The Balanced Diet: Moroccan Lamb Chili with Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas and Kale

Moroccan Lamb Chili Recipe with Sweet Potatoes and Kale - Healthy and Gluten-Free The first time I officially cooked for Charlie was on his birthday, a year ago to date.

There had been plenty of non-official cooking prior, back when we were friends and I would host a group for pulled brisket tacos or bring a bowl of succotash to the BBQ he was throwing for the 4th of July. For this first official meal though, I have virtually no recollection of what I made. And I mean virtually, as I usually hold this blog accountable for logging for the vast majority of things that come out of my kitchen and the significant moments they commemorate. But alas, for this significant moment, I’ve got nothing.

What I do remember is going to three different markets in preparation. First, to Murray’s to pick up Charlie’s favorite cheeses, then to Chelsea Market to get the finest cured meats in all the land, and finally to Lobster Place for oysters.

ground lamb for my Moroccan lamb chili in the slow cooker moroccan harissa pepper paste for my lamb chili recipe - great and spicy sweet potatoes for my lamb chili recipe with Moroccan spices middle eastern lamb chili recipe with harissa pepper paste and chickpeas instead of beans love this healthy chili recipe with ground lamb - such an easy crock pot meal love adding frozen kale to ground meat in my crock pot chili recipe Since this was a mere three weeks into dating, I of course waited until he arrived to shuck the oysters so I could impress him with my masculine energy in the kitchen by popping each shell open with the ease of a beer bottle. This worked for about 5 minutes, until I severed one of my thumbs and had to reassure him that I was “toooootally FINE!” as blood poured down to my elbow. I taught him how to shuck the rest of the oysters while wrestling with my Bounty tourniquet, and he did so well, the job became permanently his.

Aside from all the subsequent oyster appetizers, one of the first meals Charlie officially cooked for me was chili. One night a month or so after the great birthday mollusk massacre of 2013, he surprised me with a homemade meal of one of the recipes from the blog, chili con carne. I talked about the significance of this moment here, and the immediate anxiety that I felt since the chili was an older recipe. Therefore there was a significant chance that the meal would be terrible and the blood for the second time in our at-home dining would be on my hands.

lamb chili with sweet potatoes, kale, and chickpeas - a great middle eastern spin on my usual slow cooker chili recipe love this spin on chili with ground boneless leg of lamb and Moroccan harissa pepper paste

The meal was delicious of course, and even more so because he made it for me. But I’ve been on a mission ever since to create superior chili recipes, and ones with Slow Cooker instructions, should he happen to surprise me again with a comforting Crock Pot meal.

Lamb Chili Recipe with Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas and Moroccan Spices Healthy Chili Recipe with Lamb instead of ground beef, kale and sweet potatoes Gluten-Free Chili Recipe with Ground Lamb and Moroccan spices. Healthy with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and lots of kale and sweet potatoes! It being a year later, and his birthday once again (this time the big 3-0), I thought there was no better time to share this healthy lamb chili with Moroccan spices. The flavors of my favorite traditional lamb tagine lend themselves well to the chili, since the base spice is cumin, which is similar to a lot of Tex-Mex dishes. I amped up the heat with plenty of harissa, added some sweet potatoes for sweetness, and loaded it with kale for healthiness, even though it melts away and you can hardly tell there are vegetables in there.

If you have any significant moments of your own that need celebrating this fall, I highly recommend this comforting Moroccan chili with ground lamb. There’s far less risk of blood shed involved than dishes that involve a shucking knife, and if you’re lucky, you can find a man with a slow cooker to take the sweat and tears off your plate too.

Happy cooking!


Recipes Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in this healthy chili recipe with ground lamb - perfect for the crock pot

Moroccan Lamb Chili with Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas and Kale

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Moroccan Lamb Chili with Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas and Kale

This lamb chili is spiced with Moroccan harissa paste and slow cooked with sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and kale - a great fall gluten-free crock pot recipe!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoon harissa (Moroccan chile paste)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • One 28-ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • One 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 cups beef stock or water
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Greek yogurt, for serving


  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Saute the onion over medium-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Push the onions to the sides of the pan and add the lamb. Cook the meat, breaking apart with your spatula, until nicely brown and cooked through, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, harissa (add more if you like spicy chili), cumin, and salt. Cook for 1 minute, or until the spices are fragrant. Carefully pour in the tomatoes and simmer, scrapping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until the liquid has reduced, 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and kale. Cover with the stock. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and taste for seasoning.
  3. Serve the chili with Greek yogurt and garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.


To make this in a slow cooker or crock pot, simply continue through step 2, omitting the sweet potatoes and kale. Cook on low for 8 hours. When ready to eat, stir in the sweet potatoes and kale and cook on high until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

instagram  If you make this, share a photo and tag me @PhoebeLapine #feedmephoebe - I would love to see it!

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network #FallFest below

The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Chicken and Vegetables with Cinnamon and Garlic
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Slow Cooker Chicken Vegetable Stew with Rosemary, Thyme and Sage
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Slow Cooker Cassoulet
Devour: Slow-Cooked Meals from Breakfast through Dessert
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Slow-Cooker New Mexican Vegetable Chowder
Red or Green: Slow Cooker Red Beans, Vegetables & Rice
The Cultural Dish: Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
Domesticate Me: Slow Cooker Apple Pie Oatmeal (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
Taste with the Eyes: Elegant Braised Leeks
FN Dish: 6 Desserts to Cook Low and Slow


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22 Responses to The Balanced Diet: Moroccan Lamb Chili with Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas and Kale

  1. Frankie says:

    Perfect for a rainy day, like, today. Adding kale is great, because boys need their greens – they just don’t want to notice they’re eating them. 🙂

  2. So I feel like I’m only just discovering lamb and have SO much to learn. This looks like a great place to start!

    • ground lamb is a great easy way to start! one day though, you’ll have to work your way up to my roasted leg of lamb for a huge party. it’s such a winner. thanks for stopping by Erin! xoxoxox

  3. This sounds like such great comfort food – love the warm spices, sweet potato and kale that go along with the lamb

  4. Ha! What a funny story! I have a mental image of your bounty tourniquet. The flavors in this chile are fantastic!

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  6. John Fox says:

    This was amazing! The lamb gives a strong distinct flavor, the sweet potato gives it a touch of sweetness, and the Harissa gives it a nice kick. I used 2 and 1/2 cups kale (it shrivels up small) and 2 and 1/2 Harissa tsp because I have the dry stuff and not the already mixed paste. Great recipe overall.

    • Yay John! Thanks so much for making it and reporting back. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Never had dried harissa before, but that’s a great pantry alternative if you can find it!

  7. Lisa Skibenes says:

    This is so on for tonight! Another way to go through my 30 pounds of local, organic sweet potatoes is more than welcome. I’m a huge fan of Harissa with lamb. Love just a simple marinade of Harissa and yogurt and then off to the grill. So wonderful.

  8. Michelle says:

    I modified this and it’s a keeper. I used a HUGE sweet potato and instead of chickpeas…2 cans of black beans. Added extra garlic, extra harissa, cracked pepper and roasted coriander.

    Topped with cilantro, sour cream, and homemade jalapeno cornbread croutons.

    Thanks for the idea!!

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  10. Carin says:

    Hi Phoebe this sounds amazing. Just to clarify, when using a slow cooker I should sauté the onions and lamb and then dump that and the rest of the ingredients except sweet potatoes and kale into the crock pot? Or do I have to reduce the tomatoes too? Thanks!

  11. Kristin says:

    I made a Moroccan chili (not this recipe) for a cookoff and won with it. We’re trying yours tonight! I just didn’t use lamb last time. We are both being kind of lazy and don’t want to go to the grocery, so I might leave the sweet potatoes out. Extra beans? Substitute a carrot?

    • Hi Kristin! Hopefully it’s not too late to weigh in. Either more beans or a carrot is great! Or you can simply omit altogether, it will just be a smaller total serving size and less bulky. Let me know how you like it! and hooray for Moroccan chili.

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  13. Kevin says:

    So no ground lamb at the store. Used a little over a pound of boneless lamb shoulder minced up. My friend said he liked it better with the little pieces of lamb; also, used homemade harissa from a fairly dumbed down recipe. The real moroccan stuff might have made more complex flavor. Four stars.

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