Just eating a salad would probably be the easiest way to participate in Meatless Monday. But that’s boring and not very adventuresome. In reality, salad is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to going meat-free (pun intended, unfortunately). More and more, I’ve found myself turning to stews or one pot recipes for meat-free meals. Usually these dishes are made with beans, legumes, grains or rice, and the end product is always more filling than a salad. And once you start exploring the different ways to cook with these ingredients, you’ll find the options are endless and the results can be quite delicious.
Another way to mix up a Meatless Monday meal is to go outside the typical American-style comfort zone and try ethnic recipes. Throughout this past winter, I’ve been cooking more and more Indian dishes like curried lentils or a veggie stew flavored with garam masala. These one pot meals are wholesome, full of flavor and there’s always plenty of leftovers. For this week’s Meatless Monday, I decided to spice things up with a pot of Chana Masala – a fiery chickpeas dish that you can serve with jasmine rice and yogurt. I also made a batch of naan bread to serve on the side, which I’ll try to post later this week.
Chana Masala Recipe from Smitten Kitchen and Food.com Serves 4-6
Vegetable oil 2 medium onions, finely diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 green chili pepper, finely diced 2 tspn fresh ginger, grated 1 TBSP ground coriander 2 tspn cumin 2 tspn paprika 1 tspn turmeric
1 tspn garam masala 1/2 tspn cayenne pepper
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes 1 cup water 2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed Juice from 1 lemon Salt
Bring a large skillet or dutch oven to medium heat with 1-2 tablespoons oil. Add the onions and sweat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili pepper and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, garam masala and cayenne, stir until the onion mixture is fully coated and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and water and heat through, 3-4 minutes. Add the chickpeas and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt.
Serve with jasmine rice and naan bread.