Simple and hearty, this chickpea stew is packed with kale for a healthy and substantial vegetarian meal. Warm curry spices and turmeric gives your winter immune system the boost it needs to get through the season. Serve with a chunk of crusty bread to soak up the yummy spiced broth.
This recipe originally appeared on this blog in 2012! I've updated the post with new photos, more details and instant pot instructions as well the slow-cooker instructions.
Several sources of inspiration and circumstances created this dish this week.... but most of all, I was inspired by the bunch of kale I bought last week still sitting in my crisper. Because, honestly, we just have to eat the kale.
You really don't have to tell me to eat more kale. I already know I should eat more kale. I buy kale every chance I get. But sometimes I just don't get around to eating it.
Besides the fact that is so cold outside, mid-January cold actually, needless to say I was looking for something comforting to warm us. And then there was also the fact that I really did not want to bother with cooking. Do you know those days? As in "Please, do not make me do anything" kinda of day.
This stew is perfect for that. Throw it in the slow-cooker and forget about it for a while.. and the kitchen will smell so, so good. Or use the instant pot because it is4pm and you are still in your PJs and everyone is hungry now.
Ingredients and flavours
Curry flavours and a little spice make this stew fragrant and warming. And turmeric - it is so good for you and makes every thing golden.
Curry powder - your favourite brand and variety. I tend to use a mild curry powder from McCormick most often. Curry powder is a blend of various spices, it is the backbone for the rich fragrance of this chickpea stew. I stick with a mild blend as a base for dishes like this, then add in a little extra of some of my favourite curry spice components to highlight them.
Ginger - I used both fresh and dried ground here. Fresh ginger is bright and spicy, whereas dried ground ginger is sweet and warm. I like both.
Chilli flakes - I like spice. This is optional and depends on how spicy you like things. I like a little heat. You could also use cayenne pepper, just a pinch of two, if you don't have dried chilli flakes.
In addition to the above, I usually add the following individual spices. If you are just building your spice pantry, I get it takes time and money, you can skip all this and just use a good curry powder. Use 1 tablespoon curry powder in place of 1 teaspoon curry powder and a teaspoon of each of the following:
Corriander, Cumin - already in your curry powder, so just a little extra to highlight these special spices.
Tumeric - also already in your curry powder. But given its health-promoting benefits, and considering it dead-winter cold right now, I'm adding a bit more to boost the healing properties of this stew. Tumeric is good for inflammation and full of antioxidants, so generally, I try to add a little extra to soups and stews when the flavours will work well together. Make sure you add some black pepper too so the Tumeric can do its thing. Tumeric is what gives this stew it's beautiful golden hue.
Black Mustard seeds - I've used black mustard seeds, which is a traditional curry spice and gives the dish a deep peppery bite. If you don't have black mustard, just leave this step out. I like the looks of the little seeds in my soup dish and the sound of them popping when I toast them.
Slow Cooker Instructions
First the aromatics. Sauté the onions, garlic and ginger for a few minutes until fragrant and beginning to soften. Then add in the spices – curry powder through salt and cook another 2-3 minutes. Careful not to burn, and remove from the heat
Dump everything into the slow-cooker. Add the onions and spice mixture plus everything else to the slow-cooker. Turn it on high. Clean up your mess and go have a nap.
Add the kale. When the stew has cooked for about 3 hours on high heat or 6-8 on low heat, add the thinly sliced kale. Turn heat up to high and replace slow cooker lid. Continue to cook until the kale is softened, 15-20 minuted.
Can I make this in the Instant Pot?
Yes - you can make this stew in the instant pot! And the best part is you do don't have to dirty a saute pan to soften the onions and garlic and toast the spices! You can do it all in the IP.
Use the saute function - or the brown function in a Crockpot express - and brown the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add the spices and toast just a minute or two. Then press cancel before adding the remaining ingredients.
Pressure cook - Add the remaining ingredients, except the kale, and secure the lid in the sealing position. Set for manual (use the bean function in the Crockpot express), high pressure for 15 minutes.
Release pressure naturally for 10 minutes, carefully remove the lid and stir in the kale. The kale will wilt in a few minutes. Serve.
I get it! Spices can be expensive and take up a lot of space in a small kitchen! Start slowly and build up from there. For recipes like this, I think a good quality curry powder will get you on your way. As you become more familiar with spices you can add to your collection and try new flavour profiles.
For this recipe - to keep things simple use 2 teaspoons of curry powder, a pinch of chilli flakes or cayenne if you want some heat, and fresh garlic or ginger.
I keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Leftovers reheat perfectly.
For freezing -- yes, you can freeze this stew! Freeze stew in an air-tight container or freezer-safe ziptop bag. I like to use ziptop bags, squeeze all the air out and lay them flat until they are frozen. This way they stack nicely in my freezer. Make sure you label and date it! It will keep frozen for at least 3 months.
Reheating - allow to thaw and transfer to a saucepan or microwave-safe dish, reheating gently on the stove-top or for a few minutes in the microwave.
Spinach makes an easy substitute for kale. I like baby spinach and I always have this on hand too. Baby spinach is more delicate and will wilt very quickly. If using the slow-cooker or the instant pot, you will only need a few minutes to wilt the spinach.
Chickpea and Kale Stew
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger root grated
- 1 tsp mild curry powder, dried ground cumin, dried ground coriander and tumeric powder 1 teaspoon of each spice, or use 1 tablespoon of curry powder instead
- ½ teaspoon of salt or to taste
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds optional
- pinch red pepper flakes optional and depending on heat tolerance, cayenne pepper can be used as well
- 3 cups chickpeas cooked or canned
- 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- 2 cups thinly sliced kale
Slow cooker instructions
- n a medium frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and sauté onions, garlic and fresh ginger root. 2-3 minutes until fragrant and beginning to soften. Add spices – curry powder through salt and cook another 2-3 minutes. Careful not to burn, reducing heat if needed. Add If using black mustard seeds, they should start to "pop" as they toast. Transfer mixture to the slow-cooker and add chickpeas, vegetable stock and tomatoes. Cook on high 3 hours or low 6-8 hours.
- About 15- minutes before serving, stir in kale and continue to cook on high heat just until the kale has wilted. Taste for seasoning, add salt or pepper if needed. Serve.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Instructions
- Using the saute function of the instant pot or electric pressure cooker, heat oil and sauté onions, garlic and fresh ginger root until fragrant and beginning to soften. Add spices – curry powder through salt and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Careful not to burn. If using black mustard seeds, they should start to "pop" as they toast. Press the cancel button to stop cooking.
- Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and vegetable stock. Stir to combine. Secure the locking lid in place and adjust to the sealing position. Cook on manual (this is "beans" function on the Crockpot express) for 15 minutes at high pressure. Allow pressure to release manually for 10 minutes. Carefully remove lid and stir in kale. Kale should wilt quickly. Taste for seasoning, add salt or pepper if needed. Serve