Chickpea Tikka Masala

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Indian is probably my favorite cuisine. Naan, samosas, pakora – it is all just so good. But until recently I had never really experimented with cooking Indian food at home. When I became a vegetarian three years ago, the hardest thing I had to give up was my favorite Indian dish: chicken tikka masala, a mildly spiced dish made with a tomato cream sauce. Oh, how I have missed that sauce. I got the idea to recreate this dish using chickpeas, instead of chicken – kind of similar to chana masala. I was surprisingly satisfied with how it turned out. This sauce is definitely going to be a staple from this day forward! You can put your own spin on this recipe by doing away with the chickpeas entirely, adding different vegetables, cashews and/or raisins.

Time: 30-40 minutes
Serves: 2-4
Dietary Info: Gluten-free

  • 1 15 oz. can tomato purée
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
    Note: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon for a MILD dish- or- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon for a SPICY dish
  • Pinch of garam masala (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of ghee, butter or oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice

    1. Start by heating ghee, butter or oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then, add garlic, salt and spices and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

    2. Next, add tomato purée and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and cream, simmering for about 10 more minutes or until sauce is thickened. Note: Now is a good time to cook your rice.

    3. Lastly, add chickpeas and cilantro and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

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    Moroccan Lentil Soup with Chickpeas and Kale

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    It just so happens that January is soup month! I love soup more than a lot of things in this world, which might be why I’m a January baby. This January has been especially frigid. In fact, today was 7 degrees (!!!) here on the east coast. So I thought, what better way to warm up than with a big bowl of hearty lentil soup? In celebration of soup month, I have made this vegan version of Moroccan Harira soup, traditionally made with lamb and served at Ramadan. Note: I added chopped kale but spinach is great too. Also, if you happen to have any garam masala laying around it really adds a lot of flavor!

    Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

    Serves: 6-8

    Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • 1- 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1 28 oz. can tomato purée
  • 7 cups of water
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 large celery sticks, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Optional: 1 large pinch garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

    1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes. Then, add carrots and celery and sauté for another 3 minutes.

    2. Add tomato purée, water, spices, salt, pepper, bay leaves, lemon juice and lentils. Bring to a boil for several minutes. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    3. Add chickpeas, kale, parsley and cilantro. Simmer uncovered for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Note: The soup will be very thick by now, much like a stew. Add water if you would prefer it to be thinner. Remove bay leaves and serve, garnished with fresh parsley. Enjoy and stay warm!

    Chickpea Salad Wraps with Avocado

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    This avocado chickpea salad is the more exciting vegan version of your classic chicken or tuna salad. The chickpeas, avocado and cashews make it a great source of protein! This recipe uses tahini instead of mayonnaise to hold everything together. I like to throw this mashed salad in a wrap and top it with grapes (which add a little sweetness) and snow peas (which add a little crunch). A delicious and healthy lunch option!

    Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free option

    Yield: About 3 cups of salad (3 wraps)

    Time: 15 minutes

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), cooked
  • 1 whole avocado
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 large wraps of your choice (spinach, whole wheat, etc.)*
    1. *Make sure to use wheat-free wraps for the gluten-free option.

    Optional:

  • Halved red grapes, for topping
  • Snow peas, for topping

    1. First of all, drain and rinse chickpeas. In a small saucepan, bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil and add chickpeas. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain chickpeas again and let cool.

    2. In a mixing bowl, add softened chickpeas and begin mashing them with a fork. You don’t want to mash them entirely but just enough so that there are a few whole chickpeas still visible. Add avocado and continue to gently mash away. Add chopped veggies, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice and stir with a large spoon so that everything is evenly combined. Add curry powder, ground mustard, cilantro, salt and pepper and continue to combine the mixture.

    3. Prepare large wraps using about a cup of the mixture for each wrap (I like to use spinach wraps- they’re my favorite). Add some greens, grapes and snow peas or your preferred toppings. Wrap it on up and you’re good to go! Serve wraps sliced in half or refrigerate chickpea salad in an airtight container if not eating immediately. Chickpea salad should stay good for 2-3 days. Enjoy!

    Creamy Hummus with Homemade Pita Chips

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    This hummus is way better than any store-bought hummus out there! Great for snacking, using as a spread on sandwiches or wraps or taking as an hors d’oeurve to a party. People will be very impressed that you took the time to make your own hummus when in reality, it takes less than 10 minutes. My family is Lebanese and this recipe is adapted from my mother’s hummus recipe though I have made some alterations. This hummus is delicious served with homemade pita chips, but veggies are great for dipping too. You can also use hummus as a spread on sandwiches and wraps!

    Now, I’m going to let you in on a few hummus-making secrets:

    1. If you have ever made hummus and it has come out pasty and thick rather than creamy, it may be because you did not boil the chickpeas. Boiling softens the chickpeas and makes for a creamier hummus!

    2. Now, this step is a pain in the ass but it’s totally worth it: peel the chickpeas after boiling!

    3. Many recipes call for soaking dried chickpeas overnight, but I personally think canned chickpeas work just as well.

    NOW FOR THE HUMMUS RECIPE!

    Servings: 4-6

    Time: 10 minutes

    Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

    • 1 15 oz . can of chickpeas (I use Goya Garbanzo beans)
    • 2 teaspoons cumin
    • 2 small garlic cloves or one large garlic clove
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup tahini
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley for garnish

    1. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Fill a small pot with water so that the pot is about half full. Bring to a boil and add chickpeas. Let boil for 20 minutes.

    2. While chickpeas are boiling, chop cloves of garlic and set aside. When chickpeas are done boiling, allow to cool then peel them individually (I actually find this kind of therapeutic.

    4.Add tahini and lemon juice to food processor, processing for about 15 seconds, allowing tahini to get a whipped texture. Add water and process for another 15 seconds. Then, add softened chickpeas to food processor and process for 30 seconds. Scrape sides of food processor and process for another 30 seconds. Add olive oil, garlic, cumin and paprika- process for yet another 30 seconds. Scrape sides of the processor again and process for a final 15 seconds! By now, your hummus should be pretty creamy. If it is not, scrape the sides and process a bit longer until you reach your desired creaminess! Scrape hummus out of food processor and into a serving dish with a lid. To serve, I like to make a small hole in the center then add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Garnish with chopped parsley. Hummus should stay good in the refrigerator for about a week, though it never lasts that long in my house!

    FOR THE PITA CHIPS!

    Servings: 4-6

    Cooking time: 10-15 minutes

    Dietary Info: Dairy-Free

    • 8 pita pockets (I use Middle East Bakery Whole Wheat Pita)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    • Salt to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    2. Slice each pita pocket into 8 wedges. Mix olive oil and cumin in a small dish and use a brush to dab some of the mixture onto each wedge, making sure each wedge is covered with oil.

    3. Place wedges in a thin layer on a cookie sheet, making sure they do not overlap then sprinkle with sea salt. Throw em’ in the oven and bake until lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes (they will begin to curl a bit). Take them out, let cool and serve with hummus!