A Meatless Journey, New Cookbooks and Chickpea Spinach Stew

Along with giving up wine for Lent (as part of Rebecca’s Do Without Challenge at Midnight Maniac), we also made a commitment to up our meatless nights from one to at least three a week.  We are not quite a week into both and there is still time for you to “do without” and join the group. It doesn’t have to be meat or wine…any indulgence will do.

For our meatless meals last week, I shot from the hip, pulling a few recipes from online cooking resources. A very kicked-up black-eyed pea and penne salad hit all the notes for a spicy dish (which we both crave and crave often), a fruited couscous stuffed squash deliciously scented with cardamom and yesterday, a zesty citrus chickpea stew with lemongrass, yam and spinach (recipe below).

A very good start for week one!

But this is a long journey and I am not a meatless meal expert. Oh, I have made the occasional meatless meal (butternut ravioli, lobster and truffle risotto, Basque tortilla, and the most decadent Gnocchi a la Parisienne) but never on a regular basis or intentionally.

When we took the pledge, I knew one thing.  We would not eat rice and beans every night.  That was not going to keep the tummies happy. I needed inspiration to keep our meals exciting and there is nothing like holding a gloriously photographed cookbook in my hands for inspiration and motivation to stay the course.

I admit, I have shelves and shelves of cookbooks collecting dust that rarely see the light of the kitchen but none of them are vegetarian (or vegan) and none of them focused on clean eating.  Keeping to my “try before I buy” cookbook resolution (1/2011), I reserved several books on clean eating, vegetarian and vegan cooking from the library.  A few more than several…15 to be exact. Lucky for me,  Mister “volunteered” to make the 2 mile walk to the library with me and with 15 books to bag and carry, I was certainly thankful for his help.

I couldn’t wait to get home, curl up on the sofa under a comfy blanket and devour my “new” books.

An absolutely beautiful book from Linda Long is Great Chefs Cook Vegan. Thomas Keller, Jean-George Vongerichten, Eric Ripert, Charlie Trotter, and many other James Beard award-winning chefs create a three or four-course vegan meal, complete with mouth-watering photographs of each recipe and much more.

And mouth-watering they are…Sweet Pea Ravioli with Pea Cream, Wheat Berries with Truffle and Mustard Emulsion, White and Green Asparagus Terrine, Yukon “Linguine” with Sorrel-Arugula Sauce and Charred Corn Ravioli with Basil Fondue. Certainly no rice and bean dinners in this book.  Who knew vegan could be so gourmet!

Another book I really like is Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes. Mushroom and Cannellini Paprikas, Upside Down Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, Cranberry-Cherry Biryani and Red Wine & Kalamata Tempeh.  I am not sure what to try first!

Currant Sweet Bread, Blueberry and Almond Bread, Savory Asparagus and Mushroom Bread Pudding, Pistachio-Lemon Pesto Pasta are just a few from the The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. I just might have to join the virtual Moosewood cooking group.

A great assortment from the simple and quick to the gourmet from acclaimed chefs.  Amazing, beyond inspirational and too tummy tempting.

What inspires you for meatless meals?  Do you have a favorite book or online resource?

Lemongrass Chickpea and Spinach Stew.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light’s Moroccan Chickpea Stew:

Recipe notes:  I substituted a yam for the Yukon potato and added about a cup of chopped spinach about 5 minutes before serving.  The recipe calls for rice or substitute whole wheat couscous.


6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups stew, 1/2 cup rice, and about 1 tablespoon yogurt)


  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1  cup  diced yellow onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1  cup  diced carrot (about 1 large)
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2  cups  cubed peeled Yukon gold potato, about 1 large
  • 2  teaspoons  Cambodian Lemongrass spice (see link above)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground turmeric
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  (28-ounce) can diced organic tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I prefer to use dried beans to control salt)
  • 1  (14-ounce) can organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 3  cups  hot cooked brown rice or whole wheat couscous.
  • 1/2  cup  plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 bunch fresh chopped cilantro


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic, and jalapeño to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in potato and next 7 ingredients (through broth). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Serve over rice. Top with yogurt and a chopped fresh cilantro.

Linked to: My Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless MondaySumos Sweet Stuff, Something I Whipped Up, Made By You Monday, Homemaker Mondays, Your Recipe, My KitchenMeals on MondayHappy Housewife, All Things RelatedTuesday Supper Club, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tuesday Tasty Tidbit, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura’s Tasty Tuesday, Eat at Home, Slightly Indulgent, Hearth and Soul, Made From Scratch, Tasty Tuesday MOPBeauty & Bedlam Tuesday, Melt In Your Mouth


14 responses to “A Meatless Journey, New Cookbooks and Chickpea Spinach Stew

  1. Wow! Your meatless meals last week were way more exciting than ours. We just had mac ‘n cheese, spaghetti and veggie burgers. I’ve been going through my dusty cookbooks, putting together a meal plan so we’ll have some new things on the menu this week. Rice and beans would be welcome in our house. We tend to O.D. on pasta during meatless meals.

    I can’t wait to see what you cook up from your stash of cookbooks! Make sure to link this post up on Wednesday. I’ll have a Do Without Week 1 check in. Kudos on the no wine too!

    ♥ Rebecca Jean
    Midnight Maniac

    • Michelle

      Thanks Rebecca…doing good on meatless, 4 days in a row now but the mushroom stroganoff with white wine got me last night. I admit…I slipped…an open bottle of good white sitting there, staring at me…I caved and had a small glass! Ouch!

  2. Ooh, I made a very similar chickpea and pumpkin dish with lemongrass recently, though mien used coconut milk instead of tomatoes. I loved that, so I know I’ll love this. And your descriptions of all the other recipes has my tummy grumblings!

  3. Good work on the meat-free drive. Lovely pictures too. I’m dedicated to chickpeas, although chorizo does often find its way in there too…!

  4. I have shelves of cookbooks gathering dust too :/ But very few are vegetarian, which is strange as my Mom is vegetarian and I enjoy vegi meals just as much too. This recipe of yours sounds delicious though, I’ve just emailed my Mom to tell her about it too because I’m sure she’d enjoy it as well. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    I’m also taking part in the hearth & Soul hop this week.

  5. Ott, A

    Just Stopping by from TMTT. I wanted to invite you to check out my Iron Chef Challenge This month’s themed ingredient is canned tomatoes, so link up a recipe using those and you could win a prize. It should be a lot of fun, hope you can join us!!

  6. I had lemongrass in a tube in my grocery basket today but put it back. I didn’t know what to do with it but it sounded good. Wish I had bought it now. This sounds really good.

    • Michelle

      There are so many things to do with it. There is a fab lemongrass and chicken chowder recipe in Cooking Light…MIster loves it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  7. Hi michelle! What a wonderful journey you are undertaking! I would love to see how you feel after the 40 days and what health or spiritual changes you have had! I certainly adore meatless meals every few days and my only challenge is kids who are bit picky. I expecially love your couscouse stuffed squash. Thanks so much for sharing with the hearth and soul hop. Please next week link back to a new hop host as girlichef is sadly no longer promoting the hop and the link you have will not take anyone back to the hop so they wont be able to share with us all! Thanks so much. Alex

  8. That looks so good.. what a great pledge. I love beans and have been making and eating them like crazy lately. I really want to try the Cambodian Lemongrass.

  9. good for you!i am having so much difficulty coming up with meatless meals on fridays (particularly because my husband is a bit picky)—i don’t know what i would do 3 nights a week! your recipe looks really delicious…i am going to give it a try. thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club.

  10. I didn’t even know I was hungry until I came here and now I wish I had some chickpeas cooked up – this looks delicious! thanks for sharing this with us at the Hearth and Soul hop!

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