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Chickpea and Kale Stew

January 28, 2019

Serves four to six people

Chickpeas and kale, simmered in coconut milk and generously spiced, may seem virtuous, but it’s so good you won’t want to share.


  • 4 tablespoons good quality olive oil, or more as needed
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • One 2-inch piece ginger, grated
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Two 15-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock, or more as needed
  • One 5-ounce package baby kale (about 5 handfuls)
  • Za’atar for garnish (optional)


  1. For this recipe you’ll want a large pot with a wide cooking surface. We use a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet.
  2. In the pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spatula. Add garlic and ginger and cook until garlic is fragrant and you see a little brown on some of the onions, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  3. Stir in turmeric and red-pepper flakes, and then add the chickpeas. Season again with salt and pepper. Add remaining tablespoon of oil and cook, stirring frequently, until the chickpeas start to pop in the pan and get a little browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste a chickpea or two, and add a little more oil if chickpeas seem dry.
  4. Remove about one cup of chickpeas and set aside for garnish. (This is optional and just makes the dish look fancy.)
  5. Use the spatula to slightly mash the chickpeas in the pan. You’ll want them about half whole. Add coconut milk and stock to the pot, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, until stew thickens and flavors develop. Taste as you go to determine if the chickpeas need a little more time.
  6. Add kale and stir into the chickpea mixture. Cook an additional 8 minutes, or until kale has cooked and softened. At this point the stew should be nice and thick. Add chicken broth if mixture is too thick for your taste, or you want a more soup-like consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve stew in bowls with the reserved chickpeas and a sprinkle of za’atar on top. (Add extra red pepper flakes on top if you like it hot.) Serve with warmed pita wedges for dipping. Heavenly!

Cook’s note

America’s Test Kitchen found that the quality of coconut milk makes a real difference in the taste and outcome of a dish. Here are their top four (and only) recommended brands: Aroy-D, Roland, Goya and Chaokoh.