Monday, January 24, 2011

meatless mondays!

is anyone else doing meatless mondays?  i see mention of it on lots of other blogs, specifically on craft: zinemeatless monday is an idea that's popular not just with people trying to lose a few pounds, but also people concerned with the environment, sustainable farming practices, and healthy living in general. my family started doing one meatless a meal a week a few months ago, which for us hasn't been too hard.  my (step)kids were raised vegetarian for a while, and their palates are pretty adventurous. they like beans, they like most (if not all) veggies, they haven't really noticed that this is a thing that we are doing.  every now and then one of them will grumble about "beans, again?" but the truth is there are as a ton of beans out there, and a million recipes for cooking with them, and i like them.  we do veggie based dinners, and a lot (a LOT) of beany-veggie stew things. 

the cool thing about doing it is that i get to try out new recipes, we save money on our grocery bill, and i feel good serving food that's healthy without having to try too hard.  a little prep, and you can ignore a bean dish for a long time while you do other stuff.  what we're eating tonight is included after the break! 

this week's meatless monday dish is gingered chickpea stew with wild rice pilaf.  it's a crockpot dish, and super easy to make.  here's my version:
  • 2 cups dry chickpeas, soaked the night before (or quick soaked), OR two cans of chickpeas
  • 2 small onions or one big one
  • 1 can diced, chopped tomatoes in juice
  • a piece of ginger the size of your thumb (or pinky if you like ginger less!), chopped very fine
  • 4 cloves of garlic (or more!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • healthy dose of red pepper flakes, if you like them
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar
here's my little soapbox moment: i enjoy using dry beans.  they are crazy cheap, take a little more time, but absorb flavors way better than canned and very rarely get too mushy.  if you can, i'd recommend looking up various soaking and quick cooking methods, and trying out a dish or two a month until you get comfortable using them.  it's totally worth it, and that's not just the hippie in me talking!  to start with, use some lentils, which don't require soaking and can be dressed up a million ways. 

okay, so cut up your onions, into smallish pieces and gently saute them in a little oil for about 10 mins, until they start to get golden and smell good.  add ginger, minced garlic, spices, salt, pepper and pepper flakes, and get all that good and toasty too (about 2-3 mins).  add tomatoes and juice, vinegar, and maybe a 1/4 of a cup of water (i usually just put water in my tomato can!).  bring it up to a boil, and give it a stir.  put your chickpeas in your crockpot, cover with tomato mixture and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8.  i like to serve this with rice pilaf, or brown rice, or even israeli couscous (because it's bigger and stands up to the chickpeas). 

so easy, so delicious, and cheap.  a good source of protein, lean fats, and veggies.  it's also nice on cold days, and think of it this way: garbanzos is a word that's as fun to say as it is to eat.   


  1. It sounds delicious; I'll try it! I've been eating Indian foods and spices more this year than any previously. I'm addicted to India Palace in Duluth, for one. That's where I discovered garbanzos, YUM! But it's also where I discovered cumin, tamarind, garam masala, cardamom seeds, coriander, fennel seed, turmeric, saffron, and curry! :o)

  2. curried lentils are quite possibly my favorite thing EVER. once i started using more indian spices, i couldn't stop!