Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry

This easy Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry is completely vegan, packed with vegetables, and can be made in the Instant Pot too. Mildly spiced and balanced with coconut milk, this vegetarian curry is freezer friendly, and packed with plant-based protein to boot.

overhead photo of two bowls of slowcooker chickpea curry on a grey background

Hey! Are you looking for the best vegan curry recipe on the internet? 

Or, wait. Maybe a killer Instant Pot Chickpea Curry?

What about Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry? 

You are? Amazing news… this is all of those things! 

Yep, you heard me right. What I’ve got here today is a easy, delicious, and nourishing vegan chickpea curry recipe that I’ve tested in both the Instant Pot and in my trusty ol’ crockpot to bring you a delightfully simple recipe that you can make whatever way you like. 

I’ve kind of got a thing for vegetarian curry recipes, as you might have guessed from my Mung Bean and Coconut Curry (the most popular recipe on HNL, by a landslide) or my Red Lentil Dal recipe (also slow cooker and Instant Pot tested), or my Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps. So when I say that *this* chickpea curry recipes is the bomb dot com, I feel like I’m kind of an authority on the matter. 

Are you ready to take a trip to curry town with me? Let’s go!

spinach, cauliflower, chickpeas, potato, coconut milk, tomatoes, red and green peppers, onion, garlic, ginger, and spices on a grey background

What’s in this Chickpea Curry recipe?

Alrighty my friends, here’s what you’re going to need:

  • Chickpeas –> You saw that coming, right? Canned is fine, but if you want to start from dried, be sure to check out my post on how to cook dried beans.
  • Cauliflower –> The other other white veg. Or whatever.
  • Potatoes –> Some nice starch going on here.
  • Bell peppers –> Both red and green.
  • Canned tomatoes –> A beloved pantry staple.
  • Vegetable broth –> Not pictured, but it’s in there. 
  • Coconut milk –> Nice and lush.
  • Spinach –> A whole baby of baby spinach.
  • Onions –> Our flavour base.
  • Ginger and garlic –> flavour support crew.
  • Curry powder –> Yup.
  • Cayenne pepper –> Bringing the heat. 

Do I need any special equipment?

You’ll need either a slow cooker or an Instant Pot.

When I got my Instant Pot I bought the extra glass lid with vent that allows me to use it as a slow cooker as well, and then gave my slow cooker away, which is why all of the photos below are in an Instant Pot, even when we’re referring to a slow cooker. Sorry for any confusion. 

How do you make this recipe?

Whether you decide to make Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry or Instant Pot Chickpea Curry, we’re going to start by cooking our aromatics, like onions, garlic, ginger, and spices.

If you have an Instant Pot you can do this right in the appliance using the sauté function. If you’re using a classic slow cooker like a Crock Pot, you’ll need to start the aromatics in a frying pan and then transfer them to the slow cooker. It’s no big deal, but will dirty up an extra dish. 

photo collage of chickpea curry being prepared in an instant pot

Step 1: Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan or in your Instant Pot on sauté. Add the onions, and sauté for about five minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions are translucent. 

Step 2: Add the garlic, ginger, spices, and salt, and sauté for 1-2 additional minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, and, if you’re using a slow cooker, scrape the contents of the pan into the ceramic base. 

Step 3: Add the cauliflower, potatoes, red and green peppers, and the chickpeas.

Step 4: Add the canned tomatoes and the vegetable broth. Give it a good stir. 

Step 5: Cook the curry! 

photo collage of chickpea curry being made in an instant pot

If you’re making Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry, set your slow cooker to HIGH for four hours. 

If you’re making Instant Pot Chickpea Curry, set it to HIGH PRESSURE on manual for five minutes. Once the pressure cooking cycle is done, you’ll want to use a quick release

Step 6: Remove the lid, and give the curry a stir. Add the baby spinach, bit by bit, and stir it through to wilt. 

Step 7: Add the coconut milk, and stir to combine.

That’s it! Your curry is done!

a bowl of chickpea curry on a grey background with rice and torn naan bread

Can I make this recipe in advance?

You sure can. It will last for about 5 days in an air-tight container in your fridge. Leftovers reheat well, and it’s one of those recipes that tastes better the day after it’s first made. 

Can I freeze the curry?

You can and you should. I like to freeze individual servings to have on hand for busy days. I usually freeze soups and stews in empty cottage cheese containers because we pretty much always have some on hand. 

Otherwise, I love to freeze stews like this chickpea curry in reusable silicon freezer bags. 

Can I substitute x, y, or z?

Probably! If you read the comments below you’ll see that some folks have swapped out the potato for sweet potato, for example. You can generally use vegetables that you love, so long as they’re of a sturdy nature that would hold up well to the long time in the slow cooker. 

If you *do* try a substitution, please let us know in the comments below!

Hey Nutrition Lady, are chickpeas healthy. 

Yup. Here’s what you need to know:

Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, are a super food! They contain about 12.5 grams of fiber per cup, which is 50% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. Keeps you regular, folks!

About two-thirds of the fiber in garbanzos is insoluble, which is great for digestive health, particularly in the colon. The remaining third is soluble fiber, which can help lower our LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides; important for cardiovascular health.

Chickpeas are also a great source of plant-based protein, offering up about 12 grams per cup. The protein-fiber combination in chickpeas is key for stabilizing blood sugar levels, as both protein and fiber move through our digestive systems at a moderate pace.

Chickpeas are notable for antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, but also contain concentrated supplies of antioxidant phytonutrients such as flavonoids and polyphenols.  Chickpeas also contain valuable amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the body’s omega-3 fatty acid from which all other omega-3 fats are made. Chickpeas – what’s not to love?!

slow cooker chickpea curry in ceramic bowls on a grey background

Other Cozy Dishes You Might Enjoy:

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Dal  
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Mung Bean and Coconut Curry
Red Lentil Stew
Vegan Chickpea Noodle Soup

a bowl of vegan chickpea curry with a bowl of rice in the background
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4.7 from 13 votes

Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry

This easy Chickpea Curry is completely vegan, packed with vegetables, and can be made in the Slow Cooker or the Instant Pot. Mildly spiced and balanced with coconut milk, this vegetarian curry is freezer friendly to boot.
Course Main Course, Stew
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Chickpea Curry, Instant Pot, Slow Cooker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 221kcal
Author Katie Trant

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 medium yellow potatoes diced
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger finely diced or grated
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced or crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 14 oz cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper diced
  • 1 medium head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 8 oz bag baby spinach

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed flying pan over medium-high heat. If you're using an Instant Pot, this can be done directly in the pot using the sauté function.
  • Add the onion, and sauté until translucent - about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the curry powder, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper, and cook for about 1 minute. 
  • Remove the onions from the heat, and scrape them, along with all of the spices, into the slow cooker. If any of the spices are stuck to the pan, you can rinse it out with a bit of vegetable broth. 
  • Add the chickpeas, peppers, potato, cauliflower, tomatoes, and broth.

Slow Cooker Instructions

  • Cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Seal the Instant Pot and set to manual HIGH PRESSURE for 5 minutes. When the pressure cooking cycle is complete, use the quick release.

To finish

  • Stir in the spinach bit by bit to allow it to wilt. 
  • Stir in the coconut milk. 
  • Taste, and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Serve over rice, or with naan bread. 

Notes

  • Nutrition values are an estimate only.
  • Chickpea curry will last 3-5 days in the fridge, or you can portion it and freeze for up to three months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 555mg | Potassium: 313mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 690IU | Vitamin C: 67.7mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 0.7mg

This recipe was originally published February 16, 2018. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on February 27, 2020.

Comments

  1. Kiran Gill says

    Hi, I haven’t made this curry yet but was a little worried about using 2 cans? I don’t like too much tomato’s buy this recipe uses 2 cans. Anyone think the tomato taste is overpowering? Thanks

    • Katie Trant says

      Hi Kiran, two cans of tomatoes works out to about 3 cups of crushed tomatoes. Since there are lots of spices and also coconut milk in this recipe I wouldn’t say it’s overwhelmingly tomato-ey, but who knows, if you don’t like tomatoes you may not like it ????????‍♀️

    • Katie Trant says

      Each 14oz can contains about 1.5 cups of chickpeas, so you’d use 3 cups of COOKED chickpeas. Don’t put the dried beans into this recipe without soaking and cooking them first.

      • Bruno says

        Hi, I made it with dried chickpeas, low setting, 8 hours, works fine. I think you do not need to soak pulses to cook in a slow cooker, generally.
        I made it without cauliflower (I had no time in the morning to cut it). I was an OK result, my family liked it. I was not too impressed though: I would have liked more coconut milk in it, for one (a matter of personal taste). But it was also a little bland. Definitely worth trying again with somewhat different spicing.

  2. Christine Bandy says

    Oh my gosh so delicious!!! Used half potato, half sweet potato and daaamn was it good! Also sprinkled a little hot chili flakes on at the end. A+ lady!!

  3. JANICE says

    I made this for the first time today and it was a nice easy recipe to follow. The flavours were really good so I’ll make it again. It’d be nice if the cauliflower didn’t get so soft but with 4 hours in the slow cooker, it was inevitable. Next time I may try adding it partway through to try to keep some texture instead of being so mushy. Or I may try doing it on the stove top instead of the slowcooker. I also found mine to have quite a bit of liquid but served over rice it soaked in nicely.

  4. alice k mynett says

    We are not a meat-free household, as you know, but I always have portions of this chick pea curry in my freezer for use when a vegetarian visits (like tomorrow). Thank you for helping me to be prepared for different dietary needs.

  5. Tessa says

    I’m not normally a fan of curry but this dish was my kind of food and I had to try it. Very tasty. I definitely will be making it again.

  6. Jo says

    Hi there …… I can’t wait to make this. Only thing is, I don’t own a slow cooker!
    Any chance you could steer me in the right direction to either cooking it in a crock pot in the oven or on the stove top?
    Many thanks in advance!

    • Katie Trant says

      Hi Jo, I’ve never tried making this recipe not in a slowcooker, so I can’t say exactly how it would turn out. But I’d guess at cooking the onions garlic and ginger until soft, adding the potatoes, peppers, cauliflower, and spices and sautéing for a few min, then adding the tomatoes and veg broth, bringing to a boil, then reducing, covering, and simmering until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender. Then add the spinach and coconut milk. This is a total guess though, so please excuse any errors in execution!

      • Jo says

        That’s very sweet of you to work that out for me! Meanwhile I’ve found a 5 liter slow cooker in KMart for only $20 so now I can cook it slow ….. or fast!
        Many thanks Katie!

      • Bill says

        While I’ve got you here so to speak, what should the consistency be like when it’s ready to serve? I made a batch last night (so late that it finished at 1am, haha) and while the ingredients added a lot of volume the sauce is fairly watery. Was going to simmer it today to reduce it.

        • Katie Trant says

          Hey Bill, while the sauce shouldn’t be super liquidy, with the coconut milk added at the end what you have is a fragrant broth that’s excellent to sop up with some rice or bread. So not runny like a soup, but there is definitely some liquid there (as pictured in this post). All slow cookers are a bit different, so it’s possible yours needed a bit more time. Let me know how it turns out!

  7. Carley says

    This looks like a fantastic recipe! My daughter is allergic to cauliflower…is there anything else that I could use instead or would it be a good idea to add more potatoes and veggies? Also, wondering if this freezes well?

    Thanks!

    • Katie Trant says

      Hi Carley, I haven’t tried this with anything other than cauliflower so I can’t say for sure how it would turn out… I’m thinking zucchini might be a good substitute, but I also worry it might get too mushy with the slow cooking. You can definitely increase all of the other veggies and potatoes. Or you could try using some butternut squash or even parsnip? Let me know what you end up doing and how it turns out! And yes, this recipe freezes like a dream 🙂

  8. Cath says

    YUM! Made this today & it was delicious! Few changes as didn’t have all the ingredients – 1x tin lentils as only had 1 tin chickpea, and pak choi for spinach. Yum. Much enjoyed by 2x 7 year olds too. Thank you!

    • Katie Trant says

      Those sound like great swaps, Cath! I never would have considered using pak choi in this dish, but I can totally see how it would work. And if it’s 7yr old approved, even better!

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