No Fuss Nutrition: Clara’s Chana Masala

I don’t identify or label myself as a “vegetarian” or “vegan”, however I do enjoy a good meatless meal and have been trying to incorporate more of them into my daily diet as a way to encourage a greater vegetable intake. Sometimes I just get tired of eating chicken 90% of the week, too šŸ˜‰

I’ve never been a huge fan of either Asian or Indian cuisine. Not because I think it tastes bad, but rather because I usually don’t understand what the meals are on the menu, ha! I recently had Thai food for the first time in December (at Basil in Charleston) which I LOVED, so I’m starting to explore more uncharted territory and tastes.

Okay. So, you know that feeling when you hear about something for the first time, and all of a sudden it pops up EVERYWHERE? That’s how my encounter with Chana Masala occurred. I first saw a recipe for it in a magazine, then saw it on Instagram I kid you not, at least seven times in a week. I took it as a sign that it was something I needed to make, as soon as possible. Finally jumping on the train last week, I tweaked the recipes a bit to make it a bit more simplified, and I thought it turned out fairly tasty! I honestly shouldn’t even upload the picture of it…the lighting in our house is absolutely terrible after the sun goes down, and it makes my food look less appealing. #firstworldfoodieprobs

Screen shot 2015-02-14 at 9.20.31 PM

Clara’s Chana Masala
servings: 2

1 acorn squash
1 cup no salt added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
dash of nutmeg
dash of sea salt
1/2 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, with juices
5 stalks asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces
handful of kale
lemon, juiced

1) Preheated oven to 425*F. Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place cut side down on aluminum-foil covered baking sheet. Allow to bake for 30 minutes.
2) Rinse chickpeas from can, set aside.
3) In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add yellow onion and garlic, allowing to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
4) Add in turmeric, coriander, garlic powder, nutmeg and sea salt and cook for 2 more minutes.
5) Add in 1 cup of chickpeas, 1/2 can diced tomatoes, asparagus and kale. Allow mixture to come to a simmer, and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes.
6) Remove acorn squash from oven, and serve chana masala inside acorn squash, like a bowl. Sprinkle with juice of half a lemon and enjoy!

Also note, the typical chana masala dish is made with something called “garam masala”, which is a special blend of Indian-esque spicesĀ andĀ includes cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin seed, coriander seed, cardamom, black peppercorns, cloves, dried red chile, nutmeg and ground mace. I didn’t have any on hand so just got creative with what I had, but McCormick’s has a bottle of it all mixed up that you can find in the spice section of your grocery store!

There ya have it, super simple! Leftovers tasted even better, too.

ciao down,


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