11.04.2010

Eggplant Chana Masala via 'The Kind Diet'

Last Christmas my mom got me Alicia Silverstone's cookbook The Kind Diet, in which the actress talks about her reasons for becoming vegan (no meat or dairy) and the health benefits that go along with it. She makes some interesting points, and does so in a nonjudgmental way, which is something I appreciate.

I've mentioned before that I'm a vegetarian, and made that decision based on things I've learned about the animal farming industry, not so much the health benefits (of which there are many!). I'm still young in the practice (I've been at it almost 2 years now), so there's still a lot for me to learn when it comes to protein substitutes and making sure my body is getting what it needs. But one thing that keeps surprising me is how many delicious meatless recipes exist in the world. And this eggplant chana masala is most certainly one of them.

Chana masala is a popular dish in Indian cuisine, and the main ingredient is usually chickpeas. This recipe, however, showcases the eggplant just as much. I know, I know... there are a lot of people out there who have had run-ins with poorly cooked eggplant where it's either spongy or mushy, but this one takes it to a whole new (and really flavorful) level. Just give it a try!

Eggplant Chana Masala
Serves 8

Ingredients

3 large onions, roughly chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon (or to taste) curry powder
1-2 teaspoons (or to taste) cumin
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
2 (14-ounce) cans peeled tomatoes, drained
1 can vegetarian chili (Health Valley and Amy's make good ones)
1 handful fresh chopped cilantro (about 1/2 cup)

Directions

Saute the onions and garlic with the oil, curry powder and cumin in a large pot until the onions are soft or translucent, approximately 5 minutes.



Add the eggplant and saute for 5 minutes longer until lightly browned and softened. Sometimes the eggplant will absorb a lot of oil, so you might need to add more to prevent sticking.


Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and chili. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. It will get watery, but then reduce to a thick, stewy consistency.



Add more spices to taste. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.


Yum!

Pretty easy, right? And your house will smell so good your neighbors will be knocking at the door. :)

Be sure and check out Alicia's The Kind Life blog, which also has some great resources for those looking to go meat- and dairy-free!

{All images by Parsimonia}

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