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Spicy chickpea and cauliflower stew with coconut and turmeric

Spiced Chickpea and Cauliflower Stew with Coconut and Turmeric

How can something so simple--chickpeas and coconut--be so utterly sublime? The addition of onion, garlic and ginger helps and a dusting of turmeric and red pepper flakes makes it even better. I added two cups of chopped cauliflower to give it more heft. But it's the combination of rich coconut milk softened with just enough vegetable stock that makes this soup eat like a symphony. Smooth and hearty, this soup will surprise you and it will likely stick. Knowing it can be yours in less than one hour, makes it a cherished new staple in the soup recipes file.

Course entree, Soup
Cuisine Indian, thai
Keyword chickpeas, coconut milk, soup, turmeric, vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Author The Cowgirl Gourmet in Santa Fe adapted this recipe from Alison Roman and The New York Times


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger peeled or finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt divided into 1/4 teaspoons
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans chickpeas drained and rinsed (this is 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cans full-fat coconut milk 15-ounce cans
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cauliflower chopped or shaved
  • 1/2 bunch Swiss chard or spinach, kale or collard greens stems removed and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mint or cilantro chopped, for serving
  • full-fat Greek yogurt for serving
  • toasted pita or lavash or flatbread for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and stir to combine, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. (Note: turmeric is most effective when paired with black pepper, so be generous)

    Spicy chickpea and cauliflower stew allium
  2. Add the turmeric, red pepper flakes and chickpeas and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pot and some more pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, so the chickpeas sizzle and fry a bit in the aromatic spices and oil until they start to break down and get browned and crisped, about 8- 10 minutes.

    Spicy chickpea and cauliflower stew chickpeas
  3. Then remove a cup of chickpeas and set aside for garnish.

    Spicy chickpea and cauliflower stew garbanzo
  4. Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, crush the remaining chickpeas slightly to release their starchy insides as this will naturally thicken the stew. Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth and stir well to combine.

    Spicy chickpea and cauliflower stew coconut milk and vegetable broth
  5. Bring to a simmer, scraping any bits that formed on the bottom and sides of the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally until the stew has thickened, about 30-45 minutes. After cooking for 15 minutes, add the chopped cauliflower (you want small pieces of cauliflower like the size of the chickpea so they cook evenly) and stir. Cook for another 15 minutes or until it's the thickness you want in a stew.

    Spicy Chickpea and Cauliflower Stew cooking
  6. Add the greens and cook until wilted and softened, about 3-7minutes, depending on the green you are using. (Swiss chard and spinach will melt quickly, but kale or collard greens will take a little longer.)

  7. Taste the stew for salt and pepper, adjusting if needed.

  8. When serving, top bowls of stew with a tablespoon of the reserved chickpeas and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Then sprinkle with chopped mint or cilantro. Serve with a scoop of brown rice or lavash bread or similar for sopping.

    Spicy chickpea and cauliflower stew with coconut and turmeric
  9. Refrigerate any leftovers. When reheating, add a little water or vegetable broth to thin it out as it will be thick.