Meatless Monday: Chickpea Tagine

Originally hailing from North Africa, a tagine is a slow-cooked stew made with meat, vegetables, or legumes and seasoned with aromatic ingredients like olives, apricots, ginger, dates, nuts, herbs, and lemons. Most use a variety of spices, including cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, saffron, and pepper. This recipe is vegetarian, but because of its long simmering time and intense spice blend, it’s plenty hearty for carnivores. Chickpeas are a complete protein (with 8 grams per half cup), but you can bump the protein up even more by serving the dish over barley, farro, or other whole grains.

Olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, mashed
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 carrots, chopped into coins
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 – 2 cups vegetable stock (more or less depending on thickness)
2-inch piece of ginger, chopped
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cinnamon
10 dried apricots, halved
Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 lemon (zest and juice)
Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion; saute until soft. Add garlic and half of ginger.

Add chickpeas, carrots, tomatoes, vegetable stock, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and apricot halves.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes (add more vegetable stock if it gets too thick). Add lemon zest, rest of garlic, and juice.

Simmer 5 more minutes, or longer if softer texture is desired.Serve over a bed of kale (or your favorite green) and garnish with parsley.

Why Should You Eat This?

Going vegetarian just once a week can have major health payoffs. According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, eliminating meat from your diet just one day of the week can reduce your saturated fat intake by 15%, which is significant enough to deter the development of “lifestyle diseases” like heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Limiting meat intake can also fend off obesity and increase longevity. But going meatless just once a week has a huge environmental impact, as well: according to the Environmental Defense, if every American substituted a meat-based meal for a plant-based one each week, the carbon dioxide emission savings would be equivalent to taking half a million cars off the road for one day.

Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein, making them a great pick for regulating blood sugar, increasing satiety, and decreasing total caloric intake. If you’re a snacker and processed foods are your weakness, add this legume to your diet: a study published in the journal Appetite found that participants who supplemented their diet with chickpeas decreased their consumption of high-calorie, low-fiber snack foods.

The turmeric and chickpeas in this meal contribute an advantageous blend of antioxidants to the dish: curcumin, found in turmeric, and quercetin, found in chickpeas (as well as onions and garlic) have been found to reduce the size and quantity of precancerous lesions in the digestive tract. Chickpeas also contain the phytonutrients kaempferol, myricetin, ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid as well as molybdenum, manganese, and iron.


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