The Fitnessista’s Channa Masala + HIIT It! Book Review

This chickpea channa masala is a healthier version of the classic Indian dish. Serve with brown rice and vegetables for a flavorful meal that’s packed with plant-based protein. Vegan.

Today’s post makes me incredibly happy for a couple reasons. One, my good friend (both online and in real life), Gina of The Fitnessista, has a new book out! I’m so pumped for her. And two, there’s healthy Indian food involved.

Hello there channa masala.

Channa Masala served with brown rice on white plate and colorful placemat.

Back to that deliciousness soon, first let me tell you more about Gina’s new book.

HIIT It! By Gina Harney

It’s titled HIIT It! and in the intro of the book Gina says, “This isn’t a ‘diet book’ and it’s not a workout book. Though I hope you find new diet strategies and tons of new workouts, the goal is to help you create the best lifestyle for YOU.” I think those two sentences explain the book and Gina’s approach to living a healthy lifestyle quite well.

Throughout HIIT It! she uses the acronym in two ways. The first portion of the book is focused on high intensity interval training and the second portion is all about the HIIT It! Diet principles: Healthy, Intuitive, Intermittent and Track.

HIIT It! Exercise Moves

For the fitness part of the book, Gina shares her personal transformation story and then goes on to talk about how HIIT changed her life. She went from spending hours at the gym to spending no more than 40 minutes a day working out. This fitness approach, combined with a healthy and relaxed approach to her diet, not only gave her a lot of extra free time (which she needs as a mom), but also helped her find the body she’s always wanted. This really resonated with me and goes to show that you don’t have to be in the gym hours each day to be fit. With HIIT, you work HARD for a short amount of time,  but then you’re done and you get to reap the benefits throughout the day.

Chapter 2 outlines everything you need to know about HIIT training, provides sample weekly fitness plans and explores how to create a monthly workout plan. Chapter 3 is a exercise index with form cues and photos of each exercise. I’m horrible at reading how to do an exercise without having a photo to go along with it so I love that she included them.

Channa Masala served with brown rice on white plate and colorful placemat.

For the food portion of HIIT IT!, Gina breaks down the macronutrients, gives info about tracking your food (without numbers) and follows up with practical info like when to splurge and what to order when you’re out at a restaurant. She proves that you don’t have to stress yourself out about eating healthy all the time. Her approach to food is balanced, maintainable and very similar to my outlook on healthy eating. She also provides a whole chapter dedicated to quick and easy meals, snack recipes and sample meal plans. Oh, and her famous vegan macaroon recipe is also included! If you’ve been around the blog world for a while, you’ll know exactly what recipe I’m talking about. 🙂

I’ve had the book for a couple weeks now and tried a few of the recipes including the breakfast cookie and channa masala.

Here’s the breakfast cookie:

Fitnessista's Breakfast Cookie served on white plate on colorful place mat.

I’ve tried this recipe before, but had forgotten how good it is. It’s like overnight oats, only thicker and shaped like a cookie. 🙂

Isaac and I love Indian food so when I saw channa masala in the recipe section I jumped at the chance to make it. We eat Indian out often (Lehja is our favorite spot), but we don’t cook it at home much because for some reason Indian cuisine seems kind of intimidating to me. Maybe all the spices!? That said, Gina’s recipe was really easy, took less than 20 minutes and tasted delish! Oh, and the recipe made a ton. We took a portion to our NYE party to share with everyone and still had leftovers for healthy meals over the next couple days. It was great.

Definitely a must-try recipe.

Fitnessista's Breakfast Cookie served on white plate on colorful place mat.


Channa Masala

  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings


This chickpea channa masala is a healthier version of the classic Indian dish. Serve with brown rice and vegetables for a flavorful meal that’s packed with plant-based protein. Vegan.


  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 (14-16 oz) cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28 oz) can of peeled tomatoes
  • juice of one lemon
  • steamed vegetables, brown rice, or quinoa, to serve


  1. In a large saute pan, cook the onions, garlic and ginger on medium heat in a little olive oil or butter until translucent.
  2. Next, add the spices (cumin, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, cayenne, salt and pepper) and use a wooden spoon to stir and coat the onion/garlic mixture.
  3. Add in the chickpeas and tomatoes, reducing the heat to low. Use a spoon or spatula to break up the tomatoes into the mixture. Allow to cook on low for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the stove and sever over steamed vegetables, brown rice or quinoa.


Tip: This mixture freezes extremely well! It’s also delicious cooked in the slow cooker. I add a bunch of vegetables (chopped zucchini, squash, carrots) to the mixture and add the beans right before serving (since they’re fully cooked and turn into mush when cooked for too long). Set it on low for four hours and enjoy an Indian-spiced veggie dinner.

  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • Serving Size: 1/6 recipe without rice or vegetables
  • Calories: 270
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 12g

If you’re looking for new workout ideas, recipes or a little extra motivation this January, be sure to check out HIIT It! Learn more about it here and/or buy directly from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

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  1. Delicious! Thank you for sharing!

    [note: you forgot to mention when to add the lemon juice. I added it at the same time as the chick peas and the tomatoes and it came out great!]

  2. Yum! This looks so good! That book looks amazing too? Does it have plans it in or just exercises! I love HIIT, it is definitely effective. Thanks for the review.

  3. I just had some great Indian food this weekend and have been on the hunt for an easy recipe. I love the idea of adding more veggies and throwing it in the crock pot. Would be great for lunches throughout the week.

  4. I just got HIIT It a few days ago and have already read through it cover to cover. It’s such a fantastic resource!

  5. I’m making this either tonight or tomorrow – cant decide between this and the cauliflower rice recipe you posted yesterday! ohh i’m off today so maybe ill make both. looks so good – right up my ally.
    I HAVE to get that book!! do they have it at barnes?

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