Slow Cooker Light Chicken Tikka Masala

Who here loves using a slow cooker? *Raises both hands, waves them around, leaps out of my chair for joy.* Okay, okay. Yes, I’ll admit, I’m a slow cooker fanatic.

If you haven’t utilized this method of cooking before, what’s wrong with you? I joke. In all seriousness, though, there are few things better than throwing a handful of ingredients in a pot, going about your daily business for four-to-eight hours, and coming home to a warm, perfectly cooked meal.

“Why, who did all of this slaving away in the kitchen? Oh – heh heh – it was myself. Silly me.” *hair flip*.

Recently I’ve also become a bigger fan of Indian foods, but sometimes the heavy creams in those deliciously thick sauces just don’t sit too well in the tummy… or on the thighs. Ha! Therefore, I bring to you today a recipe that has grown near and dear to my heart (and tastebuds) – Slow Cooker Light Chicken Tikka Masala.

tikka masala easy healthy crock pot

As I’ve learned (Google is a wonderful technology), “chicken tikka” apparently refers to chicken cut into thick chunks, and the “masala” is a recipe comprised of a spicy, creamy, tomato-based sauce. Even more surprising, in a survey of 48 tikka masala recipes, the exact spice mixtures differed so greatly that the only common ingredient in all 48 was the chicken! It really leaves a lot of culinary expression open to the chef.

Here’s what you will need to get started on this healthier rendition of a classic Indian dish:

  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 15-oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Spices:
    • 1 tbsp ginger
    • 1 tbsp curry powder
    • 1.5 tbsp cumin
    • .5 tbsp coriander
    • .5 tbsp black pepper
    • a few dashes of cinnamon
    • a few dashes of garlic powder
    • a few dashes of nutmeg
    • a few dashes of all spice
  • For serving (optional, but recommended): rice, naan bread, veggies (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or peas go well with curry dishes)

Method:

  1. Place your chicken thighs evenly around the bottom of your slow cooker. Try to “loosen” them a bit, as they can come packed together tightly from the store.
  2. In a separate bowl (optional, but recommended), mix the tomatoes, yogurt, and spices together until it forms a chunky, orange sauce. The spices that require only a “dash” can be omitted if you don’t have them readily available in your pantry, but they do help to create a fuller taste for the sauce. (You can just throw everything in the cooker and save yourself the extra bowl to wash, but the spices seem to blend together better by being mixed in with the other “sauce-y” ingredients first, rather than being dumped on top and expected to just mix while cooking. If you choose to save the dishes, skip ahead to step four.)
  3. Spread the sauce mixture over the chicken, making sure to cover all the surfaces evenly.
  4. Set on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours. Enjoy your entire day, knowing dinner is cooking while you’re busy being a productive winner (or just relaxing-nothing wrong with that!) This recipe makes four servings.

Plate your tikka masala atop hot Minute-Rice, or with some naan bread and steamed veggies, and you have a delicious, healthy meal, with minimal work! Are you surprised at how easy this recipe really is? Well, just wait until you taste it! 🙂

tikka masala easy healthy crock pot

Preparing the tikka masala in a slow cooker for 8 hours creates a tender, juicy chicken that just falls apart on your fork. Coupled with the light, spicy tomato sauce, this recipe will leave you feeling satisfied and full!

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

  • Calories: 200
  • Carbs: 6.2 grams
  • Protein: 28.7 grams
  • Fat: 5.2 grams
  • Sugar: 2.7 grams
  • Calcium: 10% DV
  • Iron: 15% DV

Adding One Serving of Uncle Ben’s White Ready-Rice (One Cup) Brings the Meal Total To:

  • Calories: 370
  • Carbs: 43.2 grams
  • Protein: 32.7 grams
  • Fat: 5.2 grams
  • Sugar: 2.7 grams
  • Calcium: 16.2% DV
  • Iron: 25% DV

Look at those numbers!! 43.2 grams of protein and only 5.2 grams of fat in one meal – that is great!! Comparing that to using just one cup of heavy cream in your sauce, you would be looking at approximately 22 grams of fat per serving! What a difference one small tweak in a recipe can make. And, if you are looking to “treat yourself”, just try going “halfsies”: instead of using full heavy cream, use a half-cup of cream and a half-cup of Greek yogurt to come to a nice compromise.

tikka masala easy healthy crock pot

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know what spices YOU like in your tikka masala dishes by leaving me a comment below. 🙂

Thank you for reading!


Recipe adapted from My Fitness Pal found here.

Nutrition information provided by My Fitness Pal.

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