I’m so excited to get my first recipe up on the blog!!
Let me tell you a little bit about me and what you can expect from my recipes. I love food. I love cooking, I love eating, I even love grocery shopping. I'm going to share with you some of my favourite simple, healthy and feel-good recipes. I might even toss in some evidence-based research to help you sort through the confusing and conflicting information in the news and media. Our lives can already be so complicated, there's no reason our food needs to be! So lets jump right in!
Anyone who knows me can confirm that this has been my favourite year - the year of the pulses! What is a pulse? No, its not the kind you feel on your wrist. Pulses are actually part of the legume family which includes beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils. Not only are pulses high in protein and fibre (the super combo to keep you full and satisfied) they're also environmentally and economically sustainable. Canada's pulse production is on the rise, we're now the second largest producer of pulses! Which is awesome, because pulses have a low carbon footprint, use half of non-renewable energy of other crops and improve the sustainability of cropping systems Beans in particular are also high in the essential amino acid lysine which can be tough to get enough of if you're following a plant-based diet. Not convinced yet? There have been many studies showing the positive effects for blood sugar control following a meal in people with diabetes when replacing simple carb -rich foods (think white bread, pasta, etc.) with beans (Study 1, study 2, and study 3). The reason beans are great for blood sugar control is because they're low in the glycemic index, which means you're not going to get the spike and fall "sugar crash" (ever felt like wanting to curl in a ball and nap after lunch?) that refined carbohydrates can cause. So, to celebrate these wonderful high protein-fibre superfoods, I’m going to use them in my first three recipes on the blog!
Chana masala is an awesome meal for the whole family - it's inexpensive, simple, nutritious and is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
The combination of chickpeas, lentils and greek yogurt makes this gluten free, vegetarian dish a protein-packed pulse powerhouse (try saying that 5 times fast!). Trust me, you’ll fall in love with this satisfying bowl of warm comfort now that the days are getting cooler. You can tailor the spice level for the kids (maybe hold off on the jalapeños), or up them if you're a spice daredevil!
This big pot of delicious flavours (and I mean big, maybe cut it in half if you’re cooking for 1) is great to make on Sundays and keep for lunches for the week. It can also be stored on the freezer for those crazy days when the last thing on your mind is what healthy dish you can whip up for dinner!
Protein Packed Chana Masala
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
4 teaspoons garam masala
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons turmeric
3 cans chick peas, drained and rnsed
2 cans tomatoes
1 cup dry red lentils
1 ½ cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup dry brown basmati rice*
¼ cup non-fat greek yogurt per serving
Fresh lemon juice/slices
Start cooking the brown rice according to package directions while you make the channa masala. Usually this is just 1:2 grain to water – you’ve got this!
Now time to start the yummy channa! Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot for a minute or two. Toss in the onion and sauté until translucent. – a few minutes should do it. Add the jalapenos, garlic and ginger and sauté for another 5 minutes , or until golden brown.
Now this is when you get to stir in all the amazing spices that make it smell like you’re a professional chef. Add the garam masala, cumin and turmeric; stir until the spices smell fragrant. Toss in the chickpeas, tomatoes, lentils and vegetable broth to the party. Bring it all to a simmer, cover and cook for another 10 minutes to blend all the amazing tastes and flavours.
Spoon a few ladles of the stew into a blender and puree until smooth. Add the puree back into the pot to make thicker gravy. This is an optional step, but makes it much more creamy and satisfying in my opinion! For an even thicker gravy, let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes - play around to your preferences!
To serve, take a big spoonful of rice, top with chana masala, and finally garnish with a big spoonful of greek yogurt, a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh cilantro to taste. Now prepare your taste buds for a flavour explosion and dig in!
*Brown rice, or whatever rice you have will also work, but I love the nutty flavour basmati rice can bring to the dish!
Nutrition Facts (per ⅙ recipe and ¼ cup of greek yogurt):