This recipe was supposed to be the Indian dish Chana Masala, made with lovely fragrant spices and chickpeas. Only I had already started and realised I had no chickpeas! Don’t you hate it when that happens…. Instead of throwing everything out and eating toast, I decided to substitute a can of red kidney beans and the good news is it turned out very tasty. Apologies for the photo. It does look better in real life and tastes much better than it looks. Winter mornings before work are not good times for taking photos.
This dish is great for a quick, easy dinner. It’s also really cheap to make – a can of beans + a can of tomatoes and an onion will set you back less than $5 – I had all the other ingredients at home, so it was very easy on the pocket. It’s also low in calories and high in protein and fibre to help keep you feeling fuller for longer.
While paleo peeps aren’t a fan of beans, I am! Paleo diets avoid them because of their so called “antinutrients” but these claims are unfounded. Lots of traditional diets contain legumes and suffer no ill consequences. They’re high in soluble fibre, and a source of folate, magnesium, potassium, and protein. Plus they’re super cheap. Kidney beans are also a source of Vitamin C and the B vitamin niacin.
Recipe for Chana Masala with beans:
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 thimble sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed.
1 can of chopped tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped coriander
1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or feel free to use chickpeas!)
5 large spinach leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sour cream or Greek yoghurt, to serve
lemon wedge, to serve
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a fry pan and heat over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently until it is caramalised. This will take a wee while, but gives the dish a yummy flavour. The more colour, the more flavour. Don’t burn though – black colour = bad colour! We’re wanting a caramalised brown colour.
Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic, cumin, ground coriander, ginger, garam masala and the turmeric. Add a little more oil if it looks a bit dry. Stir the spices for around 30 seconds until fragrant. Add 1/4 cup of water and stir the onion and spice mix. Cook until all water has evaporated. Add the can of tomatoes.
Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and the coriander, stirring on occasion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the beans and the chopped spinach, stirring well. Add another 1/4 cup of water, and cook over a low heat, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes.
Serve with the Greek yoghurt or sour cream stirred through and a squeeze of lemon, and a side of steamed vegetables.
Makes about 2 servings for dinner.
Recipe adapted from Orangette