meatless masala monday

i’ve been trying new vegetarian recipes lately in an effort to introduce more vegetables and legumes and less meat into our meals. i make a vegetarian dish once a week or more. we rarely eat red meat, maybe a handful of times a year. standard go-to’s here are chicken, turkey and fish.  most of the meals here seem to be centred around meat, but i’m sure that vegetarian meals can be delicious… every vegetarian tells me so! i just need to learn a repertoire of such tried-and-true meals.

also, i’m not at all hardcore about this endeavour. at this point in time, i do not wish to be a vegetarian, but i do see the benefits of vegetarian cooking and it is something i want to do more often.  if you are looking for something a little more extreme, you may want to look up happyherbivore for some great fat-free and low-fat vegan recipes and ideas. and she really does seem like a happy herbivore, check out her videos.

tonight, i decided to throw together some ingredients and see what happens. i love indian food, and over the years have realized it’s fairly easy to replicate that lovely flavourful and fragrant mix with a combination of some simple spices (see recipe below).

also, i’ve had a packet of bob’s red mill quinoa in my pantry for about a month now. having learned all three possible pronunciations of the word, i figured i was sufficiently prepared to give it a try.

the reason i bought quinoa in the first place is because i’ve read so many positive things about it. it’s a good source of fibre, with a very high protein content. it also is a good source of essential amino acids, phosphorus, and is high in magnesium and iron.

well enough chit-chat. let’s get to the recipe and photos. here’s what i ended up with, served with plain yogurt, onions and chives from the garden (and yes, you can eat those little bulbs on the chives):

here is how i made it:

ingredients:

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 cup spinach, coarsely sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and washed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
dash of ginger
dash of cinnamon (yes cinnamon)
dash of salt & a few dashes of pepper (4 years of an undergrad science degree, and here i am speaking in vague “dash” measurements…my micropipetting days are long gone, it seems)
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked “al dente” (so a little firm in the middle) according to package instructions (usually 1 cup quinoa : 2 cups boiling water)

directions:

make quinoa and set aside. you want this a little undercooked because you’ll be combining it with the chickpea sauce below, and letting the quinoa cook a little further in the juices of the tomatoes.

  • in a medium saucepan, sautee the onion and garlic in a few tablespoons of water (i totally got this idea from happyherbivore, it really doesn’t make much of a difference to the taste, and you are saving a lot of calories and fat); or if you prefer, olive oil or cooking oil of your choice.
  • add spinach and stir around to cook the spinach; it will get darker as it cooks
  • add chickpeas, tomatoes and stir it all together
  • add spices and combine
  • as the tomatoes cook, the juices will start to come out; at this point, add the pre-made quinoa to the pot
  • reduce heat and simmer until the juices from the tomatoes are absorbed by the quinoa.
  • fluff it up, serve and enjoy!

it was delicious! my little one ate a whole bowl of it (and even nibbled on a chive). this will definitely go into my recipe box of meals to keep in the rotation.

you can mix it up with your own favourite spice and herb combinations. let me know if you give it a try. and also, let me know if you have any favourite meatless meals that i could try. because really, isn’t coming up with something to make for dinner the hardest part of preparing any meal? i’d appreciate the help ;-)

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5 Responses to meatless masala monday

  1. ~*~Patty says:

    this looks scrumptious … thanks for sharing … after raising 3 boys and trying to do that in a healthy natural way our youngest wants to be a vegetarian actually a vegan … holly moley … it only took him 21 years to figure out his parents knew a few things afterall

    I need to cook more … Mr Magpie gets hungry sometimes in our empty nest LOL … thank you for inspiring me … I am now officially hungry!
    oxo
    p.s. when it gets cooler you may want to give my tried and true red lentil soup a whirl, here’s the link to my bbb:
    http://bitze.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/good-for-what-ails-you-muttis-lentil-soup/

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