We've always been a protein-plus-two-vegetables sort of family - not sure whether that's because of habit or matters of taste. I try to make meat-free dinners once or twice a week: rice and beans, maybe quesadillas. While I'm happy and the kids don't complain, meat-free dinners clearly do not satisfy Michael. I know this because an hour later, two hours tops, he's in the refrigerator.
It's not my strong suit, the meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free menu planning, but I did okay: crudites with white bean and basil dip (I used fresh basil solo instead of prepared pesto to keep it vegan and added a few capers for zing); oven-roasted tomatoes, which we ate with our fingers standing at the counter; fresh corn tortillas with zucchini flowers (like the ones on Girl + Fire, breathtakingly beautiful); a salad; and a very satisfying chickpea curry with coconut milk, served over brown rice. Mr. and Mrs. Vegan were happy. I was happy. The kids were happy (although some of them had grilled cheese - the curry was a little spicy). And Michael - well, after the Vegans left, he was in the refrigerator. Some things never change.
The garbanzo curry was extremely simple to make. One shortcut: I used a prepared Indian green masala paste. They're available in jars in Indian markets, if you've got one in your area. If you can't find it and prefer to make your own, I found a good-looking recipe on Asian Online Recipes (green masala paste recipe). Green masala relies heavily on cilantro and mint, so the curry has a nice, fresh flavor that works well with the coconut milk.
Chickpea curry with coconut milk
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 3 Tbsp Indian green masala curry paste
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4 cups cooked chickpeas (I used dried, but canned work fine here; drain them before adding)
- 4 green onions, chopped
- salt to taste (if you use canned garbanzos, you'll need less)
- fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Now add the green masala paste and coconut milk to the pot; stir to dissolve the tomato paste and masala spices in the coconut milk. Add the chickpeas and green onions, bring the pot to a boil, turn the heat way down, and simmer about 15 minutes, uncovered. If the pot looks too dry, add some water. You want sauce - slightly thickened, but definitely there.
Season to taste with salt and garnish with cilantro. Serve over rice. If you have leftovers, no worries - they're even better the next day.