Tag Archives: vegetarian

Chickpea Curry

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Winter can be a tough time to cook… It’s particularly tough if you are someone who likes to cook with a lot of fresh and local produce.  I rely pretty heavily on our CSA and the local farmer’s market from April to December… But, once January rolls around, I’m on my own.

I like comfort food as much as the next person, but we can’t live on macaroni and cheese for three months.  This winter, I’ve found myself cooking a lot of beans. They are inexpensive and readily available.  I can add some rice just a few extra vegetables for a complete meal. And, there’s just something about dinner simmering away on the stove on a chilly day.

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This chickpea curry has become one of my go to weeknight meals this winter. It’s quite simple, and it smells absolutely divine. You can mix up the vegetables a bit, or even add a few more of your favorites, if you like. I’ve added some diced sweet potato and red bell pepper, and they are both great additions. I generally use the odds and ends of whatever I have on hand.

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Nervous about curry? I used to be terrified of anything with curry in the name. While I’m still not an authority on authentic Indian food, I have branched out and embraced a few curry dishes. For me, the key was finding a curry powder that I like.  My issue with curry was that I had only ever had a cheap curry blend from the spice aisle in the grocery store. I didn’t like it much, so I assumed that I didn’t like curry at all. Turns out, I love it… When I use the right curry powder (or blend my own). Right now, I’m loving this Maharajah Curry blend from Spices Inc. I try to keep it on the milder side since I’m feeding a toddler, but if you want to add a bit more heat, I recommend mixing in some cayenne pepper.

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Chickpea Curry
Makes 8 – 10 servings

  • 1 pound dry chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
  • 4 carrots, diced (approximately 1 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (approximately ½ cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 14 ounce can coconut milk
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • Cooked basmati rice (optional)

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Rinse the dry chickpeas and transfer to a large pot. Cover with 8 cups of water and let soak overnight. Drain and rinse.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables have just started to soften slightly. Add the curry powder and continue to cook for an additional minute or two.

Add the chickpeas to the pot and stir to combine with the vegetables. Add the vegetable stock and the coconut milk. Season with a generous pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer, partially covered for about an hour, until the chickpeas are tender.

Wilt the spinach into the curry and allow to simmer uncovered until the sauce reduces and thickens up a bit, an additional 15 – 20 minutes.  Adjust the seasonings to your taste. Serve over basmati rice, if desired.

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White Bean Burgers with Sundried Tomato and Herbs

I love grilling in the summer.  But, I find that I often fall into a burger rut.  We offer to have friends over to cook out, and I end up making the same beef burgers over and over and over again. Don’t get me wrong… The burgers are delicious, but we really try not to eat too much meat. So, I had to change it up a bit.

I’ve been meaning to make some bean burgers at home for a while… They are a perfect meatless option for the grill and, if done correctly, are equally as delicious. I think what held me back was that I’ve had some bad experiences with bean burgers in the past. They were too runny, too bland, or simply fell apart when I cooked them. If a bean burger is going to replace some juicy grass-fed beef on the menu, it’s got to be great. Runny, bland, and falling apart just won’t do.

Rewind to the Big Summer Potluck last summer… I was pregnant and not feeling up to par. I think there might have been fried chicken for dinner (or something like that… I don’t even remember), and I knew it wasn’t a good idea. So, instead, I tried some of the black bean burgers that Pam made. I loved them. I made sure to ask her if the recipe was the one in her Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals cookbook, the one that I already loved and had sitting on my shelf at home. Sure enough, they were.

Almost a year later, I have finally gotten around to making the bean burgers, and I am even more impressed now than I was then. They stay moist and don’t fall apart on the grill… And, using the formula in the book, you can really pump up the flavor to have a great tasting meatless burger that will make you forget about beef entirely. This time around, I used herbs and sundried tomatoes to make my own version of Pam’s recipe. I topped them with a super quick herbed mayonnaise (so quick a recipe seems silly, though I’ll share it at the end!). Even my husband was a huge fan. You can be sure they’ll be making a few more appearances on the menu at my house this summer!Continue Reading

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

I feel kind of silly writing about soup when the temperatures are going to be in the 80s for a few days this week. Just a few days ago, however, it felt like winter. And, if the last few months are any indication of the weather patterns we will have this spring, I’m guessing that there are still plenty of chilly days to come. So, hang on to this recipe for a chilly day and bear with me!

I’ve been relying on my slow cooker quite a bit lately. I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen preparing dinner each afternoon, but I can usually get a solid 30 minutes of meal prep done during Madison’s morning nap. It’s just enough time for me to get dinner into the slow cooker. Plus, it feels good to have things taken care of early in the day (especially on those days when she chooses not to take an afternoon nap!).

This vegetable soup has become a new favorite at my house.  I think we’ve had it just about once a week since December. I’ve made a few different versions and perfected my recipe over time.  Sure, it’s fast and easy, but it also tastes great. I usually serve it with a loaf of freshly baked bread or a side salad. This recipe makes a pretty big batch (8 – 10 servings), which yields plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week!Continue Reading

Spinach, Mushroom, and Pumpkin Frittata

Frittatas have always been a favorite for quick lunches and dinners at my house.  I love them for a variety of reasons.  The obvious reason is that they are fast and easy.  I can whip up a frittata in about 20 minutes and even wash the dishes while it is cooking.  All I have to do is add a quick salad or freshly baked bread and I have a complete meal.  I also love that I can make a frittata with just about anything.  I admit that frittatas are the fate of many of the less-desirable (I won’t go as far as to say unwanted) veggies from our CSA. They’re also great for getting rid of leftovers in the fridge… Chicken, steak, pasta, roasted veggies, you get the idea!

Now that I have to squeeze my cooking in around naptime (or try to entertain a baby in a bouncer while I am attempting to cook… Easier said than done!), I am loving frittatas even more.  Instead of just using whatever I have on hand (though, I’ve definitely done that, too), I’ve started being a bit more creative with the flavors in my frittatas.  Instead of a last-minute meal when I had no idea what to make, the frittata is making a more regular appearance on my weekly menu.

Last week’s menu included a spinach and mushroom frittata.  After making butternut squash and mushroom calzones a few weeks back, I just can’t seem to get enough mushrooms. This time, I planned to pair them with spinach and feta cheese.  It just so happened that I had some pumpkin puree in the fridge when I got around to making the frittata, so I decided to add that to the mix, and I’m glad I did. It added a nice hint of sweetness that paired beautifully with the feta cheese. And, as I’ve learned this year, you can’t beat the combination of pumpkin and mushrooms. The spinach worked well in the mix, too, though I admit that it was mostly there to help us get in our daily dose of green leafy vegetables.

If you’re looking for a simple idea for a holiday brunch, or if, like me, you are just looking to get a fast and easy meal on the table, I’d highly recommend giving this frittata a try.  I served it along with some sweet potatoes, but a salad or even an assortment of muffins would go nicely with the dish.Continue Reading

Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

I’ve heard a lot of people say they think it’s easiest to eat well in the summer… After all, there is a wide variety of fresh produce readily available and we are all supposed to just whip up a salad for lunch and dinner every day. I don’t know about you, but that’s not generally how it works at my house.  Sure, we certainly eat our share of veggies throughout the summer, but I am much more likely to use that fresh, local lettuce to garnish a cheeseburger than I am to whip up a giant dinner-sized salad. Salad really isn’t my thing.

Strangely enough, I actually find that I tend to return to healthier meals in the fall. Part of it is that I enjoy cooking in the fall… It’s much more fun to stand in front of the stove when it’s no longer 100 degrees outside. I also love the flavors of fall produce.  I could eat butternut squash pretty much all day long. I also find that I develop more of a taste for hearty whole grains in the fall. While I’m still not always reaching for the lettuce (though, I do like the fall mixes of lettuce better than giant heads of leaf lettuce), I tend to make a lot of vegetarian dishes that are full of whole grains and veggies.

On a chilly day not too long ago, I decided to put together a nice warm salad for lunch (have I mentioned that I also prefer warm food to cold food?).  I started with some butternut squash from our garden and decided to pair it with quinoa.  For a dose of some green, I wilted some arugula (one of my favorites) into salad.  Topped off with a quick Balsamic dressing, some walnuts, and gorgonzola cheese, I had a hearty and flavorful salad that both my hubby and I enjoyed. Perhaps it’s just me, but I think this kind of salad beats a bowl of lettuce and cold veggies any day.Continue Reading