Although I strive to eat a mostly Paleo diet (no grains, legumes, dairy, or refined sugar), I don’t always want to eat meat at every meal. In general beans don’t completely agree with me digestion-wise (they are legumes), but I still love them, and chickpeas, which are also known as garbanzo beans, are my favorite variety. I grew up eating chickpea curry, and until I discovered how much better I felt eating the Paleo way (almost 3 years ago now), this was in our regular rotation. More commonly known as chana masala on Indian restaurant menus, this is a universally loved dish. I have updated my version of it to be especially kid friendly for my boys by including carrots, because what kid doesn’t love carrots? I served our chickpea curry tonight with steamed cauliflower tossed in virgin coconut oil, and even my pickiest eater cleaned his plate.
3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 cans organic garbanzo beans
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cups diced carrots (about 3 medium)
4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
scant 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup filtered water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Place the olive oil, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. Turn the heat onto medium, letting the oil and whole spices heat up until the mustard seeds start to pop. Once they start popping, immediately add your diced onion and quickly give it all a stir to prevent the seeds from burning. Now reduce the heat to medium low, and brown the onions, stirring frequently to ensure that they don’t burn. This can take 10-15 minutes, but be patient! The rich flavor that the browned onions provide this dish is absolutely worth the wait.
While your onions are browning, puree your tomatoes, garlic, and ginger in a blender or food processor. I used my blender, and got almost 2 1/2 cups of puree.
Once your onions have properly browned, add the pureed tomato mix, diced carrots, garbanzo beans, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir well, and allow everything to simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Next, stir in the water and reduce the heat to your lowest setting. Cover your pot, and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until your carrots are tender. Be sure to stir your curry occasionally to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Once your carrots are properly fork tender, turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Do a taste test, and add more salt if you wish.
Enjoy your chickpea curry with rice, steamed cauliflower, quinoa, or roasted sweet potatoes. It’s delicious with just about anything!
This was a hearty and satisfying vegan meal for us tonight. What is your favorite vegetarian dinner?