Coconut Lime Chickpea Curry
Thanks to Sprouts Farmers Market for sponsoring this post
It was over steaming bowls of this savory curry when a debate broke out about whether or not it actually qualifies as stew. Some at the table declared a resolute no, claiming it was decidedly a soup, since stew requires meat. I was in the opposite camp, noting that it has all the essential qualities of stew: wholesome ingredients, gently cooked in liquid, thicker than soup, full of comfort.
Turns out I was technically wrong, at least according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which defines stew as “fish or meat usually with vegetables prepared by stewing”.
A Meal Worth Making
Regardless of what it’s called, this is a meal worth making. Its genesis was a New York Times recipe for Spiced Chickpea Stew that my sister insisted I try. Clearly, though, it has Central Asian roots, with its blend of turmeric, ginger, garlic, chile, and coconut milk. While it looked like my kind of dish, it also struck me as too decadent and a touch too complicated for quick weeknight cooking. So I set to tinkering by simplifying the method and adjusting a few ingredients.
The swap that made the biggest impact nutrition-wise, was replacing full-fat coconut milk with Sprouts Organic Light Coconut Milk. That one little change translates to a savings of nearly 20 grams of saturated fat and 200 calories per bowl. Because I’d cut out so much fat from the recipe (which plays a role in carrying flavor), I decided to give it an additional boost by squeezing a few limes into the pot at the tail end of cooking. That turned out to be an essential move for added brightness and balance.
Once the cooking is done, the stew is excellent as is, but gets “next-level” delicious when finished with a swirl of yogurt, fresh mint, and crispy roasted chickpeas, which you can make yourself or pick up from the market.
Aside from how smashingly good this stew tastes, it’s ridiculously good for you. Each bowl delivers nearly half your daily needs for fiber, more than 100 percent for vitamins A and C, 12 grams of protein, and 20 percent of daily needs for iron. It’s a nourishing, filling bowl. It’s stew, even if Merriam-Webster (and my dining companions) think otherwise.
Coconut Lime Chickpea Curry with Leafy Greens
This is everything you want in a cozy stew: filling, flavorful, and nourishing. It can also be made vegan if you swap in a plant-based yogurt. The chickpeas do double duty in this dish by serving as its foundation as well as a crispy topping to scatter on at the very finish.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic finely chopped
- One 2-inch piece fresh ginger chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use 1/4 teaspoon if you want it spicy)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Two 13.5-ounce cans organic light coconut milk from Sprouts market
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 bunch kale stems removed, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- To garnish: 3/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup torn mint leaves, 1 cup crispy/crunchy salted chick peas (store-bought or homemade; find recipe in Notes)
Heat the olive oil in a medium/large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute until the onion is fairly tender and translucent, 5 minutes.
Add turmeric, cayenne, kosher salt, black pepper, and chickpeas. Cook for about 3 minutes to soften the chickpeas a bit, occasionally mashing them with the back of a spoon to break them up a bit.
Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth, raise the heat until it boils, then drop the heat to a simmer. Simmer the stew until it thickens and deepens in flavor, 30 minutes, mashing the chickpeas with the back of a spoon a few times as it cooks.
Add the kale, stir, and continue to simmer until the leaves are tender, 7 minutes. Add the lime juice and additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.
Ladle into bowls and top with a yogurt, mint, and chickpeas as desired.
To make crispy chick peas, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss together 1 cup cooked chick peas, 2 teaspoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon turmeric, a few dashes cayenne, and a big pinch salt. Spread out on the baking sheet and bake until golden and crisp, 30 minutes.
Adapted from a recipe by Alison Roman in the New York Times