The term ‘healthy eating’ means many different things to so many people. Low fat, low carb, low GI, low calorie, gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, grain free, the list goes on. For me, unless you have a dietary intolerance, or allergy, healthy eating is all about doing more of the good things, and less of the bad, in a word it’s ‘moderation’.
I don’t believe that healthy eating is the preserve of adults alone. I have two small boys, aged 2 and 4 who eat the same food as me, and we eat at the same time. Meals and mealtimes are shared in our house, to be savoured and enjoyed.
My boys have been enjoying this recipe for a while. When they were very little I used to mash it down and they loved it. Now they have it straight out of the pan and it doesn’t ‘touch the sides’ making me a very happy, worry free mummy.
Here is what you will need to serve two adults and two small children, but I often double it up. It’s great for lunch the next day or even mixed with rice as a cold ‘salad’. It freezes too.
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tin full fat coconut milk (I freeze the other half for next time)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 good tsp curry powder, or 1/2 tsp cumin and turmeric
5/6 blocks frozen spinach
A word about the ingredients, I use frozen spinach for convenience but fresh works just as well, just make sure you cram in as much as you can as it will disappear as soon as it has wilted down. For the garlic, ginger and chilli, if you don’t use it often, or are short of time, Sainsburys do them frozen into teaspoon sized cubes for a time and cost effective alternative. I use a korma powder for my little ones’ sensitive palates but you could use something more fiery and increase the chilli too. More generally, buy the best quality ingredients you can afford.
1. Heat some oil (I use coconut oil) in a pan over a medium heat and add the onion. A couple of minutes later add the garlic, ginger and chilli, stirring occasionally until soft.
2. Add the chickpeas and 1/3rd tin of water and simmer for a couple of minutes.
3. Add the curry powder, chopped tomatoes, and coconut milk, bring to the boil and then simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 mins or until the sauce has reduced to thick, tomatoey, creamy gorgeousness.
4. Add the spinach and continue to simmer until the spinach blocks have broken down. They will release extra moisture, but if it gets too thick you can add a little water here.
5. Serve with brown basmati rice, and a dollop of natural yoghurt if you like.
On a little ‘healthy eating technical point’ I serve it with brown rice as it’s the only rice we eat, but in this case the brown rice provides the amino acids missing from chickpeas to provide a complete protein source; this wouldn’t be the case with white rice. I also love that it is a meat free meal, which is good for our digestion, good for our pockets and good for the environment too. Oh and it has lots of fibre, and good fats, and of course spinach…need I say more?!
As well as the ‘feel good factor’ of knowing that my family have eaten a healthy meal it always leaves me feeling fully satisfied and somehow ‘lighter’ for having eaten a clean, wholesome meal.
Give it a try, ‘vegetarian’ food has never been so tasty!