Meat free Monday: Spinach and Chickpea Curry

Spinach and Chickpea curry is a way to impress your flatmates. This recipe makes 4 and can be served with rice and/or roti

  • 2 T oil
  • 2 Medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, crushed or 1T garlic paste
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tins of crushed tomatoes in juice
  • 2 tins of chickpeas drained
  • 200g Spinach leaves shredded
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a pan and add the onions and garlic and cook on a low heat until the onions are soft. Add the curry powder and heat to release the flavours of the spices (about 1 minute) Add tomatoes and chickpeas and heat until simmering. Add spinach leaves and cook for a further 5 minutes until spinach leaves are well wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. It is important to remember curry does not have to be hot – often we sacrifice nice flavours for extra heat. If your curry is a bit too hot for your liking serving it with cucumber chopped into small cubes and natural yogurt as a cooling side dish.

Courgette and Lentil One Dish Meal

  • 1 C brown rice
  • 1 C french/puy/brown lentils – well rinsed

Cook together in a pot using an absorption method (i.e.3 C water, bring to boil, cover with tight fitting lid, reduce to a low heat and cook for 40 minutes. Switch off and let stand for 10 minutes)

  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 325g tomato tinned tomato OR 500g fresh tomatoes chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil and then saute the onion and garlic until soft then add all other ingredients and cook until vegetables are tender.

Layer into a casserole dish (rice and lentils, vegetables, rice and lentils, ending with a vegetable layer).

  • Breadcrumbs
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese substitute

Sprinkle a layer of breadcrumbs, if you wish add a couple of tablespoons of this homemade vegan Parmesan cheese substitute to your crumbs for extra flavor. Bake at 180 degrees until bubbling at the edges

Corn, Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

This salad is suitable either as a main or a side. This contains seasonal vegetables as of the date of publication. Corn could be replaced with courgette or lightly cooked pumpkin.

  • ½ C quinoa cooked as per directions to give you 1 C cooked quinoa
  • 2 TBSP of canola oil
  • 1 C of corn kernels (with fresh corn, the amount off 2 corn cobs)
  • 1 C chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 red or yellow capsicum chopped into small pieces
  • 2 spring onions finely sliced
  • ½ C fresh parsley or coriander
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP rice or white vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Prepare the quinoa and drain in a sieve. Allow to cool.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add corn and well drained chickpeas and cook for about 5 minutes stirring regularly until they start to brown.

Transfer into a bowl. Add quinoa, pepper, onion and parsley or coriander

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix. Drizzle over salad just before serving.

If you don’t have quinoa, you can use brown rice, but always follow food safe practices when cooling and storing grain foods.

How do you get 30g fibre in your diet daily?

There has been a lot of media coverage about fibre in the diet. A high fibre diet reduces the risk of heart disease. We know that 90% of people are failing to get enough fibre.  So how do you improve your dietary fibre intake? How do you do it on a low income?

Fibre occurs in plant-based foods. The relevant Eating statements for adult New Zealanders are:

Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods every day including:

  •              plenty of vegetables and fruit
  •              grain foods, mostly whole grain and those naturally high in fibre
  •            some legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and other seafood, eggs, poultry (e.g., chicken) and/or red meat with the fat removed.

Choose and/or prepare foods and drinks:

  •    that are mostly ‘whole’ and less processed

I demonstrate how I would address each eating statement below. In the lists I only show the fibre containing foods. There would be other things added to the meals such as milk, cheese, yogurt, meat and cooking oils etc

Plenty of vegetables and fruit

I used the “what’s fresh” website to select seasonal fruit and vegetables based on the day of writing the blog. Eating seasonally can be a challenge if you have strong likes and dislikes.  It is important to encourage ongoing “tries” of vegetables to encourage a wide variety. Frozen vegetables are acceptable

Item Amount (as eaten) Fibre
Green Beans 80g 2.7
Corn on the cob – 1 medium 90g 2.4
Lettuce 50g 1.0
Tomato – medium 50g 1.7
Cucumber – 4 slices with skin 50g 1.5
Strawberries – 4 large 80g 1.2
Orange – 1 medium 90g 3.1
  TOTAL 13.6g

In this instance I imagined that the salad would go with lunch, and the cooked vegetables would go with dinner.

grain foods, mostly whole grain and those naturally high in fibre

The most common complaint I get is the cost of wholegrain bread. For the purpose of this exercise I am going to use a $1 loaf of bread. This will illustrate cheap bread can still help you meet your fibre intake. I am suggesting you use a sandwich slice and choose the wheatmeal bread

Item Amount (as eaten) Fibre
3 slices wheatmeal bread ($1 range) 94g 4.2g
Oats 45g 5.8g
Pasta (white own brand) 200g (100g dried) 4.0g
  TOTAL 14g

some legumes*, nuts, seeds, fish and other seafood, eggs, poultry (e.g., chicken) and/or red meat with the fat removed.

Item Amount (as eaten) Fibre
Peanut butter 20g 1.2g
Almonds 15g 1.3
Lentils 15g 1.6g
  TOTAL 4.5g
  • 20g peanut butter – see below
  • 30g of almonds consumed every second day
  • If you had two vegetarian meals each week e you would meet this goal. Each meal contains at least 50g (120g cooked) of lentils or other beans. If you are not able to sneak vegetarian past your family use lentils mixed in with your mince.

Choose and/or prepare foods and drinks: that are mostly ‘whole’ and less processed

 One of the biggest ways to improve fibre intake is have snacks that are mostly whole and less processed.

Snacks arranged here are not the usual processed cakes, biscuits and crackers.

  •               1 slice bread with 20g peanut butter daily (afternoon tea)
  •               1 piece of fruit as snacks (supper time)
  •               30g almonds every second day (morning tea)

This is a fairly basic diet.  Not everyone is going to stick to this all the time. Following the 80% rule (make good choices 80% if the time) then you can get a good fibre intake

If you would like to know more about fibre in the diet and have a diet makeover to increase your fibre intake, then make an appointment to see me.

Crustless Quiche – Curry in a Hurry

  • 3 TBSP oil (canola, olive or rice bran)
  • 300g cooked potatoes (ideally from the previous day) cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 large courgette grated
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • 3 spring onions chopped finely or one small onion
  • 1 can of chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp of your usual curry powder
  • ¼ C self-raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ C trim milk

Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Put quiche pan in oven with oil to come to temperature. Mix all vegetables and chickpeas together. Add flour and curry powder and mix to distribute throughout the vegetable mix. Whisk eggs with trim milk. Mix through other ingredients – this will be quite sticky.
Carefully remove hot quiche pan from oven, swirl to coat bottom with oil.  Put quiche mix into pan, it will sizzle. You can compress it very slightly. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown and the egg is cooked.

Serving tips:

  • Garnish with coriander (if you like it)
  • Serve hot or cold with salad.
  • You may enjoy serving with a Raita of finely chopped cucumber and natural yogurt.