Slow Cooker Curry Stew with Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes + Kale

Slow Cooker Curry Stew with Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser

My eating habits over the past couple weeks have been less than stellar. As much as I try to eat clean most of the time, some weeks all of that falls to the wayside. I'm especially susceptible to temptation when I'm running errands with the kids, and the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru is just too easy. Or when I taste-test a few too many waffles and pancakes in the name of "recipe development." Or when the kids poop in the tub, you're not home, and your husband ends up scrubbing said tub and two poop-covered toddlers. And then afterwards, he needs feel-good comfort food, so you give in to take-out from Portillo's.

(By the time I came home, he had everything and everyone completely cleaned up. But of course, I couldn't have him eat cheese fries all by himself. Also, maybe I shouldn't talk about poop on a food blog? Oops.)

Slow Cooker Curry Stew with Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser

Needless to say, my body isn't loving my recent food decisions. As much as I love to cook, there are plenty of days when it doesn't happen - and this week included a few too many of those days. But, I'm not going to sulk and feel guilty about it. 1. Because Chick-Fil-A waffle fries and homemade pancakes soaked in orange-bourbon syrup are totally worth it. And 2. That was last week.

Slow Cooker Curry Stew with Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser

Today is a new day, and it's time for me to get back on track. This slow-cooker curry stew is the perfect way to do that. It's vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and almost Whole30 compliant (just sub the chickpeas for more potatoes or other vegetables to make it a W30 recipe). You can also easily change up the vegetables to use what you have on hand. Sub white potatoes for sweet potatoes. Toss in a bag of spinach instead of kale, or add broccoli florets that need to be used up.

Slow Cooker Curry Stew with Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes + Kale | Sarah J. Hauser

So even if you have a rough day with the kiddos, and you end up spending the evening cleaning who-knows-what, you've got a hearty, comforting, clean meal ready to go. 

Of course, no judgment here if you need a few cheese fries, too. 

Slow Cooker Curry Stew with Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes + Kale
Adapted from The Kitchn
Yields about 8 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 Tablespoon kosher salt, divided
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 Tablespoons curry powder
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth, divided
2 (15.5 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 (5 ounce) bag kale (or a few big handfuls of chopped kale)
1 (13-14 ounce) can coconut milk

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (a Dutch oven would also work) over medium heat. Add the diced onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and 1 more teaspoon of salt. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the curry powder, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper (if using) to the pan. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of the vegetable broth, and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.*

Pour the onion, potatoes, spices, and all the liquid from the skillet into the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the rest of the broth, the chickpeas, bell peppers, tomatoes, black pepper, and the last teaspoon of salt. Give everything a good stir. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3 ½ - 4 hours, or until the potatoes are tender. 

Stir in the kale and the can of coconut milk. Replace the lid and allow cook about 10 minutes more, until the kale is wilted. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!

*Note: I have made this recipe by completely skipping the sautéing step, omitting the olive oil, and just tossing the raw onion, potatoes, and spices directly into the slow cooker. It does work and the recipe will still taste good, so that’s an option if you want to cut down on prep time. However, I highly suggest taking the extra few minutes to sauté the onions, potatoes and spices. You’ll get a richer, sweeter, and more flavorful finished dish.