SPICED VEGAN “BUTTER” CHICKPEAS

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Is this the perfect summer-to-fall bridge meal? I’m thinking so! This is my extremely vegan take on butter chicken. We keep all the spices, the tomatoes, and the richness too (with coconut oil and cashew cream)! But we sub in chickpeas as our protein and I’m telling you: it’s magic.

I’ve used the last of my garden tomatoes for the sauce in this recipe. You could definitely use canned crushed tomatoes if yours are all gone already (or they’re out of season where you live). I just simply boiled mine so that I could slip the skins off, and then I crushed them by hand in a big bowl. It gives this saucy stew a bright and fresh note. 

This hearty main is super weeknight friendly too. It’s a basic sauté that you add spices, chickpeas, the tomatoes, and a quickly blended cashew cream to. Let it simmer for a tiny bit, adjust the seasonings to your needs, and then heat up some flatbread or put on a pot of rice. This recipe freezes well too.

Hope that you’re all enjoying this special transition season! We’ve been getting some cooler days and its making me so happy. Soup and stew weather is when I’m at my happiest :). I find this season is really potent in terms of creative energy and just motivation in general. Almost like a fresh start.

Among other things that I’m working on lately, I’ve decided to get with the times and up my email newsletter game! If you’ve signed up for my email list already, you know that you basically get a very boring notice in your inbox when a post comes up on the site with a tiny preview of the text and the recipe title. I’m hoping to share a little simple recipe every week along with an update on all of my work online, an article or two that I’m into, some things/products that are lighting me up etc! Basically a slightly condensed, more easily digestible version of my old happy hour posts. Sound good? I’m so excited for this!

Hope that everyone has a great week! Big hugs to all of you. Make these spiced vegan “butter” chickpeas! It’s guaranteed to get you in the cozy (and spooky) spirit of Fall ;)

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SPICED VEGAN “BUTTER” CHICKPEAS RECIPE

Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 4-6
NOTES: Yes, 3 tablespoons of coconut oil is a lot! We’re trying to replicate the mega creamy texture of a typical butter chicken recipe, so we need to go ALL in. Feel free to reduce the oil if you need to.
-I used unscented coconut oil because I find it to be the most “buttery” of all plant-based oils. If you don’t mind a strong coconut flavour (it would taste great!), you could certainly use virgin coconut oil.
-Maybe the maple syrup seems like a “HUH?” ingredient, but we add it to the cashew cream to evoke that natural sweetness of real dairy cream. Again, it would be fine to leave out if added sugar is a concern.
-If you’re using canned crushed tomatoes, you will need exactly 2 cups (16 ounces) for this recipe.

⅓ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
⅔ cup filtered water
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 large, ripe tomatoes (mine weighed 550 grams)
3 tablespoons unscented coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, fine dice (about 1 ½ cups diced onion)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed (from approximately 2 15-oz cans)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
chopped cilantro, for serving

In an upright, high speed blender, combine the drained cashews, water, and maple syrup. Blend on high until you have a heavy cream-like consistency, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Set a saucepan full of water over medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling, cut an “X” into the bottom of the tomatoes and gently place them into the water. Once the skin starts peeling, remove the tomatoes from the water and set aside to cool. Once cool, cut the tomatoes in half and remove the core. Then, place the tomato halves in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands. You can leave this pretty rustic as you’ll be blending the sauce later on. Set aside.

Place a large, deep skillet (or braiser) over medium heat. Add the coconut oil to the skillet and swirl it around. Add the onions to the skillet and saute until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the skillet, and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Season liberally with salt and pepper and stir. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Then, add the cashew cream and stir.

Carefully transfer the sauce to an upright, high speed blender. Carefully blend the mixture on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. Return the pureed sauce to the skillet on the stove. Add the chickpeas and stir. Bring the vegan “butter” chickpeas to a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened and clinging to the chickpeas.

Stir in the lemon juice and check the dish for seasoning. Adjust salt/pepper/spice/acidity if necessary. Top the vegan “butter” chickpeas with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rice or flatbread of choice.

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  • Misty Pittman11/09/2019 - 7:55 am

    YASSSS! I’m so on board with this newsletter upgrade. Anyone who says “newsletters are dead” is wrong. I love a good note in my inbox from my favorite peeps.

    Also, this recipe is getting made.ReplyCancel

  • Tracey11/09/2019 - 1:30 pm

    Ditto for me, i enjoy reading your newsletters.ReplyCancel

  • Jill11/09/2019 - 2:28 pm

    Yum! So perfect as we move toward fall. Looking forward to the “new” newsletter. I always click on what you send and appreciate your thoughtfulness and effort. :)ReplyCancel

  • M11/09/2019 - 10:39 pm

    This looks amazing. Are there any decent, relatively quick subs for the cashew cream? Tree nut allergies over here. ReplyCancel

    • Laura12/09/2019 - 6:48 am

      You could use 1 cup of full fat coconut milk if you don’t mind a more overt coconut flavour. I think it would be great here! You could also use 1 cup of plain, unsweetened soy creamer.
      -LReplyCancel

      • M12/09/2019 - 1:11 pm

        I love coconut, so that sounds perfect! Thank you! :-)ReplyCancel

  • jenny12/09/2019 - 8:55 am

    How many ounces of a can of crushed tomatoes do you suggest if you don’t have fresh tomatoes?ReplyCancel

    • Laura12/09/2019 - 9:18 am

      2 cups or 16 ounces of crushed tomatoes will substitute for fresh.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Tania12/09/2019 - 11:49 am

    Just made this for dinner and it was delicious! I added some veg that needed to be used up, namely butternut, spinach and cauliflower and it all came together beautifully. Thanks, Laura, for your inspiring and tasty dishes!ReplyCancel

  • Lynn Haslam12/09/2019 - 1:45 pm

    Made this for dinner. It was pretty darned good!! Don’t add extra tomatoes – perfect as written. Next time I will double the batch to freeze. ThanksReplyCancel

  • Melissa12/09/2019 - 2:51 pm

    Made this for dinner last night! It turned out soo well.

    I was low on time so I used canned tomatoes and 1 cup of full-fat canned coconut milk in place of the cashew cream. I used 2 tsp of garam masala, 1 tsp curry powder and 1 tsp of chilli powder in place of the cardamon and the coriander because I was out of both.

    It was still amazing!!!! Fast and delicious. I will be making it again soon and maybe adding cauliflower for some extra vegetables.

    Thanks for the great recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline15/09/2019 - 12:01 am

    I made this for a class at the Buddhist Center today. It was a big hit! Scaling up for 40, I’m not sure I kept the proportions well, but I’ll make it again soon for just the family and use the amounts as written. People asked for the recipe, and I sent them the link, so you may have more fans, soon.ReplyCancel

  • Dana17/09/2019 - 1:43 am

    I made this and it is absolutely wonderful!ReplyCancel

    • Elijah17/09/2019 - 3:56 am

      I Made this last night and its really good.I used a wooden salad bowl to present to our guest and they like it the taste also the presentation.ReplyCancel

  • Handpan les workshop17/09/2019 - 6:52 am

    OMG, I loved butter chicken when I still ate meat, but never found a real substitute for it. This might be it! Thanks :DReplyCancel

  • Kim H20/09/2019 - 7:52 pm

    Just ate this for dinner — DELICIOUS and so easy! Thank you, Laura, for reliable recipes that turn out as good as your photos. I did add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes onto my portion. Next time I will likely add at the same time as the rest of the spices. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • J312/10/2019 - 4:52 am

    Very interested in receiving your news letter as I find your recipes to be deliciousReplyCancel

  • Sarah Millman15/10/2019 - 1:08 pm

    Just made this and it was absolutely delicious! I didn’t have cashews, so I used the suggested alternative cup of coconut milk (I had coconut cream on hand, super rich & creamy). I also didn’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, so used an open jar of Rao’s sauce (was nervous about this, but it’s a nice sauce & I wanted to use it up. tastes great!). Finally, I had a Cha’s organic blend of Curry Masala, so I used that plus some paprika & the pinch of nutmeg – and honestly it’s so delicious! Thank you for solving my weeknight dilemma!ReplyCancel

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