The Grumpy Garbanzo vegan food for real life

Chickpea Saag

This chickpea saag is for those of you who are intimidated by Indian cooking. Up until recent experimentation with garam masala, an Indian spice mix, I was one of you. Garam masala is your secret weapon in this dish because you don't need to bother with spice ratios; simply sprinkle the stuff over your chickpeas and spinach and call yourself a chef. The mix contains cumin, coriander, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. While some of spices may sound like they belong in a gingerbread recipe instead of a savory dish, don't question it. The spices trick you into thinking you're eating something much more interesting than a bowl of spinach and legumes. Brown rice and chickpeas fill you up while cooked spinach allows you to eat way more greens than you could manage with a salad. The brief ingredients list and short cook time make this ideal for weeknight dinners or meal–prepping for weekday lunches. If Indian food is within your cooking comfort zone, I challenge you to step out of it by experimenting with a new type of cuisine. But either way, make this dish. It's delicious.






vegan butter

garam masala



brown rice


Sauté onion in vegan butter over medium heat.

Add garlic and continue to sauté.

Finely chop spinach and rinse chickpeas thoroughly.

Add chickpeas to the pan, sprinkling in spices and lime juice to taste as they cook.

Stir in chopped spinach and cook until reduced.

Serve over rice.

What did I use and why?

I used Earth Balance vegan buttery spread instead of oil because traditional saag recipes commonly call for butter. Vegan butter brings a rich, comforting flavor to the dish that compliments the spices and acidity. I added extra coriander because I initially didn't realize it was in the garam masala, but I will continue to do so since this turned out so well.

I used canned chickpeas for ease.