We've hit another chilly month with the hail, snow, and cold snap this week in BC! Although we've been enjoying this sunny weather, it takes a long time to warm up inside after a morning dog walk. So, it's time to raid the spice cabinet and find a comforting meal for lunch or dinner. Look no further. Here is a simple stovetop vegetarian recipe just for you!
Saag Chickpea and Cauliflower
Time: 35 minutes Servings: two Cost per serving: $6.01*
One 540ml can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup of plain yogurt
Two lemon slices
One head of cauliflower cut up in florets
2 tablespoon of ghee
1/4 cup of red onion, sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
227g of raw spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon garam masala (see notes for alternative)
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
Can't find garam masala spice mixture? If you have a variety of spices in your cabinet, you can make the blend yourself! You will need equal parts of these spices to make up this blend (more or less): Cumin, coriander, black pepper, ginger, cassia (cinnamon), yellow chili, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, mace, and caraway.
In a sauté pan, warm up the pan to medium heat. Add in the ghee. Once melted, stir in garam masala, cayenne pepper, garlic, turmeric, and onion.
Once the onion becomes transparent, lower the heat, and add the chopped spinach.
Squeeze in the juice from the lemon slices, then stir in the yogurt.
Toss in the cauliflower and chickpeas. Coat the cauliflower and chickpeas in the saag, cover the pan with a lid, and allow the cauliflower to steam cook.
When the cauliflower is at a desired texture, turn off the heat, and dish up!
From the Cupboard: Garlic cloves, onion, turmeric powder, and cayenne pepper.
From the Fridge: Spinach, yogurt, and lemon.
From the Store: Garam masala spice blend, ghee, can of chickpeas, and cauliflower.
The therapeutic benefits of spices:
Herbs and spices not only help liven up a meal, but they have fantastic benefits for the body and the mind! Even in small amounts, they are capable of supporting daily functions. To name a few, they help reduce inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, and stimulate appetite.
A great example is the garam masala blend in this recipe. Let's break it down!
Cumin: Antioxidant and carminative. Reduces inflammation and reduces gas.
Cardamom: Carminative and aromatic. Reduces gas and stimulates digestion.
Black pepper: Stimulant. Increases blood circulation and enhances the activity of anti-inflammatory herbs (for example, turmeric).
Ginger: Stimulant and anti-inflammatory. Increases blood circulation and reduces pain in the body.
Cassia (Cinnamon): Antioxidant and stabilizes blood sugar. Reduces free radical damage in the body (anti-aging properties) and supports the body's ability to maintain energy expenditures.
Yellow chili: Stimulant to support blood circulation.
Cloves: Antioxidant and aromatic. Reduces free radical damage and stimulates digestive enzymes through the olfactory (sense of smell).
Fenugreek: Aromatic and lactate. Stimulates digestive enzyme production and increases breast milk production in women.
Mace: Aromatic and Carminative. Stimulates digestive enzyme production and reduces gas and bloating.
Caraway: Aromatic and Carminative. Stimulates digestive enzyme production and reduces gas and bloating.
If you choose to use the optional cayenne pepper in this recipe, you will be happy to hear that it has one of the highest stimulation properties of all the spices! Cayenne is fantastic because it increases blood circulation to help move out toxins and free radicals out of the body. So one can say it can be helpful for daily detoxification!
Turmeric is also a fantastic antioxidant that contains curcumin and curcuminoids. They support circulation and reduce inflammation, which has increased activation when combined with black pepper. Another example of how spices support our body's daily needs as we navigate this toxic world.
How do you spice up your recipes? Do you have any tried and true combinations that level up a meal?
Until next time, stay well!