Chicken Stew with Chickpeas & Kale

Two things I love about coming back home at night: The lights already on as if to say, “Hey, welcome home! How was your day?” and supper all a-simmer, filling the kitchen with spicy warmth.
This chicken stew? It’s great to come home to, just chicken, chickpeas and vegetables, a hearty, satisfying mix of color, texture and flavor. To match? Here you'll find two ways to cook this easy one-pot chicken dinner, one on the stove and the other in your slow cooker. Both are so good! A total win, people!

Real Food, Fresh & Flexible. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb (Just Skip the Chickpeas). Naturally Gluten Free. High Protein. Great for Meal Prep.
Chicken Stew with Chickpeas & Kale ♥, a hearty, one-pot supper dish for the stovetop or slow cooker, with warm spices and fresh vegetables. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. High Protein. Gluten Free. Great for Meal Prep.

A Vegetable Obsession.

Call me amazed that even after six years – six full years! – of learning and writing about vegetables for A Veggie Venture, I’m still learning! It is STILL an adventure, still big fun.

Many of my newest lessons are a side benefit of a new vegetable delivery service, Neighborgood Foods. It’s not a CSA, per se, since John and Andria aren’t themselves growers. Instead, they are good marketeers who have built a CSA-style service that meets the desires and demands of health-conscious families.


  • Sadly, NeighborgoodFoods didn't make it. Good idea, good people, good produce. We were very sad to let it go.
  • Happily, A Veggie Venture turns 15 years old (as of this update in 2020) and remains a valuable resource for vegetable lovers and creative cooks across the world!

A Few Of Those Lessons About Vegetables.

  • SIZE Size matters! If you want vegetables to disappear into a soup or stew, cut them into tiny pieces. If you want the vegetables to be identifiable – I’ve learned, I do – leave them in large pieces.
  • CARROTS, TO PEEL OR NOT TO PEEL To peel or not to peel? That’s always the question with carrots, isn’t it? I have mixed luck leaving carrots unpeeled. It works better when the carrots are extra-fresh (think just-picked, less than a week out of the ground) and still have their tops on, much less well with the standard supermarket variety of bagged carrots.
  • NO QUESTION, NO BABY CARROTS As always, I recommend purchasing whole carrots for cooking. “Baby” carrots aren’t what they seem, just carrot bullets manufactured from large carrots. And you know how “wet” and bland the so-called baby carrots are? If you haven’t tasted a real carrot in awhile, I recommend it.
  • KALE IS SPECIAL I always kinda-sorta thought of leafy greens as interchangeable. But recently, after once-too-often substituting leafy spinach for kale, I have learned that kale is just something really special for stirring into hot soups and stews, though only at the end, just before serving. How can something like kale, a “bitter green” turn so soft and sweet? (Have you seen my post on What Are Bitter Greens? It’s worth the extra few minutes.)
  • BUT TRADER JOE'S KALE IS NOT Trader Joe’s sells bags of chopped frozen kale but I’m not a fan, the heavy stems need to be cut off anyway, making it way less convenient.

What's In Chicken Stew with Chickpeas & Kale?

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

Chicken Stew with Chickpeas & Kale ♥, a hearty, one-pot supper dish for the stovetop or slow cooker, with warm spices and fresh vegetables. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. High Protein. Gluten Free. Great for Meal Prep.

  • Chicken For convenience, use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Thighs have so much flavor and unlike chicken breasts, stay moist during slow cooking. You could also cut up a beef roast, even a pork roast, I think they'd work out beautifully.
  • Spices Like many of my recipes, this Chicken Stew has lots of spices, no measly quarter teaspoon here or sprinkle there. Here, the recipe uses cumin and ginger but hmm, curry could work, so might smoked paprika.
  • A Mix of Canned & Fresh Vegetables Canned tomatoes work beautifully and add needed acidity. The carrots add sweetness and bulk. The green beans are added just before serving so they're bright and fresh, not mushy.
  • Fresh Kale Kale is such a nutrition powerhouse but here, it also offers texture and taste contrast. No kale? How about mustard greens, even collard greens? If you use spinach, choose a mature spinach that won't turn to mush in the heat. If you only have baby spinach, cut it into ribbons and stir into individual bowls of hot soup to serve rather than into the big soup pot.
  • Canned Chickpeas Just rinse and drain the chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans. Could you use another dried bean? I always love the look of chickpeas but absolutely, other beans would work great. Think cannellini, kidney beans, even pinto beans and black beans.

A Quick Update on Last Week's Column.

Many of you wanted to know more about my friend Ann's success losing weight by combining Weight Watchers and Michael Pollan. She's answered your questions, just scroll down to the bottom of Weight Watchers, Meet Michael Pollan.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes to start, 20 minutes to finish
Time to table: 3 hours
Makes 10 cups
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut in large pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite-size pieces
  • 4 carrots, cut in large pieces (see TIPS)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans or frozen green beans (if frozen, it helps to thaw the beans at least 15 minutes)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups kale (about 3oz/85g), washed well, heavy stems removed, leaves cut into ribbons (about 4 cups)

START TO COOK About three hours before serving, in a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium heat until shimmery. Stir in the onion and salt, cook just until the onion is turning golden. Stir in the tomatoes and garlic, cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chicken, carrots, cumin, ginger, water, salt and pepper.

SIMMER ON THE STOVE Leave uncovered, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer and let simmer very gently for 2 hours to concentrate the flavors.

TO MAKE AHEAD If you're making ahead of time, stop here, cover and refrigerate.

FINISH During this last stage, you’ll adjust the temperature several times, increasing it to bring the soup back to a boil, then reducing it to simmer gently for cooking. Here's how it goes. About 45 minutes before serving, stir in the chicken stock and return the soup to a boil. Stir in the green beans and chickpeas, return to a boil, then let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the kale, return to a boil, then let simmer about 10 minutes or until the beans and kale are fully cooked.

Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve and enjoy! Reheats beautifully.

ALANNA’s TIPS This soup is half-soup, half-stew, that makes it a “stoop”, right? Right. I make it all the time, the basics are the chicken, the chickpeas (or another canned bean) and the spices. After that, make it with whatever vegetables are on hand. Why salt the onions? This draws out their flavor and speeds up the browning process. The technique I use for cooking the stew down-down-down for two hours really concentrates the flavors with no more than fresh ingredients. Then more liquid is added, just enough for cooking the beans and kale. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work here too, just cut the meat into small pieces before browning. I usually choose the bone-in pieces, they're much less expensive though not quite so convenient. Or if you like, go easy on yourself and use the already-cooked meat from a rotisserie chicken instead of chicken thighs. For fewer servings, you could leave the chicken thighs whole too. Good chicken stock pays here and it's so easy to make, No-Big-Deal, I promise and so simple to freeze in canning jars. No chickpeas? "Chicken and chickpeas" just sounds so good but for color, use kidney beans.
This recipe has been "Alanna-sized" with reductions in fat, increases in no-calorie and low-calorie flavor and nutrition from spices and vegetables.

With Chickpeas (11 cups) Per Cup: 162 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 51mg Cholesterol; 580mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 4g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 16g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 2 & myWW green 3 & blue 2 & purple 2

Without Chickpeas (10 cups) Per Cup: 134 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 56mg Cholesterol; 572mg Sodium; 9g Carb; 2g Fiber; 3g Sugar; 15g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 3 & Freestyle 2 & myWW green 2 & blue 2 & purple 2
Adapted from the always wonderful The Way We Cook: Recipes from the New American Kitchen (affiliate link) by Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven (both formerly of the Boston Globe's food section). Their cookbook was recommended by a reader a few years ago, she thought we had similar cooking styles. Boy, was she right, so many recipes marked to make! It has a wintry feel, perfect for cold-weather cooking. Chapter titles match real life, like “When You’re in a Rush” and “Dishes We Make All the Time” and “Good Enough for Company”. This recipe comes from “Simmering Pots”. Can’t you smell the chicken and spices simmering now?


Hands-on time: 20 minutes to start, 20 minutes to finish
Time to table: 4 hours on high, 8 hours on low
Makes about 11 cups
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut in large pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-1/2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 carrots, cut in large pieces (see TIPS)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Cooked Onions
  • Browned Chicken Pieces
  • 2 cups good chicken stock, preferably hot
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends snapped, broken in half
  • 3 ounces kale, washed well, heavy stems removed, leaves cut into ribbons (about 4 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Pulled Chicken Meat
  • 2 cups additional cups chicken stock, preferably hot
  • Salt & pepper to taste

START ON THE STOVETOP In a large, heavy skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat until shimmery. Stir in the onion and salt, cook just until the onion begins to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute. Set aside or transfer to the slow cooker.

Remove the skins from the chicken thighs, discard all but one. Add the single chicken skin to the hot skillet and let sizzle until a little fat begins to render. Add the chicken thighs, top-side down; let brown a little.

MOVE TO THE SLOW COOKER While the onions and chicken cook, collect the slow cooker ingredients in the slow cooker, gently stir to combine.

LOW OR HIGH Cook on low for about 7 hours, on high for about 3 hours until the chicken is cooked and the carrots are soft but not mushy. A couple of hours in, take a sniff. Doesn't the kitchen smell great? Supper's definitely on the way!

ABOUT 1 HOUR BEFORE SERVING Lift chicken pieces from the slow cooker, let cool until cool enough to handle, then "pull" the meat off the bones. Stir in the green beans, kale, chickpeas, Pulled Chicken Meat and stock. Taste and adjust seasoning.

FINISH IN SLOW COOKER Set heat on high and let simmer for about 1 hour until the green beans and kale are cooked.

Serve and enjoy! Reheats beautifully.

ALANNA's TIPS Why heat the chicken stock before adding it to the slow cooker? To keep the temperature up, this both speeds up the cooking time and keeps the chicken at a safe cooking temperature. A slow cooker just doesn't have the power that the stovetop does, so we help it along. I usually heat the chicken stock in the microwave.

More Healthy Chicken & Vegetable Combinations

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Rainbow Chicken One-Pot Chicken with Beans & Vegetables Chicken Cider Stew
~ Best & Favorite One-Pot Suppers ~
~ more chicken recipes ~

More Healthy Cold-Weather Recipes

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Chicken Cacciatore Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce Winter Stew

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ chicken recipes ~
~ tomato recipes ~
~ carrots ~
~ green bean recipes ~
~ kale recipes ~
~ chickpea recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2012, 2015 & 2020 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Alanna, I would think the salt would encourage the onions to release more liquid, or quicker, anyway, which would let you use less fat for sauteing.

    And I LOVE kale in soup! Over the past couple of years, kale has become one of my favorite greens.

    You mentioned, in your notes, dried beans, but the recipe calls for a can of beans! I've pretty much gone over to the "dried bean" side - can I assume you'd add your soaked beans at the beginning of cooking, with the chicken?

  2. Hi Kris ~ ahh yes, re the salt/onions, that's a great thought. Anyone else?

    As for the beans, aiii, I so love careful readers who know that I'm very careful to say what I mean and mean what I say. In this case, though, you're a few steps ahead of me. I have only used canned beans (chickpeas once, kidney beans another time) but your suggestion to cook the soaked beans with the chicken is fascinating.

    My only question is timing, would the beans get done? If they're "fresh" dried beans, yes I think so, but if they've been hanging around in the pantry for a few months, if it were me, I'd cook the beans separately and THEN add at the end.

    PS As so often, we are on the same track, I've been cooking my own beans too. So good!


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna