Chickpea and Kale Curry

This is one of those recipes that came about one evening when I was hungry and didn’t have anything prepared. I searched for ingredients on hand and came up with this delicious and quick meal. Now, I make a point of preparing it several times a month during the fall and winter. It is warming and filling…not to mention really healthy.

You can make the entire recipe gluten-free by leaving the seitan out or replacing it with an alternative. Refer to the tips section for more detail. The same with respect to the use of oil in this recipe. The small amount I used can easily be left out if you are following an oil-free diet.

Yield: makes about 4-6 servings

  • 500 grams (1 pound) curly kale

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (see notes for oil-free)

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 250 grams (1/2-pound) seitan (see notes to make gluten-free)

  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes

  • extra virgin olive oil to coat the seitan

  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped fine

  • 900 grams (28-ounces or 2 cans) of cooked chickpeas

  • 4 teaspoons spicy curry powder

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 240 ml (about 2 cups) aquafaba

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

  • juice of one lemon

  • Start the recipe by getting your kale prepared. You can do this step up to a day in advance. Strip the leaves from the stems, making sure to keep the stems for later. Tear the leaves into large pieces and place in a bowl. Add the 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Now, get your hands in the bowl and begin to massage the kale…squeezing lightly and releasing. Just continue this process for 2-3 minutes – the kale will begin to break down, turn a dark green color and soften considerably. Set the massaged kale leaves aside.
  • Prepare the seitan next (this is an optional step – see the tips below for alternatives). Slice the seitan into thin squares about 2 ½-cm (1-inch) wide. Place in a bowl and coat with extra virgin olive oil. Season with a pinch of sea salt and the chili flakes. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the seitan in a single layer when the pan is hot. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side. The seitan should just be taking on color…avoid overcooking the seitan as this will make them too chewy. Set aside the seitan when you are finished.
  • Heat a large pan over medium heat. Chop your reserved kale stems very fine (you did save them, right?). Add the stems and the chopped onion to the preheated pan. Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt and stir slightly. The onions will release their water at this point…just leave everything alone to slowly sweat for about 10-15 minutes. Your goal is to completely soften the onions and kale stems.
  • Add the curry powder and smoked paprika to the onions and cook about 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas and aquafaba, then bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until the liquid reduces by about one half.
  • Add the reserved massaged kale and cook about 3-5 minutes longer.
  • Add the tahini and mix well, then add the lemon juice, cook 1-2 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and enjoy hot.

Jack’s Fresh Tip

You can substitute the curly kale with Tuscan kale (dinosaur kale) if you prefer. Simply follow the same instructions as above.

The use of the oil is important to help convert the bitterness in the kale to a sweeter sensation. You can massage the kale just with salt and leave the small amount of oil out of the recipe if you prefer. This will result in a slightly more bitter version of the greens, which can be compensated for in the final dish by adding a pinch or two more of salt.

The seitan is optional in this dish. You can leave this step out if you want to make your dish gluten-free. Alternatively, you can also use tofu pieces and follow the same instructions as above or even crumbled tempeh.

I like to cook my own chickpeas and save the cooking water (aquafaba). You can make an effective version of this recipe with canned chickpeas.

Techniques used

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