This plant-based 15-minute chickpea curry with kale is fragrant, flavorful, and highly nutritious. The curry sauce is lightly creamy and not overpowering. The simplicity of the recipe makes it perfect for a weekday dinner or meal prep.
Intro to the 15-Minute Chickpea Curry with Kale
This is another one of those dishes that I came across at a restaurant and really enjoyed, this time at V-Spot Organic in New York. Though this particular dish doesn’t seem to be on their menu anymore, I highly recommend V-Spot for plant-based Latin food in the East Village.
I was struck by the simplicity and comforting flavor of the dish and figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to recreate at home. I also really like the nutritional profile here – it’s balanced between protein and carbs with a good amount of fiber and micronutrients.
How to make the 15-Minute Chickpea Curry with Kale
First comes the prep. You use a garlic press to quickly smash some garlic and a grater to grate a bit of ginger. These fresh herbs go a long way in making the dish fragrant and flavorful. Wash and remove the ribs from the kale (either discard the ribs or mince them finely).
Cooking is very straightforward. Heat a bit of oil in a skillet to saute the garlic and ginger. Add the spice mix (curry powder and garam masala) and toast the spices for a couple of minutes. Then stir in a mixture of plant milk and peanut butter for a tiny bit of richness.
The canned chickpeas come next. We don’t need to cook them, only heat them through and infuse them with the flavor of the sauce. The kale leaves go in next. We’ll cook them until just wilted, so they don’t get bitter.
Possible Variations on the dish
- Fresh spinach instead of kale – I know a few people who aren’t fans of kale. I blame bad experiences (never blame kale; it did nothing wrong) but if you want to sub spinach for kale, just stir it in it at the very end. Spinach should wilt in less than 30 seconds. Once it’s wilted, stop cooking and start eating.
- Lentils to replace the chickpeas – If you’re starting from dry beans, lentils are a lot faster to cook than chickpeas. Cook them ahead of time. You won’t need to cook them in the curry for as long as the chickpeas (subtract about 2 minutes). Be careful not to mash them when you stir. Canned lentils are also a convenient option.
- Coconut milk instead of plant milk – You can make the dish a bit richer and give it some coconut fragrance by adding full-fat coconut milk. If you do this, you may want to skip the peanut butter if you don’t want it excessively rich.
- Top the curry with fried shallots because they’re great on everything – If you have them on hand like me (I’ve been testing recipes with them) they are super handy. The crispy texture is really satisfying and they add just a tiny bit of onion flavor, which goes nicely with curry.
More Plant-Based Curry Recipes for your Enjoyment
- Jackfruit Massaman Curry – Huge flavors and fragrances from fresh spices. Totally worth the little bit of extra work.
- Japanese Curry Rice – A classic well-rounded curry with potatoes and carrots. Goes well with practically anything savory.
- Curry Tofu Scramble – A healthy yet indulgent-tasting breakfast dish.
More Quick Veggie Dishes for Weeknights
- 3-Ingredient Creamed Spinach – Rich and creamy but shockingly simple to make.
- Roasted Oyster Mushrooms – toasted on the edges and meaty and juicy in the center, they go with everything.
- Air Fryer Roasted Potatoes – Crispy on the outside, tender and almost sweet on the inside.
As always, if you try this recipe out, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @gastroplant on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
15-Minute Chickpea Curry with Kale
- 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
- 2 cloves fresh garlic minced or smashed in a garlic press
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger minced or grated
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 cup plant milk unsweetened and unflavored
- 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter unsalted and unsweetened
- 1 can chickpeas drained
- 2 cups kale shredded with the ribs removed
- Salt to taste
- Nutritional yeast optional
- Japanese seven-spice aka shichimi togarashi (optional)
- Combine the plant milk and peanut butter in a bowl. Use a fork or whisk to briefly mix them together. They don’t need to be completely mixed. Place the bowl near your stove.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and ginger. Stir until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the curry powder and garam masala. Stir to mix well to form a paste with the other ingredients. Cook the spice paste until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes.
- Add the plant milk and peanut butter mixture. Stir well with a spatula to integrate the paste and liquid as thoroughly as possible.
- When the liquid reaches a gentle boil, add the chickpeas. Stir well to coat the chickpeas with the sauce. Stir occasionally for the next 2 minutes or so, until the chickpeas are heated through.
- Stir in the kale. Stir occasionally until the kale leaves are wilted but still a vibrant green color. It’s important not to overcook the kale because that will make it bitter.
- Add salt (and nutritional yeast and Japanese seven-spice, if using)
- Serve immediately.