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Spinach Chickpea Curry – With Coconut, Not Tomatoes

Pan of spinach coconut curry with napkins and limes in the background.

A super quick, easy and tasty vegan main that can be on the table within twenty minutes. This spinach chickpea curry is made with coconut milk rather than tomatoes, which makes a most delicious change. Serve with rice or flatbreads.

When you want something in a hurry, tins are your friend. Add a few fresh ingredients and some spices and you have a meal fit for anyone. This spinach chickpea curry is one of my go to midweek meals.

Spinach Chickpea Curry

As with most good dinner recipes, this spinach chickpea curry starts with an onion and some oil. Gently fry the onion until translucent, then add spices. If you’re not yet feeling hungry, the aroma of frying onions and spices should do the trick. 

Tip in the coconut milk and give a good stir. Then add the chickpeas and simmer with the lid covered. It’s best to add the chopped spinach stems before the leaves as they’re a little tougher, so will take longer to cook. 

I try to go easy on the salt, so you may find that ½ tsp isn’t enough for you. Somewhere between ½ and 1 tsp should be about right. There are however, plenty of flavours going on in this curry. Just think spices, coconut and lime. So you might not need quite as much salt as you think. Just check the seasoning as you go along.

Stir this in just before you add the spinach leaves. Cover the pan and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes.

Turn off the heat but leave the lid on whilst you get the table ready and dish up the rice or flatbreads. Finally, squeeze in the lime juice just before serving. Yoghurt goes really nicely with this curry, if you fancy some. See my top tips below for other accompaniments.

Spinach Chickpea Curry Top Tips

Cooking Times

Although you can cook this spinach and chickpea curry within fifteen minutes, it’s tastier if you can leave it for a bit longer. Allow the chickpeas to simmer for an additional five minutes before adding the spinach and the flavours will have a chance to penetrate and develop further.

Pan of spinach coconut curry with napkins and limes in the background.

Can You Cook Your Own Chickpeas?

Yes, you can cook chickpeas from scratch. I boil up a batch then freeze them in tin size portions as so many recipes require tins. A 400g tin of chickpeas contains about 250g once drained of liquid. Don’t forget to keep the liquid, known these days as aquafaba. It can be used for any number of things, including vegan meringues.

Dried chickpeas normally double their weight when cooked. So for the 500g of chickpeas needed for this spinach chickpea curry, you’ll need 250g of dried.

You’ll need to soak the chickpeas overnight prior to cooking. The longer you do this, the less cooking time you’ll need. So I try and soak mine for twenty four hours. Rinse them well, place in a lidded pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, place the lid on top and simmer for an hour. Try a chickpea. If it’s not soft, continue to cook until the whole batch is done to your liking. But be careful not to overcook to the point of disintegration. 

You can keep the cooking water as aquafaba and use it just as you would the tinned stuff.

What Can You use Instead of Spinach?

Kale and most types of cabbage work really well if you can’t get hold of spinach or don’t like it. Likewise you could substitute chard, beetroot or turnip tops. Nettles make a great spinach substitute when they’re in season too.

All but the turnip tops will need a longer cooking time though. So add them at the same time as you add the chickpeas and test for tenderness before turning the heat off. They may need an extra few minutes.

Coconut or Tomatoes?

A surprising number of people are allergic to tomatoes. So coconut milk can be a very welcome alternative. Moreover, it makes for a particularly creamy and delicious chickpea spinach curry. But a tin of coconut milk is more expensive. You can easily substitute a tin of tomatoes if you prefer. You may, however, need to add a little water if the curry is looking too dry.

What do You Serve with Spinach Chickpea Curry?

For a quick midweek meal, this chickpea and spinach curry is excellent served with just rice or flatbreads. If, however, you want a proper curry night or you’re entertaining, it makes a great centrepiece for a larger spread. Just sprinkle some chopped coriander over the top.

Bowl of spinach coconut curry with rice. Napkins and limes in the background.

Cauliflower and potato curry is a nice foil as is a mixed vegetable curry. Chutney is a must. Although mango chutney is traditional, I find my spiced apple chutney works a treat. A green salad can freshen things up. And a bowl of cucumber and mint raita is always welcome.

If you’re planning on accompanying the curry with rice, put the rice on to cook before you start on the curry. They should then both be ready at the same time.

Other Chickpea Recipes You Might Like

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this spinach chickpea curry or a variant of it, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

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Spinach Chickpea Curry. PIN IT.

Spinach Chickpea Curry.

Spinach Chickpea Curry – The Recipe

Pan of spinach coconut curry with napkins and limes in the background.
Print Pin
5 from 9 votes

Spinach Chickpea Curry

A super quick, easy and tasty vegan midweek main that can be on the table within twenty minutes. Serve with rice or flatbreads.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chickpeas, curry, easy, quick, spinach, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 540kcal


  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion - finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 red chilli - seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 2 cm knob ginger - finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tsp favourite curry powder (I used madras for this one)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 400 g tin coconut milk
  • ½ tsp sea salt - or to taste
  • 500 g cooked chickpeas (2 x 400g tins - drained)
  • 250 g mature spinach - well washed
  • 1 lime - juiced


  • In a large pan, fry the onion in the oil over a gently heat until translucent - about three minutes.
  • Turn the heat up a little and add the cumin seeds, garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir and fry for a couple of minutes or so.
  • Add the curry powder, turmeric, coconut milk and salt. Give a good stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the chickpeas, cover the pan and simmer for four minutes.
  • Chop the spinach stems into 2-3 cm lengths and add to the pot. Place the lid over the top and simmer for three minutes. Roughly chop the spinach leaves and throw in. Cover and simmer for a further three minutes.
  • Turn off the heat. Leave covered for a further two minutes. Squeeze in the lime juice, stir and serve with rice or flat breads.


Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.


Calories: 540kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Sodium: 368mg | Potassium: 1092mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 6001IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 159mg | Iron: 8mg


I’m sharing this recipe for spinach chickpea curry with A Strong Coffee for #CookBlogShare.


  1. Helen @

    19th May 2020 at 2:59 pm

    This looks delicious – I love coconut in a curry!
    #CookBlogShare 😀

    • Choclette

      20th May 2020 at 7:21 am

      Me too Helen, though I’m also a big fan of tomatoes too.

  2. Chloe Edges

    19th May 2020 at 10:21 pm

    Yum! I almost always make coconut based curries and love throwing in chickpeas and spinach too so this is right up my alley!

    • Choclette

      20th May 2020 at 7:23 am

      Love it too. Coconut gives curries such a creamy lush taste.

  3. angiesrecipes

    20th May 2020 at 5:04 am

    Looks really nice for a vegetarian meal!

    • Choclette

      20th May 2020 at 7:24 am

      I could happily eat this every night for a week Angie, but I’d better not or I might never want to eat it again.

  4. Natalie

    21st May 2020 at 4:20 pm

    This curry looks absolutely delicious. So healthy, flavorful and satisfying. I will definitely give this a try. Saved the recipe. Thanks!

    • Choclette

      21st May 2020 at 6:56 pm

      It’s a winner of a curry, mostly because it uses tins and is, therefore, super quick.

  5. Ramona

    21st May 2020 at 4:54 pm

    This chickpeas and spinach curry looks so delicious and I love the coconut base. I am saving this recipe. Need to make it immediately. Soo good!

    • Choclette

      21st May 2020 at 6:55 pm

      Coconut makes the best curry, especially if it’s paired with something sharp like lime.

  6. Joanna

    22nd May 2020 at 10:01 am

    The perfect easy supper – I love coconut in both savoury and sweet recipes.

    • Choclette

      22nd May 2020 at 4:36 pm

      Me too, it adds delicious flavour as well as texture, be that creamy milk or crunchy desiccated coconut in cakes.

  7. Michelle Rolfe

    23rd May 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Looks delicious Choclette. I always seem to head to tomatoes to add to curries and forget how much I love coconut based ones. Not to mention the ease of this. Thanks for linking up to #CookBlogShare. Michelle x

    • Choclette

      23rd May 2020 at 7:27 pm

      Well tomatoes are pretty good too and a lot cheaper, but coconut does make it extra special.

  8. Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    25th May 2020 at 10:45 am

    I love this kind of easy peasy curry – especially as I am a huge fan of coconut milk! I make something very similar to this actually, only my version has potato and cauliflower in it too 😀 Eb x

    • Choclette

      25th May 2020 at 3:57 pm

      Well you can’t have too many vegetables and that sounds delicious too. I keep dreaming of inviting a load of folk around for a curry feast and what dishes there’d be. This would definitely be one of them.

  9. Jacqui – Recipes Made Easy:Only Crumbs Remain

    25th May 2020 at 11:15 am

    Looks delicious Im going to make it next time I get some spinach in my veg box.

    • Choclette

      25th May 2020 at 3:57 pm

      It’s really good Jacqui and so quick and easy too. Go for it.


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