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Zucchini curry with chickpeas makes a great, super-flavorful, easy weeknight meal. It’s healthy comfort food at its finest. Enjoy it right away or make it ahead. Vegan and gluten-free.

Zucchini curry with chickpeas
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Why we love this recipe

Zucchini curry with chickpeas tastes like it simmered all day, but it’s ready in under 45 minutes. It’s:

  • Full of cozy, Indian-inspired flavors
  • A perfect pair with a simple pot of basmati rice
  • Loaded with fiber and nutrients
  • Calibrated to leave you feeling satisfied without weighing you down

Makes a great vegan main dish, or omit the chickpeas and serve it as a side.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Safflower oil is my high-smoke-point, neutral-tasting vegetable oil of choice. You can substitute another oil that has similar properties, such as canola, sunflower, peanut, corn, or vegetable oil blend.
  • I sometimes use a large shallot (as pictured) instead of yellow onion. Feel free to do the same.
  • Black mustard seed (sometimes called brown) is different from yellow mustard. It has a warmer, more complex flavor profile. Black mustard seed is a frequent ingredient in Indian cooking and is well worth buying if you don’t already have it on hand. (You can type “black mustard seed” into the search bar on this site for some more great ways to use it.)
  • Small to medium-sized zucchini are easy to work with and tend to have a sweeter taste and more tender texture than their larger counterparts.
  • Canned chickpeas make this dish quick and easy, and they work great here. You can cook your own chickpeas from dried, of course, if you like. The 15.5-ounce can in this recipe equal about three and a half cups of cooked chickpeas.
  • If you’re not concerned with making this recipe vegan, feel free to substitute ghee for the oil and 1/2 cup of heavy cream for the coconut milk. Both versions are fab.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a beautiful zucchini curry. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First, you’ll sauté the onion in a little bit of oil, then add the gorgeous aromatics (ginger, garlic, and spices) that create the flavor foundation for this curry.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes and coconut milk to make a silky sauce
  3. Add the chickpeas and zucchini galore and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the zucchini is tender but not falling apart.
  4. Stir in some fresh cilantro, and it’s ready to serve. You can make this dish in advance if you like, since the flavors only improve over time.

Expert tips and FAQs

What should I serve it with?

Zucchini curry pairs beautifully with a simple pot of basmati rice. It’s also great on its own.

What if I want zucchini curry without the chickpeas?

That’s absolutely fine! You don’t need to change anything else in the recipe. Without the chickpeas, this makes a great side dish.

How long do leftovers keep?

This dish keeps well, tightly sealed in a nice cold fridge, for a week. The flavors are great right away, but once they’ve had a chance to mingle, they’re arguably even better. That makes this a great choice for meal planning and make-ahead lunches and dinners.

More favorite veggie comfort food

Zucchini curry with chickpeas

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Zucchini curry with chickpeas
4.56 from 74 votes

Zucchini Curry with Chickpeas

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Zucchini curry with chickpeas makes a great, super-flavorful, easy weeknight meal. Packed with cozy, Indian-inspired flavors, it's healthy comfort food at its finest. Enjoy it right away or make it ahead.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1- inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small jalapeño, diced, or 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 15- ounce can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 cup (237 ml) canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15.5- ounce 439 gram can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 small to medium zucchini, about 2 pounds/907 grams, diced
  • Large handful fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil for a minute over medium heat in 12-inch lidded frying pan or medium pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about five minutes.
  • Add the ginger, garlic, jalapeño or cayenne, mustard seed, cumin, turmeric, coriander, and cinnamon and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, salt, and pepper and stir well. Raise the heat to high to bring to a boil, then reduce to a brisk simmer.
  • Stir in the chickpeas and zucchini and simmer for about 20 minutes, until zucchini is tender but not falling apart.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.

Notes

  1. Safflower oil is my high-heat, neutral-tasting vegetable oil of choice. You can substitute canola, peanut, sunflower, vegetable oil blend, or any other oil with similar characteristics.
  2. I sometimes use a large shallot instead of the onion (as you can see in the video and process photos). Feel free to do the same if you like.
  3. Use black (sometimes called brown) mustard seed, which is different from yellow mustard.
  4. Canned chickpeas make this dish quick and easy, and they work great here. You can cook your own chickpeas from dried, of course, if you like. One can yields about 3 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas.
  5. If you’d prefer to omit the chickpeas and serve this as a side dish, you don’t need to make any other changes to the recipe.
  6. If you are not concerned with making this dish vegan and would like to change things up a bit, you can use ghee instead of the safflower oil and 1/2 cup heavy cream instead of the coconut milk. It’s great both ways.
  7. This curry tastes good right away but actually improves as the flavors mingle. It’s a great make-ahead dish. Leftovers keep well, tightly sealed in the fridge, for up to a week.
I originally published this recipe in 2015. I’ve updated the post and clarified the instructions, but the recipe remains the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 236kcal, Carbohydrates: 19.5g, Protein: 6.2g, Fat: 16.2g, Fiber: 6.4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Stews
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.56 from 74 votes (74 ratings without comment)

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13 Comments

  1. I love this line: “the thing I miss most is the cultural undercurrent that celebrates eccentricity.” To me, this sums up exactly why we journey outside of our comfort zones: to bask in eccentricity (our own as foreigners and that of others foreign to us). It’s such a gift and one that allows us to infuse our lives – upon our return back home – with a little more spice than they had before we left. Welcome back again!

    PS – love the recipe and I just happen to have a bundle of zucchini looking for a party.

    K

    1. Thanks, Ms. K. Totally agree with you, and it makes me happy to think of your fam taking advantage of everything that comes your way. Hope you enjoy the recipe. xx

  2. Hi there!
    Thank you for your post and honesty. “The same old things, but with longer shadows…” is so true. We returned to New Zealand last year after five years in Portland, Oregon, and while it’s great to be home, and closer to family etc etc, it’s still been really hard in many ways. From a city of 4 million to a small country village of 300 with the nearest town 30 minutes away has taken some adjusting. I completely understand your comment about how things haven’t substantially changed since you left, but by being away you have.
    Your curry sounds delicious – we have a glut of courgettes so I will try it out this weekend.
    Best
    Annie x

    1. Hi Annie, thanks for your thoughts. Wow, you were just about literally halfway across the world from home. One thing I hadn’t totally appreciated about expat life is how hard it is to coordinate FaceTime, etc. with different time zones. That was true even with five hours’ difference, never mind Oregon to NZ. Hope your transition back is going well overall.

      I’d considered not posting this recipe during our winter, but it makes me happy to remember that the southern hemisphere is flush with zucchini right now. Hope you enjoy the curry!

  3. Hi Carolyn!
    So well said. And so well written. Loved it.
    I’ve tried three times now to write what I want to say and I cannot do it as eloquently as you can! Oh Well!
    If people are set to move countries for a few years I would say that it can be very difficult and challenging if you are going from working – to not working – and back to working again. Industries change and life changes. But if you can keep ‘your life’ basically the same while in your home town, then away, and back – I think it’s easier.
    And yes the culture in London is awesome -you said it so well – and so were the wonderful friends who have really become family. You! the girls! and Jon!!!

  4. First of all, I’m thrilled to get my dose of Umami Girl regularly again. Second, I personally LOVE that you are “a little different”… prob why we get along so well. 😉 And THIRD… this looks super yummy!

  5. Interesting post. I live in Utah (where I think it goes without saying that eccentricity is not exactly celebrated.) I totally get how it would be nice to live in that kind of place, but I think I’m happily eccentric where I am!

    The curry sounds wonderful too.

    1. Thanks, Kalyn. I totally get that. But I was surprised how much else I learned about myself when I didn’t have “a little different” to lean on so much.