Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sweet Chickpeas

Give me just a couple more sentences in praise of Trader Joe’s. Back in the day, one of my favorite convenience foods was TJ’s frozen channa masala. I liked it because it was spicy but also very sweet. I know many people make channa masala at home, but a quick web search for recipes was very, very fruitless. One recipe included ketchup and a sideways joke about authenticity. Although I appreciate the joke, I didn’t give that recipe a second glance.

I abandoned the search for simple authenticity and decided to make a sweet chickpea dish on my own without worrying about whether I can call it channa masala. I made a the Urban Vegan recipe aptly called Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Spinach, and I would have put a sweet twist on it but it already includes a teaspoon of agave!

006Chickpeas, spinach, tomato, and onion over brown basmati rice

I used cherry tomatoes in addition to crushed tomatoes, and between the sweetness of the tomatoes and agave, this was a really good dish. I feel like I’ve graduated to a stage of cooking where I’m able to seek out a recipe I want to make and adapt it slightly to suit my taste. I still need the guidance, but I can distinguish good from bad advice.

I’ve only cooked from that cookbook once before and, well, kind of laid it aside as other things caught my eye. Plus, I will admit to judging a book by its cover and I get totally distracted by the Whole Foods plastic bag dispenser front and center, even blocking the author’s arm. I also wonder if anyone recognizes the woman in back coming in to work. However, this tasty dish will have me looking a little more carefully at the recipes and trying some more soon.

And you know what, I can’t even really remember what that first recipe was that didn’t turn out well for me. Who says you can’t change first impressions?


  1. Way to be bold on your own! :) I'm always changing recipes, but it's not for cool, valid reasons like yours. I am either just being lazy or careless in being out of ingredients. I do wish we had a Trader Joe's for variety purposes.

  2. LOL, I totally see what you mean about the plastic bag dispenser. I wonder if the girl coming in to work gets royalties for being on the cover.

    I think a bit of agave in this sounds really good. Love the pic, very pretty.

  3. beautiful dish! i love when tomatoes are cooked like that and added in. looks like it makes a very fancy dinner : ]

  4. Beautiful looking meal and I LOVE your plate.

  5. You go girl. It looks and sounds delish! I need guidance too, and I am slowly learning how to make changes that I think might be good. Sometimes they don't turn out so hot but others are perfect. :o)

    BTW....I love your plate!

  6. Much needed inspiration! Now I know what I'll be making within the next couple days!

  7. i love ketchup, i'm one of those "i put ketchup on my ketchup" people, but i'd never put ketchup in channa masala. that's just nuttyboos. i don't have the urban vegan and to be honest, it's cause i didn't like the cover either. i'm kinda ashamed to admit that, but it's true. at least you got the cookbook and gave it another go. i need to follow your lead, and i want to say that T from Vegan Soul Power loves the urban vegan recipes and even recommends a few. her chickpea dish looks rock'n - and might i add that i love your plate - it's so colorful and cute!