MAP Wellness

MAP Wellness
Spreading the Health

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Junk in the Trunk (freezer) Curry (vegan/gluten free)

It was Friday night, and I wanted to make something super yummy and warm to eat.  It has been an unusually mild and dry winter in Toronto (where's the snow!?), but this night, the weather report was calling for flurries, flurries, and more flurries.  I wanted to hibernate, make a one pot meal, and then cozy up on the sofa with a tea and a movie. I didn't want to make the trek to the grocery store (although there is a 24 hour one right across the street!), so I decided to get creative and devise a meal using only what I had on hand.  And at the end of a long week of food adventuring in my kitchen, let me just say that my pantry ends up quit bare, and my produce drawers quite bleak.  So what to do, what to do...?

I knew I had some dried chickpeas in the cupboard, but with no time to soak them overnight, I had an "aha" moment, and tossed them into the slow cooker.  I had never prepared my garbanzo beans in this way prior, but the final product has me convinced that I will never go back to canned!  The peas came out delectably perfect; just al dente, keeping their shape, with a deep savor to their taste that I had never noticed in the sweet legume before.  And no icky can guck to rinse off either!  So here is how I did it:

Slow cooker chick peas (garbanzo beans!)  
Whatcha Need:
- 2 cups dried chick peas
- H2O

Simply place the peas in your crock pot, and cover with water by several inches.  Add a pinch of salt if you like.  Cook on High for 2-3 hours, or Low for 6.  Drain, rinse, and voila!

I decided that I wouldn't be needing the entire batch immediately, so I chose to freeze half.  Once dried, I spread the peas out in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and tossed the tray into the freezer.  Once fully solid, I transferred the ice cold little gems into a freezer bag for use later in the week!

Next, I had to decide what to do with my freshly reconstituted garbanzos, and opted to go the curry route, knowing I had a full can of coconut milk in the cupboard, and half a sweet potato in the fridge.  The rest of the ingredients are flex; use what you have!  I tend to buy veggies in bulk, and since I am usually cooking for one, I often blanch and freeze portions of broccoli, peppers, zucchini, you name it, for easy meals mid-week.  

 Chickpea 'N Junk Curry

Whatcha Need:
1 1/2 cup cooked chick peas
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 sweet potato chopped
1/2 medium carrot sliced 
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp. each, cumin, tumeric & Indian masala mix
1 Tbsp veg broth
1/2 C cauliflower florets (freezer goods)
1/2 C sliced zucchini (freezer goods)
1/2 C chopped mixed peppers (freezer goods)
1 whole tomato, defrosted and chopped (freezer goods)
1/2 can coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/4 C raisins
1 green onion diced (freezer goods)
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat medium skillet on medium-high heat.  Add coconut oil, followed by sweet potato & carrot.  Cook, turning a few times until lightly browned, 6-7 mins.  Add in all the spices and dried onion, stirring until fragrant and toasted. Add mushrooms.  Mix in veggie broth, scraping up bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add in all the frozen veggies & the chickpeas.  Give it a good stir, and then pour in the coconut milk, agave, raisins, and salt & pepper.  Bring it to a simmer on Low heat, and cook until thickened to your liking.  Just before serving, toss in the green onion.  It will keep it's pretty colour.  :-)

Serve over brown rice, and top with avocado & fresh basil, mint or cilantro if you have 'em!  

Delish, cheap, easy, and fuss free!  Perfect for a quiet date night IN!

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