In our healthy eating guidelines for 2016, the CompostMaster and I decided we wanted to eat more vegetarian meals and eat more colors each day. This vegan chickpea curry, a variation on chana masala, features white onions, green chiles and spinach, orange sweet potatoes, and red tomatoes. We almost hit our five color goal in a single meal.
This dish includes serrano chile peppers, which are a step up on the heat scale from jalapeños. If you think this may be too hot for you, you can substitute jalapeños or even mild bell peppers. Use a yellow pepper and that will be one more color in your dish! Some peppers, even within the same family, are hotter than others. To test how hot a particular chile pepper is, cut it open and rub the inside of the pepper against your gum above your upper row of teeth. (I learned this tip from Curtis Stone.)
You may check the nutritional information for this chickpea curry and say “whoa, 56g of carb, that’s way too much for me at a meal.” Note that there’s also a whopping 18g of fiber per serving which should reduce the effects of the carbs. If you’re still nervous, simply reduce your portion size.
Can’t Find Garam Masala?
If you can’t find garam masala at your store, you can make your own. It may not be exactly the same, but it will do in a pinch. Here are the ingredients for one version of homemade garam masala.
New to the vegetarian/vegan game?
This curry will open your eyes to a new world of flavor. Try it for Meatless Monday. If you like these flavors and want a simpler recipe, you might like Green Curry Chickpea and Sweet Potato Soup.
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 serrano chiles, seeds removed and minced
- ½ pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 medium potato)
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup water
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach or kale, stems (& ribs) removed
- Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger. Stir fry for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add coriander and cumin and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
- Add onions and chile peppers. Stir often, until onions begin to darken, about 10 minutes.
- Add sweet potatoes and cook, stirring constantly so that the onions don't stick. Add a little bit of water if necessary.
- Add tomatoes, salt, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the water and chickpeas. Bring to a simmer, then cook, partially covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sweet potatoes should be easy to pierce with a fork, but not mushy.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine lemon juice and fenugreek (if using). Set aside.
- Add spinach to the chickpea mixture and cook until it wilts, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice (and fenugreek, if using). Serve immediately.
If you want to reduce the Sodium in this recipe, leave out or reduce the kosher salt. You can also use no-salt-added tomatoes (or fresh).
If you want to reduce the Saturated Fat in this recipe, use extra virgin olive oil instead of coconut oil.