Chana Masala and Spinach
Chana Masala (chickpeas and spices) is a warm and delicious Indian dish. It not only is a great vegan main dish, but also makes a delicious side dish. Serve it with rice or like I prefer to do, with farro. The recipe I am sharing with you today is my own version of the dish. It is hearty, healthy and easy to make.
What sparked my interest in making this meal is a visit from my niece, Jasmine, who is vegan. Therefore, I wanted to make a nice vegan dinner for us. I usually go to the legume family when I make a meatless meal, so I decided to use chickpeas, and what better way to serve chickpeas than with Indian spices.
Well, just chickpeas for dinner isn’t enough, so I also made farro for a healthy, protein filled grain, and a zucchini, pepper, and mushroom medley to serve along with them. The recipes for all three dishes are included in this post. I hope you give this meal a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Ingredients for Chickpeas
1 – medium onion diced
2 – cloves garlic minced
1 – jalapeño or serrano pepper diced
1 – tbls. olive oil
1 – tsp. coriander
½ – tsp. garam masala
½ – tsp. turmeric
1 – tsp. ground cumin
1 – tsp. grated fresh ginger
½ – tsp. salt (or to taste)
¼ – tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 – 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 – 14 oz. cans chickpeas drained
½ – cup water
6 – oz. baby spinach
Small handful of chopped cilantro
Warm the olive oil in a heavy skillet, then add the diced onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño. Sauté about 5-7 minutes until the onion begin to become translucent. Make a space in the skillet and add the coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and cumin. Stir into the onion mixture and cook about 1 minute more.
Next add the diced tomatoes, salt, and black pepper. Stir and continue to cook until the tomatoes start to come to a boil then add the chickpeas and water. Bring it back to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and let cook about 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally.
When the chickpeas are ready, add the spinach, stir and cover to let the spinach start to wilt. Cook about five minutes until the spinach is cooked. Add the cilantro and mix through. Give it a taste and add salt if necessary.
While the chickpeas are simmering, you can prepare the rest of the meal. Start by cooking the farro. Sometimes it’s tricky to time everything perfectly, but you don’t have to worry with the farro because it is delicious at room temperature too.
Ingredients for Farro
1 ½ – cups farro
3 – cups water
1 – tsp. salt
½ – tsp. Herbs de Provence
2 – tbls. olive oil
½ – tsp. ground black pepper
1 – lime
Handful of chopped cilantro
Bring the water to a boil and add the farro and salt. Bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook about 15-20 minutes until the farro is al dente.
Drain the farro and return to the pot. Add the olive oil, black pepper, Herbs de Provence, and cilantro. Squeeze in the juice of one lime to brighten up the flavors. Stir and add salt if needed. Set aside until the chickpeas are ready.
To round out the meal, I also sautéed some zucchini, peppers, and crimini mushrooms. They make a perfect complement to the chickpeas and farro.
Once you have the water on to boil for the farro, you can start preparing the vegetables.
Ingredients for the Zucchini
3 – small zucchini (cut into 1” pieces)
2 – cups medium cut bell peppers (any variety you choose)
8 – oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 – tbls. olive oil
1 – tsp. adobo seasoning
2 – cloves garlic
½ – tsp. salt
½ – tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Wash and cut up the vegetables. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet along with the garlic (first smash it with the side of a large knife). Let it sauté about 2 minutes to release the flavor. Now add the zucchini and peppers and sauté about 5-7 minutes then add the mushrooms. Season with adobo, salt, and black pepper. Stir occasionally and cook until tender; however, be careful not to overcook them. They should be tender, but still have a little crispness.
You are ready to eat. Enjoy!