Instant Pot Vegetarian Chickpea Curry | Tomato-based chickpea curry with bold Indian spices, chunks of potato, creamy coconut milk and fresh spinach. Vegetarian meal completely made in a pressure cooker, done within 20 minutes and served with basmati rice for a simple, healthy and budget-friendly weeknight meal.
Hearty chickpeas and potatoes pressure cooked in a tomato-based sauce, full of some of my favorite Indian spices. Coconut milk mellows everything out a bit and gives a nice creamy consistency and the spinach delivers some healthy greens. Those are only some of the reasons I love this dish. Here are some other reasons:
- low on prep time (just chop some onions and potatoes)
- tasty af with all those spices, I love bold food!
- easy to make in the pressure cooker
- vegetarian (I don't eat meat every single day)
Budget-Friendly Chickpea Curry
So you probably noticed that I’ve called this dish "budget-friendly". Sometimes peoples react to certain recipes being called budget-friendly with some skepticism or disbelief.
They’ll say "You call for 17 spices Jacqueline, how is that budget-friendly?"
Okay, so let's not get too excited. I do call for quite a few spices (9 actually). But one of them you can skip if you can't find it in your local grocery store. And for the rest, the actual amount you use is only about 10 cents per spice!
And second, one of the best things you can do for your cooking is investing a few dollars in spices (and use fresh herbs! They're cheap and flavor-packed!).
And I don't mean investing "Cadillac Escalade" money. I'm talking "loaf of bread" money. Budget-friendly.
For about $2-$3 per spice, you can quickly or even slowly build up your spice cupboard. Once you have a good pantry of spices, you can make so many delicious recipes!!
And curries are one of the places where I feel that the spices can carry the load of the dish. They are basically where all the flavor comes from. All we’re adding to the spices are some tinned tomatoes, some potatoes, canned coconut milk, and some spinach – all of which are pretty thrifty ingredients – BUT we’ll have AMAZING flavors – because of all those spices!
And once you have the spices built up in your pantry, you’re really only using about a dime to a quarter’s worth of each spice per recipe. So yes, I stand by my budget-friendly claim.
How much does this Instant Pot Chickpea Curry cost, per person?
Just to check, if we were to add up just the amount of ingredients we’re using for this recipe (not the cost of buying it all from scratch, just the amount you use once you have it) it would cost about $9.00 where I am currently. (I'm currently in Florida so that's $9 USD, or about $12 CAD). This recipe should feed 6 people, so that’s $1.50 per person. Fantastic! The cost of rice for 4-6 people or homemade naan bread is only a couple of dollars also, so this recipe is one you can add to your weekly menu plan. I know I'm going to.
How to Make Instant Pot Vegetarian Chickpea Curry
First, reserve ½ cup of the chickpeas to make a garnish.
Set your Instant Pot/pressure cooker settings to Saute (or use a separate frying pan over medium-high heat). Heat one tablespoon of oil, then cook the onions with the cumin seeds, (Photo 1) until softened. Add the ginger and garlic (Photo 2). Cook for about 30 to 60 seconds, while stirring constantly so nothing burns. Add the spices. (Photo 3)
Cook another minute or so, until the spices bloom and become slightly toasted and aromatic. (Photo 4) This opens up their flavors. Add a splash of water if necessary. Then add the potatoes and the chickpeas (Photo 5). Next, add the crushed tomatoes and coconut milk (Photo 6).
Stir everything together. (Photo 7) Now add the lid and lock it in place, make sure the lid is on cook, not venting (mine does this automatically when I lock the lid in place) set your Instant Pot to "Pressure Cook" on high pressure for 8 minutes. (Photo 8)
While that cooks, heat the other tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the ½ cup reserved chickpeas and fry for about 5-6 minutes, until crispy and then set aside. Once the cooking time is done on the pressure cooker, allow it to do a natural pressure release for 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure. Remove lid and stir in the spinach and lemon juice. (Photo 9)
Let sit for a minute and then serve with basmati rice and some of the crispy chickpeas. Top with fresh cilantro.
Final Note: Try to make sure that you loosen up the spices from the bottom of the pot with a splash of water. Make sure to stir the potatoes and chickpeas also. You might get a burn warning on your Instant Pot. If you do, just take the lid off, and stir the curry and then replace the lid and carry on.
Questions About Making Chickpea Curry in an Instant Pot.
I don't have all of those spices!
Most of these spices should be only a couple of dollars each. You probably have some of them. If you can't find the Amchur powder, you can skip it. You could try skipping the cumin seeds, but I really love them here. Play around with it and make your own recipe if you like.
I don't have an Instant Pot! Can I make this on the stovetop?
Yes. To do this, cook the onion and cumin seeds in a large pot with 1 tablespoon of oil until soft. And the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, chickpeas, crushed tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to boil then turn the heat down to a simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked. Add the spinach and lemon, stir and then serve with rice. Make the crispy chickpeas as in the recipe and use them as a garnish.
Is this spicy?
No, not at all. You could add cayenne pepper if you want it spicy. ¼-1/2 teaspoon should be good.
Instant Pot Vegetarian Chickpea Curry
- 2 tablespoons oil (divided)
- 1 red onion (diced)
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- ½ inch ginger (grated)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder, optional, see notes)
- 2 potatoes (peeled and cubed)
- 2 cans chickpeas (15 oz each)
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
- 1 can coconut milk (15 oz)
- 2 handfuls spinach (roughly chopped)
- juice of half a lemon
- basmati rice (to serve, optional)
- cilantro (to serve, optional)
- Keep ½ cup chickpeas back to pan fry for garnish
- Set Instant Pot to Saute. Heat oil, then cook onions with cumin seeds until softened. Add garlic and ginger and cook a further 30-60 seconds, stirring. Add all spices. Cook, stirring for a minute or so to allow spices to bloom and turn aromatic. (Add a splash of water if too dry.) Add potatoes, chickpeas, tomato and coconut milk. Stir.
- Add the lid to your Instant Pot, turn it to lock it, set the valve to cook, not release (mine does this automatically when I place the lid on and lock it in) and then set to pressure cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. It will build pressure and then cook.
- In the meantime heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Heat oil and then add chickpeas. Fry to 5-6 minutes, until crispy.
- When the cooking time is done, allow to natural release for 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure.
- Stir in spinach and the lemon juice, let sit a minute then serve with rice and top with the crispy chickpeas and fresh cilantro.
- If you can't find Amchur Powder (dried mango powder), just leave it out. It adds a sharp, tart flavor. Taste your final dish and add more lemon juice instead if you think it needs it. Or simply leave it out.