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bowl of butter chickpeas next to ripped naan

Vegan Butter Chickpeas

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5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This recipe for "Butter Chickpeas" is inspired by the classic Indian restaurant dish butter chicken (murgh makhani). We've swapped the meat for hearty chickpeas but retained the creamy spiced tomato and cream sauce. This is a dairy-free dinner that is ready in just 20 minutes, and it's something that the whole family will love! Serve with rice and naan for a festive Indian dinner.


Units Scale

For the aromatic spice blend:

  • .25 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp coriander (whole seeds freshly ground, if possible)
  • .25 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 TBS freshly grated ginger (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal if possible)

For the rest of the dish:

  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 3 TBS coconut oil (refined or not, it does not make a huge difference)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped finely
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 4 large cloves garlic, grated
  • .25 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 TBS lemon juice


  1. To begin, combine all spices in a small bowl and set aside. This will make it easier to add them all at once later.
  2. Add to a heatproof bowl one half cup boiling water and cashews. Let sit for 10 minutes to soften while you prepare other ingredients.
  3. To a large pot over medium heat add coconut oil (no need to melt it before measuring, just an estimate of 3 TBS is fine). This will be the base of our "buttery" flavor. Add onion and salt and stir, sautéing for about 5 minutes until onion is beginning to take on color. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Turn heat to medium low as needed to prevent burning.
  4. Add in premixed spices to stir to combine. Let cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. This is a process known as "blooming" your spices. Next, add tomato paste and stir, letting cook for about 1 more minute. be sure to watch that it does not burn.
  5. Blend reserved cashews and water in a high speed blender until a smooth sauce forms, adding more water if needed. Add cashew cream to the pot with tomato paste and aromatics.
  6. Add 2 cups of water to the pan along with chickpeas. Bring this mixture up to a rapid simmer before removing from stove and adding in lemon juice. Serve warm with basmati rice or naan!
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stirring
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • Serving Size: One fourth of recipe
  • Calories: 269 calories
  • Sugar: 6.6 grams
  • Sodium: 762 mg
  • Fat: 15.9 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 9.3 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6.6 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 25.9 grams
  • Fiber: 6.2 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams