Quick Vegan Curry

This vegan curry recipe is full of healthy vegetables and big flavor: and it takes under 25 minutes! The perfect fast and easy dinner.

Vegan curry

We’re always on the lookout for fast flavorful dinners, and this one is now regular rotation. Try this quick Vegan Curry! Here, coconut milk and curry powder make healthy vegetables taste like a decadent treat. And, it takes under 25 minutes to whip up! It’s an ode to the simplicity of plant-based ingredients and great seasoning. This spin on our chickpea curry has even more veggies and nutrients without affecting the overall cook time…which is crucial on weeknights, in our book. This easy recipe comes out so delicious in such a short time: you’ll feel like a kitchen magician.

What’s a curry, anyway?

Curry is a pretty loose term. Per Bon Appetit, it was a word used by colonizers to simplify what they saw in foreign cuisines. Today, the word “curry” usually describes a dish with a spiced sauce and meat or vegetables, often eaten with rice or flatbread like naan. The dish is made in many countries, including India, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and England.

Keep in mind that curry powder is a Western invention! Curry powder takes the common spices of Indian curries and packages them into a spice blend. Authentic Indian spices are mixed up by the cook and vary based on the region and household.

Vegan curry recipe

Looking for an authentic Indian dinner?

If you’d like an authentic Indian dinner recipe, head to our Masoor Dal (Indian Red Lentils). This recipe was shared with us directly from Asma Khan, an Indian chef with a popular restaurant in London. You’ll love these creamy flavorful lentils, and you can serve with basmati rice as well! Another great resource for authentic Indian recipes is chef and author Madhur Jaffrey.

Ingredients in this vegan curry recipe

Making a curry is not part of our cultural heritage; it’s an ode to the flavors and techniques of an Indian-style tomato based curry! We hope you’ll find it’s a great way to eat lots of veggies…fast! Here’s what you’ll need to make this curry in a hurry:

  • Yellow onion
  • Bell pepper: A medium red bell pepper provides 169% of your daily vitamin C (source), so we’re always sneaking peppers into our recipes!
  • Garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Spinach
  • Chickpeas: Chickpeas add plant-based protein, helping this dish stay filling
  • Peas: Peas are also legumes and add a hit of plant-based protein
  • Olive oil
  • Fire roasted tomatoes
  • Curry powder and cumin
  • Coconut milk: While many Indian curries use dairy, some use coconut milk for creaminess, which is perfect for a vegan curry
Vegan curry

Fire roasted tomatoes…and a substitute

Canned fire roasted tomatoes are one of our secrets for quick dinners. Why? These tomatoes are charred over an open flame, making their flavor taste sweeter right out of the can. Ever tried some tomatoes that taste metallic or bitter out of the can? Fire roasted tomatoes solve that problem. They’re a type of tomato, not a brand, and you can find them in many grocery stores in the US these days.

Can’t find fire roasted tomatoes? No problem! Just use the best quality crushed tomatoes you can find. One thing we’ve found in making this vegan curry is that some brands of crushed tomatoes can be very thick. If your tomatoes are very thick, just stir in a little more coconut milk after simmering to balance out the sauce.

Serve with rice or other grains

This quick vegan curry is best served with rice or another whole grain! We like it with basmati rice, a long grain rice with an aromatic flavor that’s traditionally grown in India and the surrounding countries (Pakistan, Nepal, etc). Because of that, it’s best paired with Indian-style curries (whereas Thai curries are great with jasmine rice).

Of course, you can serve this curry with any whole grain you’d like! If you want to stray away from rice, there are lots of rice substitutes. Try quinoa, cauliflower rice, or even lentil rice (we get ours online).

Vegan curry

Another side to pair with a vegan curry

This vegan curry is so filling, you might not need a side dish! But if you’d like another side, naan bread is a nice side for an Indian-inspired curry. You can easily find packaged naan bread at the grocery, but often it’s not vegan. If you prefer, you can make our Vegan Naan Bread: it’s warm, soft and full of garlic flavor.

Make ahead and storage info

Can you make this quick vegan curry ahead? Yes! To meal prep, you can easily make it 1 day in advance and refrigerate until serving. Then just reheat it gently in a skillet, being sure not to overheat it so that the sauce doesn’t evaporate. Leftovers stay good for about 3 days in the refrigerator.

Or, you can make the rice in advance if you’re serving with rice! This is especially helpful with brown rice, which takes up to 40 minutes to make. To reheat the rice, place it in a pan on the stovetop and add a splash of water. Heat gently for a few minutes until the water evaporates and the rice is warmed through.

Vegan curry recipe

More curry recipes

This quick vegan curry is a favorite whole food dinner that we make on the regular! Here are a few more great curry recipes we love:

This vegan curry recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Vegan curry

Quick Vegan Curry


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan curry recipe is full of healthy vegetables and big flavor: and it takes under 25 minutes! The perfect fast and easy dinner.


Ingredients

Scale
  • White or brown basmati rice, to serve*
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 medium bell peppers (we used 1 yellow and 1 orange)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cups (5 ounces) baby spinach leaves (or chopped spinach)
  • 28-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)**
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (or garam masala)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice: If serving with rice, start the basmati rice (or use an Instant Pot.)
  2. Prep the vegetables: Dice the onion and bell peppers. (For super speed, you can go to Step 3 and mince the garlic and ginger while they cook.) Mince the garlic. Peel and mince the ginger (or grate it).
  3. Saute the veggies: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and peppers saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and spinach and saute for 2 minutes until the spinach is fully wilted.
  4. Simmer: Carefully pour in the crushed tomatoes and their juices, then add the curry powder, cumin, salt, chickpeas, peas, and coconut milk. Cook for 5 minutes until bubbly. Remove from the heat. If desired, stir in a little more coconut milk (depending on the tomato brand*). Serve with rice.

Notes

*Or make the rice in advance, which is helpful for brown rice because it takes longer to cook. To reheat the rice, place it in a pan on the stovetop and add a splash of water. Heat gently for a few minutes until the water evaporates and the rice is warmed through.

**Fire roasted tomatoes are a special type of canned tomato that’s become widely available at most grocery stores. If you can’t find them, use the best quality tomatoes you can. All brands vary widely: we’ve found that some can be rather thick, so in that case we stir in a little more coconut milk at the end.

  • Category: Curry
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian inspired

Keywords: Vegan curry

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Sheree
    January 5, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    My 17 year-old daughter and her dad made this for dinner last night and it was SO delicious! It took a bit more time to make than expected as my husband likes to get everything chopped, opened and ready before actually cooking and my daughter seems to start at the top of a recipe and just go! She’s learning :) Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 5, 2021 at 2:29 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

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