Thursday, March 7, 2013

Indian Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Indian lentil chickpea stew


Living on an island has its perks, no doubt. In almost every direction, there are water views, mountain lined horizons, salty air, and marinas that sprinkle the roads all around this tiny island. We take charming ferry rides to get to the mainland, aka Seattle, and we take a bridge to get to the grocery store. Whales and dolphins are our kayaking companions and everyone loves the seasonal runs of salmon and trout. Any given day can unfold sights worthy of an episode on NatGeo and did I mention the incredible sunsets?


Who wouldn't love living on our little island? Seattle is a very vegan friendly city and it's just a ferry ride away. If I want a tasty vegan dining experience, a trip to Seattle is a must. If a 35 minute ferry ride, bus ride and ticket fare aren't looking keen then it's up to my cooking skills to create some serious island locked vegan satisfaction. Which is cool, because I love to cook :)

There is one shining beacon in this dark and lonely vegan wasteland, a place on the island with delicious vegan fare. The illustrious Spice Route is notorious on our little island for being veg friendly as most dishes can be made with coconut milk instead of cow milk. This is fantastic and I love going there to eat my way to vegetable korma bliss. That is, I used to love it. During my last visit to the quaintly local Indian restaurant, that unwanted ingredient found it's way into my food and into my mouth. Pulling a piece of chicken out of a vegan mouth is never a positive experience. An experience that will forever keep me on my toes and cause me to endlessly search my food before consuming has turned my Spice Route love to heartache. Will I let that stop me? Now way!! No vegan takes the easy street! Now I'm on a quest to master the art of vegan Indian cooking!! My first dish was incredible and shockingly easy to make. I hope you find it just as easy and delicious as I did :) Never give up and always remember to viva la vegan!


2 cups lentils, prepared (or 2 15-ounce cans rinsed and drained)

2 cups chickpeas (garbanzo beans), prepared (or 2 15-ounce cans rinsed and drained)

1 26 ounce-jar spaghetti sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (fresh ginger makes all the difference)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt

2 teaspoons mild curry powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

1 cup water

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/3 cup chopped cilantro


1. In a large sized skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add your onion, ginger and salt, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

2. Add in your spices in the early stages of cooking and this will help the flavors develop, become fragrant, and allow to blend into the flavors of the meal instead of tasting like add ins. At this point, go ahead an add in your spices (curry, garam masala, cayenne) and stir continuously for about 60 seconds until the spices become fragrant.

3. Slowly add and stir in the pasta sauce.

4. Add lentils and chickpea to the pan, Slowly add water and stir. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Indian dishes always love to simmer and develop their flavors!

5. Just before serving, add your lime juice and stir. Garnish with cilantro and serve with basmati or jasmine rice for a complete and healthy meal.

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