It's time to embrace the vibrant world of Indian cuisine with a guilt-free spin on a beloved classic — Chicken Tikka Masala. This dish is not just a feast for your taste buds; it's a nourishing blend of spices, lean protein, and the kind of soul-warming satisfaction that only comfort food can provide. Ready your slow cookers, because we're about to embark on a journey that's as delightful to cook as it is to savor!
Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala in a Slow Cooker
My husband, Jason, and I love Indian food, the flavors and rich aroma inspire cravings often. With our busy schedules, finding weight watchers slow cooker recipes were important! In fact, Indian cuisine as a whole can be a source of healthy fats that is low in calories, perfect for those trying to lose weight. Chicken Tikka Masala is my go-to entree with tender and juicy bites of chicken in a creamy tomato sauce, it's a great beginner dish for those just exploring Indian flavors.
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How Healthy is Indian Food for Weight Watchers Plans?
Indian cuisine tends to be more “Vegetable forward”. In other words, entrees tend to highlight vegetables as the main component with a meat protein more on the sidelines. This way of eating decreases your sugar intake, increases your vegetable and protein intake and ultimately leads to healthier eating choices.
What is the difference between Chicken Tikka and Tikka Masala?
The definition of the words Tikka and Masala can help in remembering the differences between the two dishes. Tikka means pieces of meat or vegetables that are marinated and then baked in a tandoor oven on a large skewer. Masala translates into spices crushed into a paste or “curry”, depending on the translation.
This distinction between the cooking process helps determine the difference between Chicken Tikka and Tikka Masala. Chicken Tikka and Tikka Masala are very similar dishes until it is time to serve them. The chicken is marinated in a blend of yogurt and spices before being cooked. This is where it ends up on your plate as Chicken Tikka. If you take it a step further and add the rich tomato cream sauce, it becomes Tikka Masala. For this recipe, we swapped the heavy cream in the traditional recipe for a nonfat plain yogurt for the rich flavor without the fat and calories.
What makes Chicken Tikka Masala a healthy meal?
When you make chicken tikka masala from scratch, you control what is going into it. If you break down the ingredients in this recipe, there are numerous health benefits that can be gained from indulging in this dish, especially chicken tikka masala spices!
- Chicken: low in fat and high in protein.
- Nonfat Yogurt: high in protein and calcium
- Garlic: Lowers blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, rich in anti-oxidants
- Garam Masala: Contains anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being known to lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
- Coriander: Contains high amounts of iron to benefit blood circulation, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic properties
- Cumin: Aids in digestion, improves immunity and promotes fat reduction
With all of these benefits in mind, Chicken Tikka Masala is a powerhouse of nutrition!
What is Chicken Tikka Masala served with?
Most often, it is served with a simple side of jasmine rice. However, white rice is something that we steer away from because it is high in points. In this instance, I would recommend using riced cauliflower if you are looking for a similar texture. During my weekly WW meal prep, I love to incorporate side dishes with robust flavors. Roasting vegetables with similar spices to the main dish creates a composed meal. When you stick to vegetables or a side salad, you could have a filling meal for low WW points!
Can I Have Naan?
If you are craving naan, (trust me, I love it too), I did find a wonderful recipe for Garlic Naan that is low in points. When you really need that taste of bread to soak up the extra sauce, this is the recipe to use. It also freezes well so you can save it for the next craving or use it to accompany a low points lunch bowl.
The Secret's in the Spices: Crafting the Perfect Masala
Spices are the soul of Indian cuisine, and getting them right is crucial. We'll start with turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, followed by cumin and coriander for an earthy base. Garam masala will bring in a hint of sweetness and warmth, while paprika provides a smoky undertone. Together, they create a symphony of flavors that's the hallmark of a truly authentic Chicken Tikka Masala.
Can I Use A Store Bought Tikka Masala Sauce?
There are many different brands of Tikka Masala Sauce available in the grocery stores. However, most of them are cream based which increases your points. One of the great things about this easy chicken tikka masala recipe is that you are using nonfat yogurt instead of cream which is healthier overall and doesn't alter the flavor too much.
What products do you recommend?
How Many Points Are In This Recipe?
With the new PersonalPoints Plan, points can vary for each individual person based on their unique list of zero point foods. Points can also vary with different brands. Please use your recipe maker to determine your exact points.
Are You on WW Connect?
Find me on WW Connect @Sassycooking_Alyssa to see my full recipe list!
How do you make Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala?
- 28 oz Canned Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 Small Onion, minced
- 1 tbsp Garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 tbsp Truvia Dark Brown Sugar
- ½ tsp Ground Cumin
- ½ tsp Ground Coriander
- 2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
- ½ cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- ¼ cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Combine all ingredients, except yogurt and cilantro, in 4- to 6-quart slow cooker
- Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.
- Stir in yogurt and cilantro.
- Serve either on it's own or with your choice of cauliflower rice, brown rice or a piece of naan.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1 grams
Amount Per Serving Calories 246Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 98mgSodium 748mgCarbohydrates 12gFiber 3gSugar 7gProtein 39g
*This is an automatic calculation by a third party app*
Slow Cooking: The Art of Flavor Alchemy
Now, let's talk about why we're using a slow cooker for this dish. Slow cooking is a form of culinary magic where time itself becomes an ingredient. As our Chicken Tikka Masala gently simmers, the spices meld, the chicken tenderizes, and the sauce thickens, resulting in flavors that are both robust and nuanced. It's a method that allows the busy bees among us to prepare a meal that tastes like we've toiled for hours — while actually letting the slow cooker do all the heavy lifting.
*Pro Tip: The longer the chicken cooks, the easier it will be to shred. If you choose to shred it, you can use it on top of salads, in meal prep dishes for lunch during the week or wrapped in lettuce for wraps.
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