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curry chickpeas with salmon

How to make coconut curry chickpeas with salmon

I’m obsessed with one-pan and one-pot dishes. They are so quick and simple to make and even easier to clean up. A meal like this is perfect during the week when you don’t have a bunch of time to dedicate to cooking at home. It is also easy to scale this recipe and make a larger amount if you want to feed more people or do some meal prepping. You can pair these coconut curry chickpeas with any protein or even add more vegetables like bell peppers, kale and/or mushrooms if you’d like to make it a vegetarian dish.

I’m going to make this post simple and to-the-point just like the recipe, so here we go. Feel free to ask any questions or post comments below, email me or share your comment/question on social media (Twitter | Instagram).

What ingredients are necessary to make coconut curry chickpeas?

You will need the following ingredients to make the coconut curry chickpeas:

  • chickpeas
  • onions
  • garlic
  • coconut milk
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • ground ginger
  • curry powder

The protein you wish to use should be seasoned and prepared in a similar fashion as the salmon I use – with curry powder, salt, pepper, paprika – but cook times should be adjusted based on the protein. Shrimp, lamb, and chicken would all make delicious substitutes (or additions!) Just make sure proteins are cooked to an appropriate temperature before combining them with the chickpeas to finish.

What other ingredients could work in this dish?

Adding more vegetables would be a great way to pack lots of nutritious value into one meal. There are already onions, garlic and spinach, but consider adding heartier greens like kale, collard or mustard greens. Like I mentioned before, you could slice and saute bell peppers, mushrooms, or even carrots. If you’d like your carrots to be soft, they should be sliced very thinly or cooked longer than the vegetables that cook faster.

The following ingredients can be added to alter the dish:

  • Red pepper flakes for spice
  • Herbs (fresh or dried) like oregano, basil and parsley – you can even use an Italian seasoning blend
  • Cherry tomatoes – you can add these right at the end for fresh bursts of acidity or add them with the rest of the vegetables to create more of a tomato cream sauce
  • Fresh pesto or basil leaves
  • Mint leaves
  • Lemon zest and/or juice

Are there any substitutions that can be made?

Coconut milk comes with flavor and creaminess, and I love it in this dish, but the same creaminess can be achieved using heavy cream. So if you aren’t a huge fan of the coconut flavor, feel free to get rid of that part and use the same amount of heavy cream.

The coconut milk is what makes them coconut curry chickpeas, but any sort of liquid can be used in a similar fashion to create a delicious one-pan dish like this. Even if you only have chicken broth, that liquid will help break down the chickpeas and make them tender while creating a flavorful sauce for them and the vegetables to rest in.

The salmon I usually pair with this dish can be substituted for shrimp, chicken, steak, lamb, tofu, etc. It’s just a matter of seasoning the one(s) you choose and preparing them accordingly.

If you aren’t a huge fan of the curry flavors present in this dish, feel free to use a spice blend made from salt, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic and onion powder. You can add Italian seasonings, ground ginger, pretty much any of your favorite seasonings. Whatever you come up with, add the spice blend to both the protein (before it cooks) and the chickpeas (as they cook) to really bring the dish together.

What is the overall process for making this coconut curry chickpeas dish?

Marinate protein(s)

Use oil, salt, pepper, curry powder, paprika to coat your protein then set aside to marinate.

Prep vegetables

Mince, dice and slice your onions, garlic and other vegetables. Rinse and inspect your greens. Set these aside while the pan is heating up.

Saute protein(s), if necessary

For proteins like salmon and shrimp, you can skip this step entirely. The final step will see that they are fully cooked. Chicken, steak, lamb, etc. should be sauteed once before cooking the chickpeas and then finished in the oven with the rest of the vegetables.

To prepare the protein(s), add half of the onions and minced garlic to an oiled pan that is on medium heat. Once they are fragrant and beginning to soften, add the protein and cook it on all sides until it is cooked through.

Remember to undercook the proteins slightly on the first go ’round because they will continue to cook when you add them back into the pan. You don’t want to overcook anything and risk it becoming tough and dry.

Saute and season vegetables

After removing the protein from the pan, all the flavorful bits and goodies will be left in the pan and that’s what you want to get your vegetables started on the right note! Add more oil or butter to coat the pan, if necessary, and add the rest of the onions and garlic. Cook them for 60 seconds and then add the chickpeas that have been drained and rinsed.

After the chickpeas have cooked for about a minute, stir and add in your seasonings. If you are adding greens, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. add them after the chickpeas have caramelized and cooked for 3-5 minutes, to your preference of doneness.

Add milk/cream

When the chickpeas and all of the vegetables have cooked down and softened, it is time to add the coconut milk. It will thicken as the dish cooks.

chickpeas with coconut milk

Return protein(s) to pan and simmer

When the sauce begins to thicken, feel free to add the protein(s) back into the pan to simmer. This step allows all of the wonderful flavors to come together and blend into one beautiful, cohesive dish.

Finish in the oven

To create even more flavor and texture, I finish the dish in the oven on 400º F for 10 minutes. NOTE: Only do this if you pan is completely metal and oven-proof.

BE CAREFUL: the handle is going to be hot so resist that instinct to grab it. Once it’s out of the oven, I usually keep a towel on the handle to remind me that it’s hot – just in case.

coconut curry chickpeas with salmon and lemon

Coconut Curry Chickpeas with Salmon

Lena B.
This one-pan dish is quick, super simple, and full of flavor. Pair coconut milk-creamed chickpeas with curry, salmon & greens of your choice. With a splash of citrus, this is the perfect dish for a weeknight or for a dinner party.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Servings 4 servings


  • Knife and cutting board
  • Large skillet


For the chickpeas

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small shallot or yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 28-32 ounces canned chickpeas garbanzo beans, drained
  • 13.5 fluid ounces coconut milk 1 can
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the salmon

  • 4-3 ounces portions of salmon with the skin removed
  • 1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon paprika
  • Lemon juice optional


  • Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Preparing the salmon

  • Mix salt, pepper, and paprika together in a bowl, and use this to season both sides of the salmon filets.

Starting the chickpeas

  • Place a large pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and wait for it to come to temperature. Add shallots/onion and garlic and stir. Cook until they begin to soften, about 30 seconds. Add chickpeas to the pan and combine with the shallots/onion and garlic. Add salt, pepper, curry powder, and ginger, then stir so that all the chickpeas are well-coated. Reduce the heat and continue cooking chickpeas for another 4-5 minutes, until they have softened. Add coconut milk and bring to a very low boil. When the coconut milk has reduced a bit, after 2-3 minutes, begin adding in handfuls of spinach. Once spinach has wilted into the chickpea mixture, nestle each piece of salmon down into the pan.
  • Place the whole pan into the 400º F oven and bake until salmon is cooked, about 10 minutes. Be careful when removing from the oven – the handle is hot too so don’t give into that instinct to grab this – I usually keep a towel on the handle until the pan cools down completely to remind me of this, just in case). Squeeze lemon juice over the entire pan to finish and/or serve with lemon.



Using coconut cream works just fine, but add a little broth or water to thin it out and help create that sauce.
Keyword chickpeas, coconut milk, curry, salmon





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