Vegan Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew
Yield: 8-10 servings
Loaded with flavor and healthy appeal, this filling stew can also be a convenient way to clean out your crisper drawer. Feel free to use kale or chard (or even frozen peas or green beans) instead of spinach or sweet potatoes instead of regular. Mix up the pepper color, swap carrots or zucchini for a vegetable you’re not so fond of, make it spicier, etc. Any way you go about this soup, it’s sure to be a winner!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced (~1½ cups)
  • 2 medium red or yellow potatoes, diced (a waxy vs. baking potato; ~12 ounces total, no need to peel)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (I think red curry paste would be lovely, too)
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar (could sub sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (use ¼ teaspoon or to taste for a little heat)
  • 2 cups (480ml) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 bell peppers, color of choice (I like to use red or a mix), seeded and diced
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small, bite-sized florets (~1¾ to 2 pounds when weighed whole)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt* and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (5-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (I’ve used regular and light)

For stovetop cooking:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven (at least 6 quart) over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until lightly golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and sauté until the edges are translucent with a touch of golden brown in places, about 3 or 4 minutes more.
  2. Add the second tablespoon of oil (you may eyeball the oil with a few turns around the pan), and then stir in the curry powder, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and cayenne. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in ¼ cup or so of the broth and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the remaining broth, chickpeas, bell peppers, cauliflower, crushed tomatoes or puree, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. The mixture will be thick.
  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook on low for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice and checking occasionally for doneness starting just before the 45-minute mark.
  5. When the potatoes and cauliflower are tender, stir in the chopped spinach (roughly chopping it ensures that you don’t have any long, stringy pieces!) and coconut milk. Once the spinach has wilted, adjust for seasoning and enjoy.
  6. Serve on its own as a filling all-in-one meal or over rice, couscous (Israeli or regular), quinoa or orzo, or with a crusty piece of bread for mopping the bowl.

For slow cooker preparation:

  1. If your cooker does not have a “sauté” feature, start with a skillet instead of a soup pot or Dutch oven, and transfer the onion-potato mixture to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker after the deglazing the pan with the ¼ cup broth, scraping up and including all the flavorful bits from the pan. Add the remaining 1¾ cups broth, chickpeas, bell peppers, cauliflower, tomato puree, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. The liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the bowl; add more broth if needed.
  2. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours. If possible, check on the early side to see if the potatoes and cauliflower are tender, as not all slow cookers cook at the same rate. When the vegetables are cooked to your liking, stir in the spinach and coconut milk, and then cover for a few minutes so that the spinach wilts. Check for seasoning and enjoy.

For oven preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Being sure to use a Dutch oven or oven-safe soup pot, follow the stovetop instructions until the mixture comes to a simmer in Step 4. Then cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender. Add the spinach and coconut milk and stir until the spinach has wilted.


*I’ve reduced the salt to 2 teaspoons and the stew is still good, but because the batch is quite large, the full tablespoon does, I think, yield a better-seasoned finished product. That said, feel free to use the lower amount if watching sodium closely.

Smaller slow cookers: Cut this recipe in half for a smaller slow cooker.

A few more ideas:

  • A friend mentioned this took 8 minutes in her Instant Pot, but I haven’t tried that method myself.
  • A handful or two of fresh basil, stirred in with the spinach, is a lovely addition if you have some on hand.
  • Cilantro lovers may enjoy the addition of this fresh herb, either stirred in with the spinach (start with ¼ to ½ cup and add to taste) or used as a flavorful garnish.
  • For complementary crunch, sprinkle individual servings with some roasted cashews.
  • If you enjoy a touch of acid, you may wish to serve with lemon wedges.
  • If you’d prefer a soupier consistency, feel free to add more broth and/or the whole can of coconut milk. In this case, and depending on how much liquid is added, you may wish to increase the spices and seasonings to taste.
  • This soup freezes well, although coconut milk can separate upon thawing. If you make this soup with the intention of freezing a portion, you may wish to add the coconut milk only to the portion you are serving immediately.

Adapted from:

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