Fragrant & Spicy: Indian Chole Palak

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Happy World Vegetarian Day! Most of us love our greasy burgers, perfectly seared steaks, and bacon (Yeah..don’t forget the bacon). Even if you don’t want to commit to a life sans-meat, everyone should make an effort to incorporate more veggies and fruits into their diet and less animal prodcuts. Why, you ask?

1. You’ll feel better and live longer

Eating animal products has a negative affect on our overall heart health. A diet full of fat and cholestrol can lead to heart disease, like clogged arteries. Plus you’ll feel less sluggish overall.

2. You’ll save money

Eating vegeterian is cheap. Browse the produce aisle at the grocery store. Now browse the meat section. See a difference? If you’re concerned about protein, tofu is actually pretty affordable in comparison to meat. Protein can also be found in things like beans, chickpeas, soy and nuts.

3. You’ll save lives

Many of us have seen videos online of the horrible conditions farm animals live in. That’s the reality of it.

4. You’ll help the environment

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has reported that the chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams.

Have you seen cowspirarcy? It’s a pretty eye opening movie when it comes to our consumption of animal products. Check it out on Netflix.

Convinced yet? If these reasons don’t move you to at least try to eat more vegetarian based dishes, then you don’t have a heart. Kidding. Bacon is wonderful. But so is this traditional Indian dish called Chole Palak, made from spinach and garbanzo beans and plenty of fragrant spice, like garam masala. Go on, try it. It’s pretty simple.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 19 oz can of chickpeas a.ka. garbanzo beans
  • 3 cups of chopped spinach
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 green chili
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • basmati rice
  • naan bread
  • lemon wedges

Supplies

  • sautee pan with lid
  • blender or food processor
  • spatula or potato masher
  • measuring spoons
  • knife

1. Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas a.k.a garbanzo beans in a colander.

2. Cut up the tomatoes, green chili and ginger. Add them to a food processor or blender to make a puree.

3. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan at a medium/low temperature and add the diced onion. Continue to sautee them until their soft and brown, appx. 5 minutes.

4. Once the onion is sauteed, add the cumin seed and let that heat up together for appx. 2 minutes. Then add the puree of tomato goodness + coriander, turmeric, red pepper. Let that simmer for about 3 – 4 minutes on medium heat.

5. Add the chopped spinach, salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Cover it. Let that continue to cook for 5 minutes.

6. Add the chickpeas and mash them up a bit with a spatula or potato masher. Add the garam masala and let it cook on low heat, covered, for 7 – 8 minutes.

Remove the lid and let the aroma of garam masala transport you to India. And you thought only meat tasted this good! đŸ˜‰ Serve it over warm basmati rice and top it off with a lemon wedge, if you like. Dip the naan bread into the sauce or use it to scoop some of the chickpea and spinach concoction.

See! Eating vegetarian isn’t that bad. If you’ve decided to go vegetarian or have tried to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, let us know in the comments! We could use a little inspiration.

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