This Spinach Chickpea Curry, also known as Chana Saag, is a healthy vegan and gluten-free curry. This easy one-pot curry is made with chickpeas and spinach in a sauce made of onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and aromatic spices. Serve it with rice, quinoa, or naan for a perfect weeknight dinner!

Chickpea and spinach curry with white basmati rice and onions

This spinach and chickpea curry, called Chana Saag, is a variation of my popular Indian chickpea recipeChana Masala. Chana is the Hindi language term for chickpeas or garbanzo beans.

Typically, saag is a dish cooked in a base of greens like this Sarson ka Saag, Saag Aloo, or Saag Paneer recipe. However, this curry is different, and greens are added at the end for more nutrition. Hence, I prefer to call this recipe Spinach and Chickpea Curry.

It is a comforting meal after a long day. It is also a plant-based dish that includes chickpeas and spinach, both full of essential nutrients. The chickpeas come packed with protein and are great at satiating our hunger.

I have used dry chickpeas, soaked overnight, to make this spinach chickpea curry as it enhances the dish’s flavor. If you make it in a jiffy, you can also make this vegan chickpea curry using canned chickpeas.

I have added spinach to this curry. However, other greens such as mustard leaves, kale, or collard greens would work great too.

As you probably already know, I am a big fan of one-pot recipes. Hence, I make this curry along with pot-in-pot rice in the instant pot. I like to use my homemade Garam Masala to get the perfect warmth and depth to this spinach chickpea curry.

Chana Saag is a versatile dish that goes well with both rice and Indian flatbreads or even with pita bread. You can serve this flavorful curry with cumin rice, roti, naan, or paratha with a side of yogurt.

You might also enjoy my dump-and-go Coconut Chickpea Curry!

How to make Chickpea Curry in Instant Pot?

Before starting this Chana Saag curry, soak the chickpeas overnight or for about 4 hours. You also need to dice the onions and tomato.  You can substitute fresh tomatoes for canned tomato puree. Keep the spices and whole spices ready.

Once your prep is done, now it is time to get started on this vegan chickpea curry.

  • Set the Instant Pot on sauté mode and let it heat.
  • Add oil and spices (cumin, bay leaves, and cinnamon). Saute for 30 seconds until they release their aroma.
  • Now add the diced onions, minced garlic, and grated ginger and sauté them for a few minutes.
  • When the onions turn golden brown, add the tomatoes along with the spices, except for the dry mango powder (amchur powder).
  • Drain the soaked chickpeas and add it to the Instant Pot. Add the required water and give it a stir.
Whole spices on oil in the instant pot
Tomatoes and spices on top of sautéed onions in the instant pot
onions sautéing in the instant pot
Chickpeas over onions tomato curry sauce in the instant pot
  • Switch the Instant Pot to manual mode for 35 minutes with the vent in the sealing position.
  • As soon as the Instant Pot beeps, release the pressure naturally. If the pin does not drop in 20 minutes, you can release the pressure and open the Instant Pot.
  • Check the consistency of the gravy, and if you want it to be a little thick, mash some chickpeas using your hand masher or with the back of the ladle for a thicker gravy.
  • Then, add the chopped spinach along with the dry mango powder to the chickpea curry and stir well.
chickpea curry in the instant pot
Chana saag - Piping Pot Curry
  • Change the Instant Pot setting to sauté mode and let the curry boil for a few minutes. It gives time for all the ingredients to blend well.
  • If you want to add a zing to the curry, drizzle some lemon juice.
  • The Spinach Chickpea Curry is ready to be served with hot parathas, naan, roti, or a steaming bowl of rice.
Chana Saag along with rice in a bowl

Cook pot-in-pot brown rice along with chickpea curry

Brown rice takes about 25-35 minutes to cook pot-in-p0t, so it works perfectly when cooking this Chickpea Curry in a pressure cooker. See my Dal Makhani with Rice recipe for detailed instructions.

If you use canned chickpeas, make pot-in-pot white rice along with this curry. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes, followed by a 10-minute natural pressure release.

How to store Spinach and Chickpea curry?

You can store this vegan curry in two ways:

  • Store the curry in an airtight container and enjoy for the rest of the week.
  • If you want to store it in the freezer, completely cool the chickpea curry and transfer it to a small freezer-safe storage container. Once the curry is frozen, it will keep well in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.
  • When you want to use the chickpea curry, take the required amount and thaw it in the refrigerator overnight to serve.

Variations

  • Canned Chickpeas: You can substitute dry chickpeas for canned ones. Just reduce the pressure cooking time to 10 minutes. You can cook white rice pot-in-pot along with the curry.
  • Chickpea Curry in Coconut Milk: Add coconut milk to thicken the curry at the end.
  • Adding other vegetables: You can add broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, or squash to this curry too. When adding carrots and squash, pressure cook the chickpeas before adding the veggies for 32 minutes. Then add the veggies and pressure cook for an additional 3 minutes.
spinach chickpea curry along with rice in a pretty bowl

Enjoy this easy one-pot Chickpea Spinach Curry, and do share how it turns out!

More Instant Pot curries

  • Chole Masala – This easy one-pot Indian chickpea curry is the base for this Chana Saag.
  • Palak Paneer –  A simplified version of the authentic palak paneer made in Instant Pot, which takes just 20 minutes to prepare.
  • Kala Chana Curry – This mildly spiced black chickpea curry is a North Indian favorite!
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4.95 from 38 votes

Instant Pot Chickpea Curry with Spinach (Chana Saag)

This easy one-pot Spinach Chickpea Curry, also known as Chana Saag is a healthy vegan and gluten-free curry. Serve it with rice, quinoa, or naan for a perfect weeknight dinner!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup Chickpeas (Chole/Garbanzo beans), dry, see notes for using canned
  • 3 cups Water, for soaking
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee or Oil, (use oil for vegan)
  • 5   cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 inch Ginger, grated
  • 1.5 cups Onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup Tomato, chopped
  • 1.5 cups Water, for cooking
  • 3 cups Baby spinach, chopped

Spices

Whole spices (optional)

Instructions 

  • Wash and soak chickpeas in 3 cups of water overnight or at least for 4+ hours. 
  • Set the Instant Pot on sauté mode and let it heat.
  • Add oil along with the whole spices (cumin, bay leaves, and cinnamon). Saute for 30 seconds until they release their aroma.
  • Now add the onions, garlic, ginger and sauté them for about 3 minutes.
  • When the onions turn golden brown, add the tomatoes along with the spices except for the dry mango powder (amchur powder). Saute for couple of minutes.
  • Drain the soaked chickpeas and add it to the Instant Pot. Add the required water for cooking and give it a stir.
  • Switch the Instant Pot to bean/chili mode on high pressure for 35 minutes with the vent in sealing position.
  • When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally. If the pin does not drop in 20 minutes, you can release the pressure and open the instant pot.
  • If you like a thicker gravy, use a hand masher or the back of your ladle to mash the chickpeas a bit. 
  • Add the chopped spinach along with the dry mango powder to the chickpea curry and stir well. Change the instant pot setting to sauté mode and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.
  • Chickpea Spinach Curry is ready to be served with hot parathas, naan, roti or a steaming bowl of rice.

Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method:

  • Heat oil in the pressure cooker on medium-high heat. Add whole spices, ginger, garlic and onions. Saute for about 3 minutes.
  • Add tomato and all spices except dry mango powder. Drain the chickpeas soaking water. Add chickpeas and water for cooking. Stir well.
  • Pressure cook for 6-7 whistles or till the chana can be broken easily between two fingers. Let the pressure release naturally.
  • If you like a thicker gravy, use a hand masher or the back of your ladle to mash the chole a bit.
  • Add the chopped spinach along with the dry mango powder to the chickpea curry and stir well. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Adjust water if chole are too thick. 
  • Chickpea Spinach Curry is ready to be served with hot parathas, naan, roti or a steaming bowl of rice.

Notes

Dump-and-go option: This recipe can be made by just adding all the ingredients except spinach to the pot in the order listed, without sautéing and it works well. 
Whole Spices: They are optional in this recipe, but they add a wonderful flavor and aroma to the curry. 
No dry mango powder? If you don’t have dry mango powder or amchur, replace with 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
Spice level: You can reduce or skip kashmiri red chili powder. If you don’t have Kashmiri Red Chili powder, use paprika. 
Using canned chickpeas: Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Pressure cook for 10 minutes in the instant pot or 2 whistles on the stovetop pressure cooker. Add only 1 cup water for cooking.
Using canned tomatoes: Use one cup canned tomatoes to replace fresh tomatoes. 
Chickpea Curry in Coconut Milk: You can add coconut milk to thicken the curry at the end.
Greens: I added spinach in this curry, but any greens or a blend of greens such as spinach, kale, mustard. etc will work too. 
Adding other vegetables: You can add broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, or squash to this curry too. When adding carrots and squash, pressure cook the chickpeas before adding the veggies for 32 minutes. Then add the veggies and pressure cook for an additional 3 minutes. 
Double the recipe: Cooking time will remain the same, even if you half or double the quantity in this recipe. 
Make it a meal: Cook pot-in-pot brown rice with this Chana Masala to make a complete meal. See my Dal Makhani with Rice recipe for detailed instructions. 

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 13gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 669mgPotassium: 851mgFiber: 13gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 3072IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 158mgIron: 7mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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Recipe Rating




36 Comments

  1. Excellent recipe – added coconut milk at end, per suggestions. Could use a little more heat for my taste – need a substitution other than paprika for the Kashmiri chili powder.

  2. Very tasty for my Indian partner – a bit too spicy for me. Next time I will try with Paprika. I followed the recipe with canned chickpeas as instructed. I suspect that while the time for pressure cooking is adjusted in the suggestion, the amount of water has not been adapted in the recipe to consider canned chickpeas. There was a little too much water I still had to evaporate after the pressure cooking. I am a cooking newb, so I will blindly follow instructions. will try again with some adjustments, since my partner liked this dish!

  3. I just bought the ingredients to make this tonight. However due to time constraints I will use canned chickpeas. Does anyone have a recommendation for how to adjust the instant pot cooking time? Thank you!

  4. This was really, really good! My wife and I have been vegan for years, and pulses are our main source of protein. Though I make a lot of curries, I don’t do chickpeas that often — I usually stick with dals. We both enjoyed this one; the chickpeas came out so tender and the spice level was just about right. We’ll be making this often!

    1. Hi – That’s fantastic to hear! It’s wonderful to have a new chickpea dish to enjoy. Keep on exploring new flavors in your vegan journey! 🌱

  5. Did the proportions of this recipe change recently? I had copies and saved this recipe a couple years ago and many of the spices were listed as TABLESPOON and now when I am cross checking on the website I see that they now say teaspoon. Wondering what happened here…

      1. Good catch Liz. I retested the recipe, and felt the amount of spices might be too high, so have adjusted them. I hope you enjoy the curry!

  6. This came out perfectly! My husband was born and raised in Punjab and he went crazy for this! I have been a little intimidated to try to cook Indian food but these recipes and my trusty Instant Pot have made everything much more attainable. My husband has a happy full belly now lol!