An indian restaurant recently opened about 2 miles from where I live, and my taste buds have been begging me to visit it again and again. I cannot get enough of indian food. The flavors are so incredibly complex, and the meals so satisfying. And spicy. I love adding a kick to most dishes, but indian meals have the spice built in from the beginning. There’s layer upon layer of heat, and the home cook can play with the levels. Don’t want to melt your face off today? Just leave out the chili or use a milder pepper. Want even more spice? Just add a bit more cumin or turmeric. This Chickpea Spinach Stew with Lentils and Quinoa from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen is the perfect recipe to play with.
Richa Hingle, author of Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen and her wildly popular blog Vegan Richa has made indian food accessible to the home cook. Most of her recipes are quick to prepare, but they’re still packed with all the flavors of restaurant quality food. You don’t have to slave away over a stove for hours to have vegan indian food at home. I bought her cookbook the minute it came out and spent several weeks just reading it. Yes, I’m one of those people who read cookbooks like they’re novels. Don’t judge me. This Chickpea Spinach Stew with Lentils and Quinoa was the first recipe I tried. I was blown away. Not only did it get a rousing two thumbs up from my husband, I ate its leftovers twice after the initial meal and each time liked it even more! As with all good spiced dishes, the longer it sits the more the flavors meld.
You guys are in luck, because Richa has shared this recipe on her blog HERE. You don’t even have to buy the cookbook to try it out! But I recommend you do. The list of recipes I want to try from this book is so long – it’s basically the entire book. So you’ll be seeing quite a few more reviews from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen here before long.
I think the secret to this dish is the red lentils. Quinoa adds texture, the chickpeas bring a toothsome bite, and the savory aromatic broth imparts an out of this world flavor. But the soft sweetness of the red lentils weaves a background of creamy togetherness through the entire meal. Without the lentils, one part or another of the stew would be too strong. With them, it’s spicy perfection. This recipe also is full of greens, having several cups of spinach blended into the broth before cooking. I highly recommend serving this meal with naan (there’s a recipe for homemade naan in her cookbook) or some soft, fresh pita.
A sprinkling of chopped cashews right before serving adds the last crunchy touch. Then, NOM time.
Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers! This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.