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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.
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.
- 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 ½ 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.
- 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.
- Stir in the tomatoes and coconut milk to make a silky sauce
- Add the chickpeas and zucchini galore and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the zucchini is tender but not falling apart.
- 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
Zucchini curry pairs beautifully with a simple pot of basmati rice. It's also great on its own.
That's absolutely fine! You don't need to change anything else in the recipe. Without the chickpeas, this makes a great side dish.
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
- Spinach and chickpea curry
- Chana masala
- Ottolenghi red lentils
- Spiced tomato soup
- Kale and chickpea stew
- 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 ⅛ 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use black (sometimes called brown) mustard seed, which is different from yellow mustard.
- 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 ½ cups of cooked chickpeas.
- 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.
- 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 ½ cup heavy cream instead of the coconut milk. It's great both ways.
- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 16.2gCarbohydrates: 19.5gFiber: 6.4gProtein: 6.2g