A lightened up version of an Indian food classic, you’ll love this slow cooker dairy-free butter chicken recipe made with coconut oil and coconut milk. It’s loaded with flavor and absolutely delicious served over cauliflower rice. Paleo, grain-free and dairy-free.
In case you haven’t noticed, we LOVE Indian food over here! I basically add curry to everything. Prime example = my curried shakshuka.
Anyhow, one of Isaac’s favorite Indian dishes is butter chicken, which isn’t the healthiest of options when it comes to Indian food. Honestly, most Indian food can feel kind of heavy, with rich sauces, lots of rice and naan. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of this and enjoy it very much when we go out for Indian, but I also like being able to make and enjoy a lighter version at home on the regular.
Side note: we have an awesome Indian restaurant in Richmond called Lehja that actually makes really clean Indian cuisine. They’ll even make things vegan if you request it.
With that in mind I set out to make an at-home version of butter chicken with really clean ingredients.
Don’t let the name fool ya, this butter chicken doesn’t have any butter. We’re using Nature’s Way Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil instead and it works like a charm. In traditional butter chicken recipes the chicken is marinated in a yogurt mixture, but I wanted this recipe to be 100% dairy-free so we’re using coconut milk and skipping the marinating process altogether. Don’t worry, cooking in slow cooker ensures the meat has plenty of time to soak up lots of flavor from the tomato sauce.
Nature’s WayCoconut Oil replaces the butter, but provides the same robust richness. It also works perfectly for sautéing the onion, garlic and ginger before placing everything in the slow cooker.
Although butter chicken isn’t traditionally cooked with veggies I took it upon myself to add green beans to my version. Not only do they add another texture and some volume, you’re also getting a pop of color and additional nutrients.
Isaac and I loved the way this dairy-free butter chicken turned out. Not only did the kitchen smell amazing while the chicken cooked away in the slow cooker, but we enjoyed this dish for dinner three nights in a row and each night was better than the next.
I loved having it over cauliflower rice with a heavy sprinkle of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime. It was so delicious I almost didn’t miss the naan…. almost.
In terms of spice level this butter chicken isn’t super spicy, but there is a bit cayenne pepper. You can leave this out if you want a milder dish or add more for extra spice.
If you make this slow cooker dairy-free butter chicken let me know how it turns out by leaving comment and star rating below. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other readers.
A lightened up version of an Indian food classic, you’ll love this slow cooker dairy-free butter chicken recipe made with coconut oil and coconut milk.
2 Tablespoons Nature’s Way Coconut Oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob of ginger, chopped
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 Tablespoon garam masala
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (chopped into chunks)
15 oz can full fat coconut milk
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 cinnamon stick
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups thawed frozen green beans (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Add oil to a large skillet or saucepan and cook onion and garlic until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add fresh ginger, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon and cayenne and toss to combine. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. (This step can be done in the base of your slow cooker if it allows.)
Transfer onion and garlic mixture into your slow cooker. Add chicken, coconut milk, tomato sauce, lemon juice and cinnamon stick to the slow cooker as well. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours. Add green beans when there’s about 1 hour left in the cooking process.
Serve over cauliflower rice (or regular rice) with fresh cilantro and a wedge of lemon for squeezing.