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. Pre-heat 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.
This is always one of the first recipes I make once the weather gets colder. It's just so warm and comforting at the end of a long day. I love the mix of all the different vegetables and how the curry-scented coconut milk brings it all together. It's easy to forget that it's actually a vegan recipe!
One thing to note is that this recipe makes a lot! It can be halved if you have a smaller crockpot or if you don't want to make such a big batch. I usually go for gold and make the entire batch, freezing half in individual portions for quick meals later in the fall.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium red or yellow potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
2 cups vegetable broth
2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1 green bell pepper, diced 1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juices
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1 (10-ounce) bag baby spinach
1 cup coconut milk
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion with one teaspoon of salt until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and another teaspoon of salt, and sauté until just translucent around the edges.
Stir in the curry, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and chili and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in 1/4 cup of broth and scrape up any toasty 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.)
To the slow-cooker, add the rest of the broth, chickpeas, bell pepper, cauliflower, tomatoes with their juices, the pepper, and the final teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine. The liquid should come about half way up the sides of the bowl; add more broth as necessary. Cover and cook for 4 hours on HIGH.
Stir in the spinach and coconut milk. Cover with lid for a few more minutes to allow the spinach to wilt. Taste and correct the salt and other seasonings as needed.
Serve on its own or over cous cous, Israeli cous cous, or orzo pasta.
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 stove top 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 ha wilted. Taste and add more seasonings if needed.
This recipe was originally published October 2008.