Monday, April 26, 2010

♥ vegetarian: a person who eats only side dishes.

perhaps i have failed to mention this,
and maybe you don't think its very important
but nonetheless, i must tell you: i am a vegetarian.

(super cute tshirt from dressing on the side.)

and while it is much more common and even considered "cool" to have such a special diet nowadays, thirteen years ago when my bestfriend convinced me to eschew chewing animals, it was much more of a nuisance to my poor mama who had to try to come up with something for me to eat separately from my brother and sisters.

i ended up adopting what i like to refer to as a"carbotarian" diet, where i ate only carbs and avoided both meats and veggies alike. i ate what i felt comfortable eating, the foods i considered to be "true," which were mainly breads, chips, pastas and pizzas.

it was not until i moved out of my home, bought a veggie steamer, and learned how to cook that i began to change my mind about vegetables. i went from being creeped out at the mere idea of putting tofu anywhere near my mouth and gagging at thought of the word "stir fry" to loving both and subsisting off what nick adorably refers to as, "rabbit food."

yes, my menu options are still limited, but they are alot less restrictive
than they were when the only veggies i ate were canned corn and french fries.

tonight i tried a delicious, nutritious meal from smitten kitchen
for spinach & chickpeas and thought i would share the recipe and the results:

1/2 pound (230 grams) dried chickpeas, cooked until soft and tender* or two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

6 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound (450 grams) spinach, washed
A hefty 1-inch slice from a country loaf or about 2 slices from sandwich loaf bread (2.5 ounces or 75 grams), crusts removed and cut inset small cubes
1/2 cup (4 ounces) tomato sauce (I used canned stuff I keep around)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika**
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, to taste

Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add half the olive oil. When it is hot, add the spinach with a pinch of salt (in batches, if necessary) and stir well. Remove when the leaves are just tender, drain in a colander and set aside.

Heat 2 more tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the bread for about 5 minutes or until golden brown all over, then the remaining tablespoon of oil and the garlic, cumin and pepper. Cook for 1 minute more or until the garlic is nutty brown.

Transfer to a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle along with the vinegar, and mash to a paste. Return the mixture to the pan and add the drained chickpeas and tomato sauce. Stir until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavors and are hot. Season with salt and pepper.

If the consistency is a little thick, add some water. Add the spinach and cook until it is hot. Check for seasoning and serve with paprika on top, or on fried bread toasts (as the Spanish do).

i have to say, it turned out splendidly and i definitely recommend
it for vegetarians, carbotarians, and meat eaters alike :)

3 ♥ love notes.:

  1. Cool! Im a veggetarian too, and I love chic peas, so i will love your recipe! THANKS!

  2. thank you! it came out soooo yummy and is so good for you!
    way to go, my fellow veggie :)

  3. Haha, love the title! Sometimes it feels that way, especially at meat-heavy restaurants. Being a vegetarian just takes a little more creativity in the kitchen, which isn't really a bad thing in and of itself. :)


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