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Chickpea Stew With Kale + Tomatoes

A hearty and bright vegetarian dinner.

Vegetarian chickpea stew makes a wholesome, incredibly satisfying dinner. But a chickpea stew recipe with kale and tomatoes? We’re calling it the best 30-minute weeknight meal ever.

bowls of tomato kale chickpea stew with grated parmesan and basil leaves over polenta

All About This Tomato Kale + Chickpea Stew Recipe

I originally came across a Tomato Kale + Chickpea Stew recipe two years ago, when Food + Wine magazine included it in their Top 40 recipes of all time, under a different name. That qualification alone, plus the fact that the recipe comes from one of my favorite chefs, Missy Robbins, was good enough for me!

I made this easy chickpea stew that night, and have made it countless times since. It’s hearty but healthy, satisfying but not heavy. The fresh tomato gets kicked up with some hot red pepper flakes, and kale adds more nutrition and a hit of color against the chickpeas and tomato.

Serve this plain, or with creamy parmesan polenta for a fantastic vegetarian dinner that tastes great year ’round.

kale on cutting board with chickpeas and tomatoes

Tomato Kale + Chickpea Stew: Recipe Notes

I love many things about this tomato, kale and chickpea stew recipe. For one, it is a one-pot, dump-and-stir wonder that cooks in about 30 minutes. Secondly, it has incredible flavor and texture.

Kale can be a tough green — tough in texture, tough in flavor. But cooking them down in a tomato sauce makes the kale soft and flavorful.

Chickpeas, in addition to being highly nutritious, provide real substance and bulk. Adding chickpeas transforms this dish from something like a sauce or tomato soup into a hearty and filling stew.

skillet with tomatoes kale and chickpeas for stew

And a word about the tomato sauce. This is no boring, watery marinara. Here, crushed tomatoes take a really bold, bright turn with a generous hit of crushed red pepper flakes. The addition of fennel seed adds depth of flavor reminiscent of good Italian sausage.

bowls of tomato kale chickpea stew with grated parmesan and basil leaves over polenta

What to Serve With Chickpea Stew: Creamy Parmesan Polenta

This recipe tastes delicious on its own. But I suggest serving it over a batch of creamy parmesan polenta to make it next-level delicious. Polenta is one of those creamy, purely satisfying dishes that tastes like a hug feels. Great on its own, or as a base or side to pretty much anything from roasts to sauces.

bowl of creamy polenta with butter

Love this chickpea stew recipe? You’ll also like:

bowls of tomato kale chickpea stew with grated parmesan and basil leaves over polenta

Chickpea Stew With Kale + Tomatoes

A bright and hearty 30-minute vegetarian chickpea stew recipe, adapted from famed NYC Italian chef Missy Robbins.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian, vegetarian
Keywords:: beans, chickpeas, italian, kale, missy robbins, spicy, stew, tomato sauce, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • kosher salt
  • 1 bunch Tuscan or lacinato (flat-leaf) kale, sliced into thin ribbons
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Torn basil and marjoram leaves, to garnish
  • grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, to serve


  • Crush the tomatoes by hand, or by inserting kitchen scissors into the open can and chop, chop, chopping.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, until fragrant. Do not brown.
  • Add the tomatoes, fennel seed, crushed red pepper and a generous pinch of salt (I'd say about 1/2 teaspoon). Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down an the sauce thickens, about 25 minutes. This is a good time to make your polenta, if you'd like.
  • Add the kale and cook until it wilts, about 3 minutes. Add the drained chickpeas. Stir and simmer together with another generous pinch of salt, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve with torn basil or fresh marjoram, and Pecorino-Romano cheese.


  • 5 stars
    Delicious, nutritious , simple and quick to make. The perfect combo- some may prefer to cut the amount of fennel down . Thanks for sharing.

  • 5 stars
    A favorite new meatless dinner! I did make it with polenta and it was delicious.

  • Frank R.

    5 stars
    Big Missy Robbins fan (Lilia is one of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn, and actually, in general.) This tastes awesome. The heat from the red pepper flakes is great.

  • 5 stars
    One of my new favorite recipes. So easy and healthy, too!

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