It’s January 2, and that means I’ve made my vegetarian-month pledge for the third year in a row. My husband and I go meat-free in January to cleanse from the holidays and generally start the year on a lighter note. I also enjoy this time because it forces me to cook outside my comfort zone. Last year I made these cute little Breakfast-For-Dinner Egg Cups, for example, but not before going out with a bang with our Porter Road Butcher Last Supper.
This year, in addition to pledging to eat vegetarian for one full month (with the occasional piece of fish), I promise to:
- Experiment with one new grain (farro, spelt, millet, etc.)
- Do something Asian, and I don’t mean stir-fry
- Sign up for a winter CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share
For my first meal, I whipped up a take on Lablabi, a Tunisian stew that “captures the sunny flavors of the southern Mediterranean,” as Organic Gardening magazine puts it.
I didn’t have harissa, a spicy red-pepper paste, so I improvised. My husband loved it – he (jokingly) said it wasn’t the watery, mushy goulag he thought it was going to be. Wow – what a guy!
Tunisian Chickpea Stew
Total Time: 30
The stew base is very simple - it's the toppings that make the dish so flavorful!
3 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 slices day old bread, torn into small pieces
sun-dried tomatoes jarred in oil or dried (I used dried), roughly chopped
extra virgin olive oil
dollop of plain greek yogurt
Sririacha Thai Chili Sauce
Add chickpeas to a medium saucepan with 4 cans of water (from chickpea cans), garlic and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add cumin, coriander and red pepper and let simmer 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, tear bread and place in shallow soup bowls. Chop items for toppings. When soup is ready, ladle soup and broth over bread and top with toppings. Garnish with the first four ingredients, then drizzle with oil and squeeze a lime wedge over each. Serve with a dollop of yogurt with a squirt of Sriracha on top.
Recipe adapted from Organic Gardening, Vol. 60:1