Spinach Chicken Curry

Vegan Chicken Curry

One of my most popular recipes with friends and family, in the days before I went vegan, was a spinach chicken curry.

It was a verdant treat, nutritious with leafy spinach, nutty with almond paste and fragrant with spices. But for some weird, unfathomable reason I had never tried to veganize this, my once-signature dish, until this past weekend. I used vegan “chicken” and mushrooms instead of chicken, and the result was so good that I surprised myself.

The best part about freeing this recipe from animal products is that you make what is a fairly healthy dish even far more healthier, because vegan chicken substitutes are of course cholesterol-free and usually low-calorie. They also pack a ton of protein, just like meat. Each serving of this very hearty recipe has just 128 calories, more than 10 grams of protein, and more than 4 grams of dietary fiber.

Vegan Chicken CurryThe recipe is also really easy to put together– I use frozen spinach and if you have some frozen vegan chicken substitute, like Gardein, on hand, you don’t even need to run to the market for anything because you likely already have all the ingredients in the pantry. But the final dish is so impressive that everyone will assume you spent a day and a half slaving over it.

If you have one of those friends who’s always telling you how tasty animals are, this is the perfect dish to get him or her to shut up for good. Paired with some of my raisin and nut basmati pilaf, it is — without exaggeration– to die for. Best part? There’s no killing involved.

Enjoy, all!

Vegan Spinach Chicken Curry


Spinach 'Chicken' Curry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 8
  • 1 10-oz package of frozen spinach, thawed in the microwave with a tablespoon of water. I just put the frozen block in a microwave-proof bowl with the water and zap it for five minutes. Puree in a blender and set aside.
  • 1 package chicken substitute, like Gardein Scallopini, cut into cubes.
  • 2 cups mushrooms (I used crimini but button or shiitake would be great too). Halve the mushrooms if they're small, and quarter if they're larger.
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne for a big hit, paprika if you prefer your curries milder)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ⅓ cup of almonds, soaked in hot water for two hours, then pureed in a blender to a smooth paste with 1 cup water. (You can use pistachios which make this dish even more wonderful-- I didn't have any on hand this time. Cashews are also a good substitute)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup chopped coriander leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add the onions and saute until brown spots start to appear, about five minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic paste and saute another minute.
  3. Add the tomato puree and the powdered spices and saute until the tomato darkens and starts to express oil from the sides.
  4. Add the mushrooms and saute until they start to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the vegan chicken chunks and saute another three to four minutes.
  6. Add the spinach puree and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often to prevent any sticking, until the spinach darkens and all the water has evaporated.
  7. Add the almond paste and ½ to 1 cup water (depending on how thick you want your curry) and bring to a boil.
  8. Add lemon juice and salt to taste and turn off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 128 Fat: 5.8 grams Fiber: 4.1 grams Protein: 10.5 grams


Vegan Chicken Curry


(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.


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  1. says

    This recipe seems to promote the saying ‘eat healthy to stay healthy’. You seem to have gotten the exact right mix of ingredients to gain that divine flavour and taste, while at the same time making sure that none of the vital nutrients are lost. Also, there is very little fat in this recipe. Today, with more and more lifestyle related diseases like obesity and diabetes plaguing us Indians, this recipe is great to make at home, not to mention cater to our taste buds! For more expert tips and suggestions on healthy eating habits, check out http://knorratseven.blogspot.com/.

  2. says

    That curry looks super good. Do you think I can find the chicken substitute brand you mentioned in Whole Foods? The first pic is making me want to make this dish RIGHT NOW, only if I can find the chicken sub pronto.. Thanks for sharing.
    I’m a born vegetarian, but meat substitutes really excited, I wonder if this is normal!!!!!

  3. says

    Thanks, all!

    Pavani, sounds very normal to me! :) Yes, you can get Gardein and other vegan meat substitutes at Whole Foods. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  4. says

    Wow! This is such a delicious looking curry that I’m tempted to turn vegetarian right now! Great pic…unfortunately I don’t think we get this chicken substitute in India..may be soya chunks will do?

  5. says

    Uma, thanks.

    Karishma, yes, soya chunks will definitely do. Be sure to rehydrate them in some water first.

    Laavanya, any Whole Foods will definitely carry them, and so might some regular supermarkets. The ones I buy are in the frozen aisle, and Gardein is one of the more commonly stocked brands.

  6. says

    Have you tried “Match Meat”?? I don’t know if they have it in your area, but it rocks. Even though I am Gluten Free now, it’s the one thing that I suggest to all the “meatheads”. It is produced by a vegan in St. Louis, but she has it in many of the Whole Foods. You buy it buy the pound. Chicken, crabcakes, Pulled Pork, Beef, Sausage. I made the “Mock Keema” from “The Indian Slow Cooker” book from the “beef” kind and it was amazing. Hubby loves the stuff. He wasn’t as sold on the “gardein” yet. Think he thought it a little more of that “gluten” type of texture, plus is it sold “loose” in pounds??? It is cool though that it has gotten a lot of press since being on Oprah. Hey, did you hear Stedman might continue the Vegan thing longer than the one week??

  7. Samarpita says

    After eying it for quite sometime, I made it today with button mushrooms. The taste is divine. Yet another of your master pieces.

  8. says

    GSGV, never tried it, but it sounds really promising.

    Samarpita, thanks! Mushrooms are a great meat substitute–you’ve inspired me to make this curry again for tonight’s dinner with some crimini mushrooms sitting in my fridge. :)

  9. Jeanette says

    Been meaning to try this and finally did tonight. It was a hit! Thanks for sharing all these wonderful recipes :)

  10. Andrev says

    I made this for dinner at my mom’s house tonight and yum yum yum!!! My mom, my two daughters and my brother all raved about it! We have never seen this in a chinese restaurant but we thought it tasted like take-out! I added an extra clove of garlic and a handful of red, green and yellow peppers to boost the nutritional content and a little cornstarch to thicken, but otherwise left it as is…a winner!

  11. Susan says

    I just finished making this and I just have to say…WOW! …super yummy! Thank you for another great recipe!

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