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.

Yield:

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Preparation:

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

{Meatless Times} Kicked Up Black-Eyed Pea and Penne Salad

Well…we have decided to join the {MEATLESS} crowd.  I admit, I don’t know the first thing about going meatless and frankly, I’m more than a bit concerned about flavor and variety without meat.  I don’t want to eat pasta and rice or beans every night.

At the same time, we are trying to eat cleaner…food closer to natural state so that means cutting out the white stuff…rice, pasta, flour and sugar.  I am sure with more education, the list is going to grow.

Can we do this?  Just 1-3 days a week?

I hit the public library and many of the great real food and vegan blogs for some help.  It is amazing the wealth of information out there and I feel fairly confident that we can do both.  Move in a more meatless direction and eat cleaner.

For the first day, I made a very kicked-up black-eyed pea and pasta salad.  Heat from the HOT pepper, cool from the lime, cilantro and mint, and plenty of protein from the black-eyed peas and a serving of whole grains from the pasta.  I love arugula so in that went (as an afterthought but before serving).

I have never soaked my own beans but chose to buy dry and bulk…easy soak the night before and a 40 minut simmer.  Done and the difference in salt was amazing…none compared to the canned version. And a benefit?  A fraction of the cost of canned.  Who knew?

Overall, a keeper and a great first step into healthier, cleaner  and meatless eating.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Recipe notes:  I added the penne to make this a meal not a side, substituted Thai red peppers, swapped arugula for the shredded lettuce and used lime instead of lemon.  Once I tasted the salad, it screamed for avocado so I cubed a half and added it to the salad. A healthy serving of MUFA.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces uncooked whole grain penne, cooked using package instructions omitting fat and salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded, ribs removed and finely diced (I used Thai peppers as I had them in the fridge)
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (I used one whole lime, including zest)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (I used dried beans)
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 bunch mint, leaves roughly chopped (I cut this in half, I thought that was too much mint ~ at least for us it was)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 cups sliced fresh baby spinach or arugula

Directions:

Combine the garlic, pepper, red onion, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste, in a large bowl.

Add the peas, tomatoes, mint, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss in the arugula and avocado.

Serve with a slice of whole grain bread if desired.

If you are still with me and you live this or will try the same, PLEASE feel free to leave me a comment on what sites, magazines or cookbooks you reference for recipes or ideas or simply for education. I am considering the magazine Vegetarian Times but open to magazine, cookbook or education ideas.

A big thanks in advance!

Linked to:

Tuesday 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 MOP, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Monday Mania, My Meatless Monday, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Beauty & Bedlam Tuesday

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 21 other followers

{Random food and photos}