Ethnic Dishes / Vegan Foods / Vegetarian / Weeknight Dinner

Simple Chickpea Curry

This morning, I found out my one and only class of the day got cancelled. After catching up on my Hulu shows and making breakfast, I was at a loss as to what I should do. Sure, I could get some of my homework done, or drag myself to the gym, but neither of those sounded particularly great.

So instead, I did the only logical thing: I made lunch.

Yes, I realized it wasn’t even 10 am yet, and I’d just eaten breakfast, but I figured that since I had the extra time, I could make lunch now, pop it in the fridge, and heat it up later.

Hey, at least I didn’t make cookies. I thought about it, but I didn’t do it.

Since I had the time, I decided to try out something new using the ingredients I currently have in my fridge and pantry. Something that would take more than five minutes to put together.

I’ve recently been on a big cashew kick. I bought a container of cashews about a week ago at Walgreens with the intention of using them in cooking…so far I’ve gone through half the container by sporadically snacking on them, though. They’re just so good. I probably shouldn’t have even bought them, since I’ve clearly developed some weird sort of addiction. They’re just so buttery and delicious and good. Some people like crack, I like cashews.

I’ve been wanting to put together some sort of yummy cashew broccoli dish, but I don’t have any broccoli at the moment…or any fresh produce, other than an apple and some cucumber. I do have a few cans of chickpeas, though, and I had some onion and tomato still in my fridge, so I decided I would put together some sort of curry dish.

Now, most good curry dishes tend to have a lot of ingredients and take a long time to cook. I definitely took the easy, cheater route with this meal. It probably took me 20 minutes, tops, and I just used basic yellow McCormick brand curry powder. I’m sure it would be better if I used higher quality curry and really let things simmer longer, but I’m a lazy college student, and I thought it came together pretty darn good, anyways.

First, I chopped up some yellow onion and sauteed it in a bit of olive oil in a pan on medium heat. As it was cooking, I stirred in curry powder, a bit of garlic salt, and some pepper.

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After about 5 minutes, I poured in some vegetable broth I’d mixed with cornstarch to thicken things up a bit. I’d debated using coconut milk for a creamy taste, but I ended up deciding to keep things a bit lighter; I’ll save the coconut milk for a spicy Thai shrimp dish I’ve been wanting to make.

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I whisked that until everything thickened up a bit, then I poured in some chickpeas that I’d rinsed and drained, and some cashews that I’d chopped up a bit. I also poured in some of the diced canned tomatoes I still had in my fridge, which added a nice color to everything.

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After letting things simmer for about 5 more minutes, I added a bit of cilantro. I found this freeze dried cilantro last time I was at the store and decided to try it out (the fresh stuff always goes bad before I can use it all). It isn’t quite as fragrant, but I was pretty pleased that it still worked well.

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After tasting everything, I also decided to add a pinch more of salt (the tomatoes, chickpeas, and cashews were all the unsalted variety). Then, I let things sit for a few minutes before pouring it all into a tupperware for later.

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I actually think letting it sit in the fridge made it taste better, as the flavors had more time to sit together and get absorbed. I really liked how this turned out. It’s simple, healthy, and it’s totally vegetarian and vegan, so it’s a great meal that pretty much anyone can enjoy. I ate mine with a bit of brown rice, but it’s hearty enough to be eaten by itself, or with a bit of naan.

Simple Chickpea Curry (serves 2)
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vegetable or olive oil
about 1/4 yellow or white onion, chopped
1/2 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
1/4 cup unsalted cashews, chopped
about 1/3 cup canned diced tomatoes, no-salt-added
1 tsp curry powder
pinch of garlic salt, to taste
pinch of pepper, to taste
about 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

1. In a pan on medium heat, add oil and onion. Stir in curry powder, salt, and pepper and cook for about 3-5 minutes until the onion gets soft. Stir constantly.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk cornstarch with a bit of the broth, until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan, along with the rest of the vegetable broth. Whisk constantly and cook until thickened.

3. Stir in chickpeas, cashews, and tomato. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes. In the last minute, stir in the cilantro and add more salt if needed.

Serve over brown or jasmine rice for a complete meal. To add a creamy texture, you could also top this with about a tablespoon of nonfat plain Greek yogurt.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 261 calories; 58g carbs; 64g fat; 13g protein; 17g sugar; 552mg sodium (this is an approximation and is based off of the specific brands and ingredients I used)

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