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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Trader Joe’s Channa Masala (Easy, Healthy)

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Trader Joe’s has some of the best frozen Indian food I’ve found! We took frozen Trader Joe’s Channa Masala, dressed it up with a few pantry staples, and created a healthy, delicious, family-friendly meal that’s ready in just 15 minutes!

trader joe's channa masala recipe topped with tomatoes and onions, served in a white bowl

Channa Masala is one of my favorite Indian dishes ever. And while I typically love making it from scratch, sometimes I just don’t have that kind of time! Enter: Trader Joe’s Channa Masala, which is great on its own, but tastes even better with just a few pantry staples added to it!

Latest Recipe Video!

The prep time is really minimal, and this easy chana masala just has to simmer for at least 10 minutes (and up to an hour) and then you’re done! I do recommend taking the full hour to simmer it if you can, because it’s worth the wait. And while it’s simmering, you don’t have to do a whole lot except for smell the aroma filling your home. Check it out below 🙂 It’s a healthy vegetarian Indian recipe!

What is Trader Joe’s Channa Masala?

For those of you who haven’t yet experienced the awesomeness of Trader Joe’s frozen Indian meals, their Channa Masala looks like this:

I'm always looking for healhty recipes to make, so when I found a way to make a healhty version of  Easy Chana Masala I was so excited. Check it out here!

Channa masala is basically a chickpea curry. The spices are what make this dish super flavorful, and the Trader Joe’s version has a pretty clean ingredients list! The ingredients in the frozen Trader Joe’s meal includes: Onions, Chickpeas, Tomatoes, Water, Spices, Canola Oil, Garlic, Ghee, Salt, Mango Powder, Turmeric, Cilantro and Bay Leaves.

It’s reasonably healthy — the only ingredient I’d change if I made it at home were to substitute canola oil for coconut oil! Also, I would omit the ghee because Trader Joe’s Channa Masala is not vegan, since it has ghee added. Nutritionally, it’s an easy one-pot meal as it’s only 360 calories, 12 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein for the entire box! 

How to Make Semi-Homemade Trader Joe’s Channa Masala

Recipe Ingredients and Notes

ingredients for trader joe's channa masala recipe

Trader Joe’s Frozen Channa Masala: The trick to making this recipe taste like you cooked it all day long! 1 box is all you need.

Canned Chickpeas: A pantry staple to bulk up this recipe and make it large enough to feed a family of four.

Tomatoes, Red Onions and Cilantro: As a garnish – the acidity brightens up this dish.

Salt: The Trader Joe’s Channa Masala already has salt added, but since you’re adding chickpeas on top of that, you will need to season this dish slightly.

Water: To thin out this easy chana masala recipe as needed!

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Heat the frozen Channa Masala box halfway (it says 4 minutes on the box, so heat in the microwave for 2 minutes).

chickpeas going into a pot

Step 2: Combine the defrosted Channa Masala box, the garbanzo beans and 1/2 cup water in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Cook 1-2 minutes.

chickpeas going into a pot

Step 3: Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes (and up to 1 hour). Add more water as needed (to achieve the consistency you want). Mash some of the garbanzo beans to thicken the curry – the consistency should be slightly thick – like a good chili.

chickpeas and tomato mixture cooking in a pot

Step 4: Serve warm (top with diced onions, diced tomatoes, cilantro to taste).

trader joe's channa masala recipe topped with tomatoes and onions, served in a white bowl

What Makes This Easy Channa Masala Healthy?

  • Plant-Based Protein and Fiber: This recipe has 7 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber in each serving – making it a heart healthy plant based meal!
  • Low Calorie: One serving of this frozen channa masala has only about 200 calories. That means you can go back for seconds and you will be full and satisfied!
  • Vitamins and Minerals: It’s hard to believe that something that tastes so good can be healthy too. It’s filled with vitamin C, B6, folate, vitamin K, potassium, copper, magnesium, and manganese. 

Recipe FAQs

Will Kids Enjoy This Channa Masala?

This recipe is pretty kid friendly as it’s not super spicy and is really flavorful! If your kids feel a little unsure about it that’s totally ok – I recommend giving them a small portion to try along with some whole wheat naan, tortillas, or brown rice to make it more inviting to their taste buds.

What Do You Serve with Chana Masala?

We love serving this recipe with rice: brown rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa or any grain you enjoy would work well; whole wheat naan, sprouted wheat tortillas, or sometimes we even serve this with sprouted wheat burger buns as a “sloppy joe”!

trader joe's channa masala recipe topped with tomatoes and onions, served in a white bowl

Trader Joe’s Channa Masala Variations

Try these other ideas to dress up this recipe —

  • Add some heat: Try diced jalapeños (either seeded and diced for less heat, or diced with the seeds for more heat!) or chopped green chiles (1 4oz can) for more spice.
  • Add more spices: A little bit of cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick), ground cardamom, or a touch of curry powder would all be great additions to this dish – you can add any spices you like along with the chickpeas and let it simmer together.
  • Switch up the toppings! Try topping this dish with some plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, mango chutney, coconut sugar, shredded coconut, a squeeze of lemon juice, or a dash of garam masala!

Top Tips For Making This Easy Chana Masala Taste Great!

  • If you have time, allow the channa masala to cook low and slow – simmering for at least one hour. This helps the spices to combine and gives it that “cooked all day” feel.
  • As the curry is simmering, be sure to stir it every once in a while so it doesn’t burn / stick to the bottom of the pot. 
  • This recipe will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or you can even freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • Don’t forget to add all of your favorite toppings before you serve this dish!

Check Out These Other Incredible Indian Recipes!

trader joe's channa masala recipe topped with tomatoes and onions, served in a white bowl

If you have tried this Trader Joe’s Channa Masala or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

trader joe's channa masala recipe topped with tomatoes and onions, served in a white bowl
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Trader Joe’s Channa Masala Recipe

Trader Joe’s has some of the best frozen Indian food I've found! We took frozen Trader Joe's Channa Masala, dressed it up with a few pantry staples, and created a healthy, delicious, family-friendly meal that's ready in just 15 minutes!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 210kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 box Trader Joe's Frozen Channa Masala
  • 15 oz canned chickpeas 1 can
  • ½ cup water more or less depending on how thick you like your channa masala
  • ¼ red onion diced
  • 1-2 tomatoes diced
  • cilantro chopped, as a garnish
  • ½ tsp salt more or less to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the frozen Channa Masala box halfway (it says 4 minutes on the box, so heat in the microwave for 2 minutes)
  • Combine the defrosted Channa Masala box, the garbanzo beans and 1/2 cup water in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Cook 1-2 minutes.
  • Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes (and up to 1 hour). Add more water as needed (to achieve the consistency you want).
  • Mash some of the garbanzo beans to thicken the curry.
  • Serve warm (top with diced onions, diced tomatoes, cilantro to taste)

Video

Notes

Top Tips For Making Frozen Channa Masala Taste Great!
  • If you have time, allow the channa masala to cook low and slow – simmering for at least one hour. This helps the spices to combine and gives it that “cooked all day” feel.  
  • As the curry is simmering, be sure to stir it every once in a while so it doesn’t burn / stick to the bottom of the pot. 
  • This recipe will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or you can even freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • Don’t forget to add all of your favorite toppings before you serve this dish!
Note: While channa masala is typically vegan, this version is not because Trader Joe’s channa masala has ghee (clarified butter) in it. 

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 33.2g | Protein: 7.5g | Fat: 5.7g | Saturated Fat: 1.1g | Cholesterol: 2.5mg | Sodium: 790mg | Potassium: 291.4mg | Fiber: 7.1g | Sugar: 2.5g

Posted In…

Indian Recipes ·

From samosas to curry, I have recipes for everyone’s Indian favorites.

Try a trendy golden milk turmeric latte or a healthy homestyle sabji and fall in love with these rich flavors.

10 responses to “Trader Joe’s Channa Masala (Easy, Healthy)”

  1. My neighbors are Indian and we love the Channa Masala that they make but I’ve always been hesitant to make it myself. This is the perfect solution. This looks easy and delicious. Trying this soon 🙂

  2. Hey! I love some of your posts…nice to see someone who has the “substitution” mentality instead of the “elimination” mentality. I have a recipe for Channa Masala (sort of made it up, but I had a general idea of what to do since my mom used to make it all the time) on my blog. It’s really not that time consuming if you make it from scratch: just needs the right ingredients. Oh, and a really good time saving tip is to use frozen pre-chopped onions and canned diced tomatoes.

  3. You’ve got a lovely blog and your recipe sounds delicious and healthy. Thanks for joining BloggerAid.

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