Slow Cooker Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

This creamy coconut curried stew is a perennial favorite in my house. It’s full of tender vegetables and chickpeas, along with the warming flavors of ginger and garlic — and it’s vegan! Yes, a batch of this stew makes it worth pulling out the slow cooker and clearing some space on the counter.

This is a great clearing-out-the-fridge recipe. My inspiration actually came from an old Cooking Light recipe and a fridge full of vegetables that needed using — but not vegetables that the original recipe called for. I love the big pieces of cauliflower that came from that experiment, but I have also made versions with parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter or summer squash, extra carrots, and Swiss chard.

Since this makes such a large batch, you can freeze what you don’t think you’ll eat in a week. Just freeze it before adding the coconut milk since that can separate and become grainy once frozen.

This recipe is also easily replicated in a Dutch oven, if you’d prefer that route. Preheat your oven to 350°F and do all the steps in your Dutch oven. Cover and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables are tender.

Tester’s Notes

I fell in love with this recipe instantly. You’re very likely to have the ingredients on hand to make this stew at any given time, and the resulting stew is so hearty and satisfying that you’ll be so glad it makes tons of leftovers for eating all week or for stocking your freezer.

If you are culling your basil plants at the end of the summer season, replace the spinach called for here with 4 cups of loosely packed basil. You will not regret it.

Meghan, September 2017

Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

Serves 8 to 10

Adapted from Cooking Light

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided

2 medium red or yellow potatoes, diced

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juices

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (10-ounce) bag baby spinach

1 cup coconut milk

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and sauté until just translucent around the edges.

Stir in the curry, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and cayenne if using and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in 1/4 cup of the broth and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer this onion-potato mixture into the bowl of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. (Halve this recipe for a smaller slow cooker.)

Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups broth, chickpeas, bell peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes with their juices, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. The liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the bowl; add more broth as needed. Cover and cook for on the HIGH setting for 4 hours.

Stir in the spinach and coconut milk. Cover and let sit for a few more minutes to allow the spinach to wilt. Taste and season with salt and other seasonings as needed. Serve on its own, or over couscous, Israeli couscous, or orzo pasta.

Recipe Notes

  • Smaller slow cookers: Cut this recipe in half for a smaller slow cooker.
  • Dutch-oven version: Instead of cooking in a slow cooker, simmer the stew in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over low heat on the stovetop or in a 350°F oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the spinach and coconut milk and stir until the spinach has wilted.

This recipe was originally published October 2008.

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