4 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa?? It’s been simmering for nearly an hour and has the consistency if runny porridge πŸ™

    • Julia September 7, 2013, 6:13 pm

      Hi Stephanie, I am not sure why I put 4 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa here. It’s definitely too much water (unless you boil the quinoa all the way, without simmering). It should be about 2 cups of water to 1 cup quinoa. Sorry for your runny porridge πŸ™ – I will update the recipe :).

  • Lexi November 17, 2013, 8:32 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight! It was delicious! and filling! Next time I’ll add a lot more chili powder though, I love spicy :p

    • Julia November 22, 2013, 6:14 pm

      Lexi, so glad to hear you liked this recipe! I love anything with chickpeas! I actually like it much spicier as well and often up the amount of chili powder I use! πŸ™‚

  • Janet November 27, 2013, 1:42 am

    Our daughter made this tonight for her boyfriend and my husband and I had a taste….WOW was it ever GOOD! Asked my daughter to send me the recipe so I can make this for dinner. Thank you very much!

    • Julia December 7, 2013, 4:07 am

      Janet, so glad your family liked it! And thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

      • Mike December 15, 2013, 3:38 pm

        How many ounces of coconut milk is needed? am I missing it. Did not see how much.

        • Julia December 19, 2013, 2:34 pm

          Mike, here is how much coconut milk I used – 13.5 fl oz (400 mL) – a whole standard size can.

  • Jennifer December 14, 2013, 8:10 pm

    I just made this and love it. I will, definitely, be making this again and again. Thanks, Julia!

    • Julia December 19, 2013, 2:37 pm

      Thank you, Jennifer! It makes me very happy to read comments like yours! πŸ™‚

  • Susie January 8, 2014, 8:31 pm

    Made this tonight and we LOVED it! Even my 18 month old gobbled it up πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to make it again!

    • Julia January 9, 2014, 2:33 pm

      Oh mine, even an 18-month-old ate it! πŸ™‚ That’s the definition of success! πŸ™‚ Thank you for your sweet comments, and I am very glad you enjoyed this recipe as well (in addition to pumpkin curry)

  • Jacqueline January 19, 2014, 4:45 pm

    Question! Would you freeze a portion of this if you made too much?

    I tried it tonight and it was sublime! However, there’s still a big chunk left and I also pre-cooked some other things for the rest of the week but I’m not sure if it would be advisable to freeze some of this dish for a later “fast food” frenzy…..

    Thanks anyway, for this recipe πŸ™‚

    • Julia January 20, 2014, 2:38 pm

      I have not frozen this, but I think it will be OK if frozen. The only thing I would be worried about here is coconut milk and quick internet search just revealed to me that people freeze coconut milk all the time with great results, so this recipe should be OK!

      • Jacqueline January 21, 2014, 7:41 am

        Thanks! I put a portion into the freezer to test if it works or not.

        Also did a quick google search and saw that many people freeze curries with or without coconut milk. Entirely new to this. Just started to prepare meals ahead as my job will require a few extremely busy months.

        Will let you know about the result once I deforst it.

        • Julia January 22, 2014, 2:49 pm

          Great! Would love to know.

  • Becca February 10, 2014, 1:27 pm

    Would it be okay to use a yellow curry powder instead of a red paste?

    • Julia February 10, 2014, 2:38 pm

      I don’t think yellow curry powder will work – it has a very different flavor and even a different color. Personally, I think yellow curry powder has a very strong and a very specific flavor which doesn’t go that well with coconut milk.

  • Lauren March 21, 2014, 2:27 pm

    This is one of my favorite recipes… like EVER. Gave you a little shout out on my blog today!!! xoxo Lauren | http://www.blissfulhappenings.com

  • Beth April 23, 2014, 5:11 pm

    I made this last night and it was delicious. It was soupy enough that I ended serving it as a “curry/quinoa soup” in pasta bowls. I did change a few things — I used yellow curry paste (not powder) instead of the red, I added 1/2 of the green onions and all of the spinach in the last few minutes because I prefer them lightly cooked. I amped up the lemon juice and sugar. My two children and husband happily ate it up. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Julia July 8, 2014, 2:51 pm

      I also often prefer to add green onions or spinach in the last few minutes, because it takes so little time for spinach to wilt and it tastes great just barely cooked, too! πŸ™‚ Using yellow curry paste is a great idea!

  • Melissa April 26, 2014, 9:28 pm

    Great recipe….thanks! Next time I think I might add a few potatoes too πŸ™‚

    • Julia July 8, 2014, 2:49 pm

      Yes, adding the potatoes – love the idea!

  • CeCe May 9, 2014, 11:37 am

    Making this for Mother’s Day Brunch! Best of all I have all the ingredients right now…no shopping needed! Looks so yummy can’t wait! Thanks for sharing!

    • Julia July 8, 2014, 2:48 pm

      CeCe, thank you for you sweet comment! πŸ™‚

  • kell June 5, 2014, 1:47 pm

    Did you use dried basil or fresh basil?

    • Julia July 8, 2014, 2:48 pm

      I used dried basil.

  • ClevelandPoet June 30, 2014, 4:34 pm

    I know what my meatless Monday dish is going to be.

  • Kelley Shope July 10, 2014, 11:29 am

    I made this last night. It was super easy and super delicious! The recipe can also be very versatile. You could add shredded chicken for an extra protein boost, diced potatoes, carrots, pea pods, etc. I added the spinach in the last five minutes. Added a little more red curry paste than called for, amd also added some chili flakes for hear. Next time I will add a sliced jalapeΓ±o. Mmmmmmm!

    • Julia July 14, 2014, 2:52 pm

      Thanks, Kelley, – I am glad you enjoyed the recipe! πŸ™‚ You’re right there is a lot of room for creativity with this recipe! Chicken is always a welcome addition, and diced potatoes would be so good too!

  • Saskia July 20, 2014, 10:32 am

    This looks so good. I love chickpeas. How big a can of chickpeas did you use?

    • Julia July 23, 2014, 10:49 pm

      Good question! I can’t believe I just left it at “1 can of chick peas”. I used 15 oz can. I updated the recipe, too.

  • Saskia July 25, 2014, 12:25 pm

    I made this for dinner and it is delious. I halved the ingredients (since it just me) and there is enough left for tomorrow. I added some potatoes and added more lemonjuice.

    Will make it again.

    Who says heathly can’t be tasty

    • Julia August 7, 2014, 3:05 pm

      Could not agree more – healthy should be tasty! Potatoes are so good in curries – you’re making me hungry as I am picturing potatoes in this curry – might have to make it tonight! πŸ™‚

  • Shopper in Texas August 15, 2014, 8:21 am

    Made this for my vegetarian daughter last night and it was really good! The sauce is a bit on the sweet side, so my only change would be to decrease brown sugar next time and increase lemon juice. We served it over jasmine rice…delicious.

    • Julia August 18, 2014, 3:01 pm

      I am glad you enjoyed it! Yes, the sauce could be on a sweeter side, especially if you use milder red curry paste. My red curry paste is pretty spicy, so I like to add extra sugar to balance it. πŸ™‚

  • Myra August 28, 2014, 7:38 am

    This was wonderful. I did double the recipe for my heard, but lovely flavor and truly versatile.

    • Julia September 4, 2014, 2:41 pm

      Myra, thank you for stopping by! I am glad your family likes this recipe. Love combining coconut milk with Asian flavors! Never fails.

  • Christine September 2, 2014, 5:49 pm

    Making this for dinner again tonight (3rd or 4th time since I pinned this recipe). Wonderful combination of flavors and textures!!

    • Julia September 4, 2014, 2:39 pm

      Christine, WOW, I am so glad you’re enjoying this recipe!

  • Tessa October 12, 2014, 5:40 am

    Just made this for dinner. I added a green pepper and because I didn’t have any green onions just a normal Brown one. Wow! It was delicious! Great recipe!

    • Julia October 14, 2014, 3:06 pm

      Tessa, glad you liked it!

  • Aggie November 6, 2014, 1:17 pm

    This is delicious! Thank you for the recipe.
    I made mine as one pan dish, adding the quinoa to the sauce. It tastes great, next time I will make more sauce. 2 thumbs up!!

    • Julia November 11, 2014, 3:20 pm

      Aggie – so glad you liked it! πŸ™‚ Great winter food!

      • Omar January 19, 2015, 7:45 pm

        Simply wow…We didn’t have any spinach so we used kale πŸ™‚

  • Nik November 30, 2014, 11:02 am

    The flavor and ease of this dish was A+ but the brand of curry paste I got was super spicey! I could barely eat it and we had to chuck the whole pot after because I’m sure the heat would just intensify as it sat in the fridge. Forget trying to give it to my 2 year old. I’m gonna give it another go but try to find a different paste or use way less. My husband could barely finish his bowl πŸ™ Once I correct the heat this will be a wonderful addition to my Meatless Mondays!

  • Tiffiny Felix January 7, 2015, 1:29 am

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was so super yum! Thanks so much!

  • Catarina January 7, 2015, 4:06 pm

    Hi! I wanted to made this dish because it looked delicious and i love all the ingredients! So i did it but i am quite sad because the taste of the coconut milk stands out , so it has a sweet and strong flavour. I did not liked the taste very much because of that. How can I make it a little bit neutral? Without tasting at coconut so much.

  • Connie January 20, 2015, 8:45 pm

    I made this tonight and loved it. I added cauliflower to the sauce and topped it with chopped cashews and cilantro delish!

  • Rebecca May 9, 2015, 7:40 pm

    Is the red curry paste the same as Thai red curry paste? Which brand did you use?

  • Jess June 17, 2015, 11:50 am

    This is a wonderful recipe. I find it even better if you add MORE veggies! Cauliflower, broccoli, peppers…anything you have in the fridge, really.

  • Jennifer July 15, 2015, 9:19 pm

    Excellent and Easy!! The husband loved it!! Thank you

  • Jessica December 10, 2015, 8:42 pm

    Just made this tonight for dinner and it was SO delicious! It was a big hit with the family. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the recipe!

  • courtney December 28, 2015, 7:38 pm

    Since going gluten and dairy free over the past year this has been one of my go-to recipes! My husband and I love it! Thank you so much!

  • Vicki March 25, 2016, 8:18 pm

    Oh my gosh, I made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! I did add garam masala, turmeric and curry as well for more Indian flavor. Such a great, healthy recipe!

  • Laura April 4, 2016, 12:06 pm

    Hi, I’m wondering if this is a spicy dish. I assume it will have some heat, but I have a spice – sensitive husband and a 3-year-old. It sounds delicious, so I’m itching to make this dish! Thanks!

  • Alison August 27, 2016, 1:47 pm

    This looks great! I just have two questions. Is the basil fresh or dried and what kind of mushrooms do you use? Oh and full fat coconut milk? Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Jordan September 22, 2016, 3:54 pm

    Dried or fresh basil? Also I have bagged spinach. How much is “a bunch?”

  • Mark October 27, 2016, 2:18 pm

    Healthy, easy and tastes great! What’s not to love. The picture you took of it looks so pretty Julia, I’ve tried to present it similarly but it’s ended up mushy. Any tips on how you make it look so aesthetically pleasing?

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