Beef and Chickpea Curry with Spinach

March 1, 2011

I’m not vegetarian, but a lot of the meals I make put more emphasis on the vegetables rather than making the meat the centerpiece.  The Healthy Slow Cooker is a perfect cookbook for flexitarian eaters like me; most slow cooker books emphasize large roasts (5 pounds of meat? How do people afford this??), but this book’s recipes typically call for 1-2 pounds or less of beef (more for chicken, but the author prefers bone-in chicken). Many of the recipes are also vegetarian or vegan-friendly as well.

One of my favorite crock pot dishes from this book is this beef and chickpea curry. While it does take a little bit of extra time to brown the meat and soften the vegetables before adding to the slow cooker, the flavor this extra step adds is marvelous. I usually do the pre-cooking the night before (keeping the browned meat and the veggies in separate containers in the fridge), then it’s super fast in the morning to throw everything in the slow cooker before work.

Beef and chickpea curry

Works best in slow cookers that are 3.5-6 quarts. Best served over brown basmati rice.

Serves 4


  • 1  tbsp olive oil
  • 1  pound stew beef or chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2  onions, finely chopped
  • 4  cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  tbsp minced gingerroot
  • 1/2  tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1  piece cinnamon stick (1 inch)
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 2  cups beef stock
  • 1  can (14-19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1  tsp curry powder, dissolved in 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1  package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • Plain yogurt, optional


  1. Dry beef with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add beef, in batches, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Add more oil if necessary. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions to pan and cook, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, gingerroot, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add beef stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
  3. Add chickpeas and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, until beef is tender. Add curry powder solution and stir well. Add spinach and stir until submerged. Cover and cook on high for 20 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls over rice and drizzle with yogurt, if using.

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