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rajma masala: kidney bean curry (vegan)

rajma masala, kidney bean curry in a black cast iron pot with a spoon is topped with pickled red onions and cilantro.

Rajma masala, a creamy kidney bean curry, is bursting with flavorful spices and aromatics for a satisfying Punjabi-inspired plant-based dinner.


Units Scale
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into quarters
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper (remove the seeds if you don’t want it too spicy)
  • 1 - inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 2 - 15 oz. (400 gm.) cans of crushed or whole tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 - 15 oz. (400 gm.) cans of red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup plant-milk (I used oat milk)

Quick pickled red onions

  • 2 red onions, peeled, cut in half, and sliced into thin, half-moons
  • 1/2 cup raspberry vinegar, red wine vinegar, or merlot vinegar
  • 3 tbsp liquid sweetener such as agave syrup or vegan honey
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


*timing tip – if you are making pickled onions, take 5 minutes to make them first so that they have time to marinate.

  1. To make the onions, mix together the vinegar, agave syrup, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Add the onions and use your hand to gently massage the onions so that they are well-covered.
  2. Cover the dish and place the onions into the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.
  3. To make the curry, start by adding the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and ginger to a food processor or blender. Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Set it aside or transfer it to a small bowl if you need the food processor for step 2.
  4. Next, add the tomatoes, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala to a blender. Blend until the tomatoes are broken down and smooth.
  5. Preheat the oven to 3500 F. (1800 C.)
  6. On the stovetop, heat a medium oven-proof pot over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. of cumin seeds and toast them for 1 – 2 minutes. Keep them moving so they don't burn. Be prepared to add the rest of the ingredients immediately.
  7. Add the onion-jalapeno mixture and mix it with the cumin seeds.
  8. Add the blended tomatoes and spices. Allow the tomatoes to heat through (5 minutes). When they start to bubble, cut the heat.
  9. Mix in the kidney beans and plant milk.
  10. Place the pot in the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes until the curry is bubbling and the top has started to brown.
  11. Serve with the pickled onions, rice, and chopped cilantro (if desired).


  • The nutritional information does not include the pickled onions (check the link for that information) or rice.
  • If you do not have an oven-proof pot, transfer the curry to a baking dish before putting it into the oven.
  • If you cannot find cumin seeds, substitute 1 tsp. of ground cumin. Mix this in with the tomatoes and spices and skip the first step.

Keywords: rajma masala