Vegan Chickpea Vegetable Korma
4.20 from 5 votes

Vegan Chickpea Vegetable Korma | The Full Helping

My latest dietetic internship rotation is at a community institution that has a teaching kitchen. Like many organizations with a farm-to-table emphasis, the teaching kitchen tries to encourage meatless meals, at least on a part-time basis (à la Meatless Monday). One of their go-to offerings is a vegetarian korma. When I first saw the recipe it occurred to me that I’d never posted a vegan korma here on the blog, in spite of having made a number of dishes that are inspired by it.

I’m emphasizing the non-traditional bit because korma is not a dish from my culture of origin, and I approach it only as an outsider. My understanding is that korma often involves a braised meat and a yogurt or cream-based sauce. But I’ve seen many vegetarian versions, which is what has encouraged me to try it over the years. I’ve appreciated how simple it is to make and how versatile. This cashew-based, vegan chickpea vegetable korma (which I make with my homemade cashew cream) is the one that I turn to most often, even if the vegetables I use change all of the time.

I’m giving you two variations of this dish. The first is the recipe that I started with. It’s plenty simple, and the vegetables that it calls for can be adjusted to fit what you have at home. So long as they’re relatively quick-cooking, they should work as the recipe indicates (sweet potato or winter squash might take a bit longer).

Vegan Chickpea Vegetable Korma | The Full Helping

The second variation is the one I’ve been using since the DI started. This is probably a topic for a longer, batch cooking-themed post (which I’m planning on sharing), but frozen vegetables have been a lifesaver this year. Yes, fresh usually is crispier, and it’s often tastier. But right now the benefits of pre-cut vegetables that keep for a while, don’t require a lot of cleaning or prepping, and are super inexpensive to boot outweigh any strict adherence to fresh produce that I might have.

So, option #2 involves a couple bags of frozen veggies, which you can heat up in the microwave before starting the korma. Prepared this way, the recipe takes about 15 minutes to make–provided you’ve made the cashew cream beforehand, and substituting full fat coconut milk is an option, too. It’s a nutrient dense, flavorful meal that tastes as if it’s been simmering for a lot longer than it has. Piled over rice and topped with fresh herbs or green onions, it’s a fast and flavorful supper–one that’s kept me fed on many evenings when cooking felt insurmountable. Here’s the recipe.

Vegan Chickpea Vegetable Korma | The Full Helping

4.20 from 5 votes

Vegan Chickpea Vegetable Korma

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 2 teaspoons neutral flavored vegetable oil (such as grapeseed or refined avocado) or a few tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1 small or medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower or broccoli stems and florets (or a combination of both)
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cashew cream (substitute full fat, canned coconut milk)
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Chopped green onion tops or fresh cilantro (optional, for serving)


  • Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet (or a medium sized pot) over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onion is clear and tender. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. 
  • Add the cauliflower, green beans, carrots, peas, chickpeas, broth, and cashew cream to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Stir in the baby spinach and lime juice and simmer for 2-3 more minutes, or until the spinach is tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Serve over cooked rice, quinoa, or another grain, or with a flatbread of choice. Top with chopped green onion tops or cilantro.


For a shortcut version: Replace the vegetables with 4-5 cups (about 2 bags) frozen, pre-cut vegetables of choice. I usually use any mix of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green beans, red peppers, and peas. During step 1, when the onion and jalapeno is cooking, cook the the vegetables in the microwave as instructed. Drain the vegetables and add them for step 2. Reduce the simmering time to 5 minutes instead of 10. Voila!

Vegan Chickpea Vegetable Korma | The Full Helping

Rice is my favorite serving option for this one–it soaks up all of the creamy, spicy sauce perfectly–but it’s also great with quinoa, whole grain pita, or even some of these homemade chapatis. Cashew cream is definitely my preference (I always make it in double batches and freeze some so that it can be as convenient as using canned coconut milk), but coconut milk is traditional and works well, too. Some of the newer, creamier cashew/nut milks (like Elmhurst 1925) might also be a good option.

Glad that this rotation prompted me to post a recipe that’s been a favorite at home for a while now. And hope that some of you might enjoy it and find it as convenient as I do!

Alright, friends: another busy day of the internship waits for me tomorrow, so it’s time for me to do a little unwinding. See you this weekend for the regular weekend roundup.



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Categories: Recipes, Main Dishes
Method: One Pot, Stovetop
Ingredients: Cauliflower, Chickpeas
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: 30 Minute or Less, Quick & Easy

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4.20 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Wow, wow! My family is going through an Indian food obsession right now. I thought this would be a nice one to try. This recipe blew me away today! I love how many different veggies you included, plus the chickpeas for the filling protein. Gorgeous! So fragrant! (Wishing I could upload the picture I took of my plate for you, haha!) Definitely saving this one to make again. Thank you so much!

  2. This sounds amazing! I want to make it tonight. I have a lot of frozen riced cauliflower. How could I modify the recipe to use it?

    • Hey Elena! Try using 2 1/2 cups of the riced cauliflower. Defrost it in the microwave first, and drain the added moisture. Then add to the recipe in the same step you’d add the cauli normally 🙂

  3. This was absolutely delicious – great “clean out the fridge” recipe! I had broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans that I needed to use. The flavors were wonderful. I’ve never used cashew cream before, but I’m a convert.

  4. Oh my goodness! This looks delicious. I will be adding this to next week’s menu plan.

  5. 4 stars
    Hi Gena, thanks for the recipe. It was very yummy. I found that it got more flavorful each day after I cooked it. It would be great if you added nutritional content per serving, like percentage protein, fat, sugar and calories. Thanks!

    • Hi Rachel!

      At this time, providing nutrition labels feels potentially problematic given how many of my readers have eating disorder histories. But I’m always open to feedback and will keep that note in mind for sure. And I’m so glad that you enjoyed the recipe 🙂


  6. It’s so pretty! I am going to try the frozen veggie version because I am specifically searching for less labor-intensive dinner options (would be thrilled if you posted more along these lines!). My favorite so far is roasting some veggies and a sweet potato and spooning some of the Amy’s baked beans (canned) over the potato- takes very little work and it’s delicious and filling. There’s a little sugar in the beans but much less than other brands so I don’t worry about it.

    It’s so bright yellow, but you don’t use turmeric or curry powder? Is that just from the broth?

    • Ha! No, it’s from me forgetting that I added 1/2 teaspoon turmeric. Thanks, Amy, for the catch. I’ll edit now, and I like your easy dinner idea 🙂

  7. As a vegan, how do you approach the government and dietetic governing bodys’ recommendations to promote meat eating? I know that once you have your own practice, you’ll be able to practice as you choose, but wondered how you handle the difference between current dietetic/government food philosophies and your own. No judgment here-just curious about how you navigate it!

    • Hi Shana,

      I’ve tried to focus on areas of agreement so far. For example, encouraging the recommended 5-11 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, whole grains in place of refined, etc.. At nearly every site I’ve worked at we’ve used MyPlate, which I think is a great tool (even the simple suggestion that half of one’s plate be vegetables is a good teaching point), and it doesn’t specify what kind of protein the 1/4 plate’s worth of protein needs to be. It allows for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices. My patients are typically not vegan, so I just recommend the protein and list options for them: meat, fish, poultry, beans, tofu, tempeh. At nearly every clinical site I’ve worked at, we’ve had meatless eating initiatives and been invited to encourage folks to try out vegetarian meals.

      So, it hasn’t been a lot of cognitive dissonance for me. At each clinical site, I’m not in charge of the guidelines or rules and I’m seeing patients who eat in their own way. I meet them where they are and respect where they want to go. But I have yet to work anywhere where meatless eating isn’t regarded as a good initiative or where emphasizing plant foods (plant proteins included) isn’t the name of the game. Hope this helps!