Wholesome Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

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We are having a true, down and out blizzard in the Northeast today. Knowing this was the forecast, I prepared myself.

Since I knew I would be literally stuck inside (except for a very quick jaunt with the dog outside for some exercise – yes, even in a blizzard I make sure to get some fresh air and light!) I planned our meal for the day accordingly.

Perfect Winter Weather Cooking

Not only are slow cookers great for winter cooking, I still have other work to get done and didn’t feel like being in the kitchen half the day.

Enter “Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.” A super easy, nutritious and delicious one pot meal.

I believe that many times we disregard the ingredients that always seem to show up in so many slow cooker and soup recipes such as onions, garlic and spices. But these additions not only give our food an extra edge, they are main players when it comes to healthy eating.

Food As Medicine

Onions and garlic are part of the allium family of plants. They are also high in sulfur, which is a natural detoxifier for your body and are anti-inflammatory. For these reasons, onions and garlic are a true staple for a healthy diet. And with winter weather happening outside, these types of foods are especially important to help ward off colds.

Tikka Masala Spices

You can never go wrong with adding spices to your food. Not only are they good for you, but they make your food taste so good too. A double bonus!

The blend of spices in Garam Masala, typically cardamon, coriander, cloves, cumin and mustard seeds, are also the featured blend used in Tikka Masala and are full of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.  I usually make my own spice blends but you can certainly find Garam Masala as a blend in stores.

The Recipe

I’ve included the full recipe below. You may be thinking, “Kale in Chicken Tikka Masala?” Not usually. But, as a culinary nutritionist, I know we all need to eat more dark leafy greens. So I throw kale (or collards, or Swiss chard) into every dish I can. It adds a nice green touch to your dish and you barely notice it!

When you’re ready, throw it in the crockpot, make a fire and get cozy. I know it is going to be a long, cold day and night here and I am grateful that my slow cooker is doing the work for me.

What are you cooking today? Share with me below!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 large red onion, sliced thin
  • 3 large cloves garlic, sliced or pressed
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 32-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Garam Masala (make your own or store bought)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, preferably organic
  • 1/2-1 can full fat coconut milk, depending on the consistency you want
  • 1 small bunch kale, fresh or frozen, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice


  1. In a slow cooker, add the sliced onions, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, Garam Masala and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the chicken thighs and toss well with the sauce. Place on the slow cooker and put on HIGH for 4 hours (or LOW for 8 hours).
  3. When the timer goes off add the coconut milk (if you prefer it thicker, add less) and kale and stir well until the kale is wilted. Continue cooking (you can keep this on the WARM setting) for another 15 minutes.
  4. Taste. Do you need more salt to bring up the flavor a bit? Do that now if you need to and add in the cilantro. Serve hot over brown rice.
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