Lightened-Up Crockpot Chicken CurryJun 19, 2019
When I began to brainstorm what meal I wanted to whip up for my boyfriend, Sam, to celebrate his 24th birthday, curry quickly came to mind. While I adore exotic, spice-filled food of all types, I never really gave Indian food specifically much thought before Sam and I started dating almost four years ago.
One of his family traditions growing up was ordering in Indian food regularly, and it didn’t take him long to scope out the best Chicken Tikka Masala in Austin after we moved to town.
Sam’s only major issue with the Indian that food he adores is how it makes him feel afterwards. Though it tastes incredible, he complains of that overly full, sluggish feeling after indulging. So for this recipe, I wanted to show sweet Sammy that his favorite Indian dishes can actually be nourishing, energizing and health-packed in addition to delicious.
I created a “lightened up” chicken curry that takes no time to prepare before you allow the crockpot to take the reins. Not only are slow cooker meals incredibly convenient, but they also allow the spices and flavors to meld and build throughout the day.
One of the many reasons why I love Indian-inspired meals is the deep, healing spices that always make an appearance. Specifically, curry powder brings its signature flavor and warmth along with many health benefits that might surprise you.
Curry is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that fights cancer, can combat Alzheimer’s disease and promotes a healthy gut. I love adding this spice to both warm stews like this recipe as well as cooler dishes like my Curry Chicken Salad.
Another one of my favorite, flavorful additions is fresh ginger. This root has been used for centuries due to its medicinal properties, including the ability to aid digestion and reduce nausea.
Likewise, ginger is an anti-inflammatory that can help to reduce muscle soreness and joint pain. It even helps protect against cancer, prevents infections and lowers cholesterol as well.
In addition to these spices, cayenne gives curry the extra kick that it needs. While this hot ingredient boosts your metabolism and is a powerful antioxidant, you can certainly leave this out if you’re not a fan of spice.
While traditional curries do include some vegetables, they’re often heavy on starches such as potatoes and rice. And though I’m not opposed to either of these additions, I wanted to load up this recipe with as much veggie goodness as possible.
To do so, I included red bell peppers, carrots, onion and snap peas for a variety of textures, colors and flavors. And rather than serve with traditional rice, I whipped up a simple batch of cauliflower rice sautéed in coconut oil with salt and pepper. Even Sam said he’d go for this veggie-heavy option any day!
Another important swap I made was ditching the cream for a can of coconut milk. This dairy-free, vegan alternative gives a little needed richness and pairs perfectly with the other spices and flavors.
Whether you’re an Indian food fanatic looking to whip up your favorite dish on the lighter side or simply craving a nourishing meal without much prep, this chicken curry will be your new go-to.
Plus, as with most stews and soups, the flavors only get better after a day or two, so dinner will only be tastier as the week goes on. Just throw everything in the crockpot before heading out for the day, and you’ll return to a dish that smells and tastes out of this world .
- 2 lbs chicken breasts, thawed and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 bag (10 oz) sugar snap peas
- 5 carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 large (or 2 small) red bell peppers
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 3 cups chicken broth, low sodium
- 1 15 oz can coconut milk
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh cilantro for topping
- optional: 3 tbsp arrowroot or corn starch to thicken
If using a thickener, mix arrowroot or corn starch with about 3 tbsp of water to dissolve. Pour into crockpot after the 4 hours is complete and mix well. Allow to sit on WARM for another 30-45 minutes.
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