Slow Food: Vegan Chana Masala

Happy National Slow Cooking Month! But why restrict it to a month? I say it should be the year of slow cooking! Using a slow cooker is about as easy as it gets, and cooking low and slow can transform mundane ingredients into culinary delights. Slow cookers really shine when making soups and stews, and I frequently make chili in mine. Recently, I ran across a recipe for a vegan Chana Masala, and had to try making it in my Crock Pot!

One pot meals rock. This Chana Masala is full of bright, complex flavors, and if you add chopped cilantro when serving, it’s phenomenal!

I used this recipe from Simple Vegan blog – how could you go wrong with a dish titled “Simple Chana Masala”? The recipe is intended for stovetop cooking, but also works great in a slow cooker – I just puréed the garlic, onion, and ginger and put the paste into the crock first.

Everything else just went into the crock as I got to it: canned chickpeas and tomatoes, spices, tahini. I had everything already on hand, including wonderfully fragrant Garam Masala, which really makes this dish. I also added some chopped cauliflower, too, because it seemed like it should go in there (and it added texture without significantly altering the flavor). The ingredients cooked on high for about 4 hours, then I turned it to low until we were ready to eat.

While the recipe indicates that curry powder could be used instead of garam masala, it would significantly alter the flavor profile.

Atop a bed of rice and crowned with vibrant chopped cilantro, it reminded me of chili with an Indian spin: spicy, warming, and the best kind of comfort food. With plenty of protein from the chick peas, this meal will satisfy – and no one will notice that it’s meatless. It’s so good and easy to make that it’ll be going into the regular meal rotation!

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