This delicious chickpea and kale curry is super simple to make and a perfect one-pot weeknight option. It uses a number of delicious spices and Indian-inspired cooking techniques and also comes together in under an hour. Oh, and it’s also completely vegan – but you would never know that it is!
So if you’re looking for an elevated yet easy dish to cook on any night of the week, this kale and chickpea curry is sure to be a hit.
Yes, the ingredient list may be a bit long, however, it’s not difficult to make and everything plays its role perfectly. You have full control to make this dish as mild or spicy as you want and it can also suit all kinds of dietary restrictions!
This is a weeknight favourite in our household and I make it for dinner at least a couple of times per month. It’s the perfect dish to warm up a cold evening, however, it can also stand out on its own as a summertime meal.
How to Make Chickpea and Kale Curry
This kale chickpea curry uses a lot of Indian techniques to ensure that it’s incredibly flavourful (similar to my red lentil burgers) and that starts with the very first step – toasting the whole spices.
In a cold, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, add some whole cumin seeds and black mustard seeds (can be found online here).
Set the pot over medium-low heat and allow the pan to slowly heat up. You’ll know it’s ready when the spices smell very fragrant and they begin to dance around a bit in the pan.
This will take a couple of minutes and I urge you not to skip this step – it helps to bring out the flavours of the whole spices!
Once you reach this stage, add a couple of tablespoons of neutral oil to the pan.
Add in a finely diced yellow onion along with a generous pinch of salt. Stir occasionally and cook the onion until it’s softened and a bit translucent – about five minutes.
Then, add a small amount of baking soda to the onion. This may seem like an odd ingredient, however, the baking soda lowers the pH of the onions and allows them to brown and caramelise incredibly quickly.
Once the onions are very soft and brown, another five minutes or so, add some finely diced (or grated) ginger, garlic and a finely chopped green chili along with some tomato paste.
If you want to limit some heat, go ahead and remove the ribs and seeds from the chili. If you want your curry nice and spicy, keep them in (or use 2 chilies!).
Cook all of this until very fragrant and the tomato paste darkens and sticks to the bottom of the pan – only a minute or two.
Next add some ground coriander seed, ground cumin, ground turmeric and a small amount of cayenne pepper.
Now, add in your chickpeas and stir to coat in the onion and spice mixture. Dump in some whole peeled tomatoes that you’ve crushed lightly with your hands and stir to combine.
I like to crush the tomatoes by hand because I feel like you can have more control over the consistency.
Also, many cans of diced tomatoes are treated with calcium chloride which prevents the tomatoes from adequately breaking down in dishes like this.
To the tomatoes, pour in a bit of water or, if you have it on hand, some low-sodium vegetable stock. Stir everything to combine and bring the contents up to a gentle simmer.
Allow the curry to simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes, just so the flavours have time to get to know each other.
Taste the curry and adjust for seasoning at this stage – adding a bit more salt and some freshly ground black pepper if you think it needs it.
Then, add some fresh lemon juice for a pop of acidity, some garam masala for more warm spice and a bit of tahini (which can be found online here) to add some nutty creaminess.
Tahini may seem like a strange addition to this curry, but it works exceptionally well in this circumstance.
The fat content and nuttiness add richness to this chickpea and kale curry that really takes it to the next level. Taste the curry again to adjust for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice if you think it needs it.
Now, it’s time to stir in your kale! Add some torn and chopped kale to the pot and stir until it’s incorporated. Cook for another few minutes, just until the greens are wilted and tender.
All that’s left now is to serve and enjoy! Serve your curry alongside some basmati rice or warm naan and top with fresh chopped cilantro.
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 3-cm (1 inch) piece of ginger, finely minced or grated
- 1-2 green chilis, finely minced (remove ribs and seeds for less heat)
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 400g (15oz) cans chickpeas
- 2 400g (15oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes, lightly crushed with hands (see note 1)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 250g (1/2 pound or about 2 cups) kale, torn from stems and roughly chopped (see note 2)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Add the cumin seeds and black mustard seeds to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Set over medium-low heat and heat until the seeds smell very fragrant and begin to dance around - about 2-3 minutes depending on your stove and pot.
- Add 2 tablespoons of neutral oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Add the onion along with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened and is beginning to turn translucent - about 5 minutes. Add the baking soda and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and browned, another 5 minutes or so.
- Add the garlic, ginger and chilis all at once and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant - about a minute or two.
- Add the tomato paste along with the coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Add a generous few grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine and cook until the tomato paste darkens and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan - about 2 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas and stir to coat in the onion and spice mixture. Then add the tomatoes along with 250ml (1 cup) of water (or vegetable stock). Stir to combine and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavours to meld and come together.
- Taste to adjust for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Then, stir in the tahini, lemon juice and garam masala. Taste again, adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice if necessary.
- Add the kale and stir to incorporate. Cook until wilted and tender, another 3-5 minutes. Serve with rice or naan and top with fresh cilantro.
1. I recommend using whole, peeled canned tomatoes here (and in all my recipes) rather than diced or crushed tomatoes. Canned crushed tomatoes can vary in consistency from brand to brand and diced tomatoes are often treated with calcium chloride which can prevent them from breaking down at all when cooking.
2. Use any hearty, leafy green you'd like here. Chard will work very well, for instance. I wouldn't recommend using spinach as it is too delicate of a green and may disappear rather than add much texture to the finished dish.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 472Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 129mgCarbohydrates: 77gFiber: 21gSugar: 18gProtein: 24g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This chickpea curry with kale is super delicious and surprisingly easy to make. It’s sure to become a favour weeknight meal for the whole family!
Are you planning to make this recipe? Have questions? Let me know in the comments!