Spiced Chickpeas & Veggies with Brown Basmati Rice & Wilted Spinach

img_3213As often happens, this came about as my alternative to a meal my husband was having which had potatoes and tomato sauce in (his favourite items to cook with). I avoid nightshade foods* because they are reputed to increase inflammation in people who have auto-immune conditions like psoriasis or arthritis.

It was the day Storm Doris hit and Hb had been out in it all afternoon, delivering our local free mag, while clinging on to fences as he went along in order to stay upright! He was chilled to the bone when he returned home and so decided to have a hot bath and then some vegetable curry out of the freezer.

I devised this version for myself and we shared the rice and steamed green vegetables. It is quick and easy to make.

The spices were heated in a little coconut oil, the veggies were chopped up finely, added to the spices and sweated for a few minutes, then a little vegetable stock was added and it was all cooked for about 20 minutes before adding the chickpeas. Meanwhile, the soaked and rinsed brown basmati rice was cooking alongside and just before serving we put some sugar snap peas in the steamer, after a couple of minutes 2 handfuls of washed spinach followed for just long enough to wilt slightly. This shouldn’t be overdone as it will carry on wilting on the plate.

Spinach is one of those vegetables that is better lightly cooked than raw (as are broccoli, tomatoes and carrots) in terms of making the nutrients more bioavailable, in this case the iron content.

The chickpeas are also a good source of iron and calcium. 

Plenty of B vitamins in this meal, too, along with protein, potassium, antioxidants, dietary fibre and so much more!

Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic where possible.


Enough for 2 servings


1 Tsp Coconut Oil for cooking

A little Fresh Ginger, chopped finely

A little Fresh Turmeric, chopped finely

1 Tsp Cumin Seeds

Large Handful Chopped Carrot

Large Handful Chopped Broccoli

2 Chestnut Mushrooms, chopped

Leek, chopped

Small Chioggia Beetroot, chopped

A little Vegetable Stock, below the level of the veggies in the pan

Squeeze of Tomato Purée

Black Pepper

Twist of Pink Himalayan Salt

Lightly Toasted Pine Kernels for garnish

Add the ingredients to the hot but not smoking oil in the above order, stir about then reduce the heat, put on the lid and sweat for about 10 minutes. Stir once or twice.

Meanwhile, cook 1 Cup soaked and rinsed brown Basmati rice in 1 1/2 Cups Boiling Water on a low heat with the lid on until just done and the water absorbed, with the grains still separate, about 20 minutes.

img_3207Add the remainder of the ingredients (except the pine kernels) to the sauce, replace the lid and cook until just done but not mushy.

Blend the sauce a little with a stick blender to thicken it a bit but so that you can still see some shape and colour.

Stir in the chickpeas and replace the lid to warm through.


When ready to serve, add some sugar snap peas to a steamer for a couple of minutes, then the spinach for a minute.

Serve in a large, hot bowl, sprinkle with lightly toasted pine kernels.


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Spicy Chickpea & Coriander Veggie Burgers (vegan & gluten-free)

img_3236We don’t like to throw away our almond milk pulp and didn’t really want another batch of bliss balls, despite the impending visit of the little grandchildren at the weekend (there were other treats awaiting them), so we made burgers as there were none left in the freezer. (You can substitute the almond pulp, see below)

These were the best of our burger experiments in terms of holding together easily, they were no problem at all to form into patties.

These burgers are full of essential nutrients, including protein, iron, omega fats, b vitamins, calcium, antioxidants.

Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic where possible.

Makes about 6-8, depending on size.

All measurements are very approximate.


1 Cup Chickpeas, drained & rinsed, left to dry out a little

1 Chia Egg (1 Tbsp Chia Seeds soaked in 3 Tbsps Water to form a gel)

1 Cup Almond Milk Pulp (or use a substitute, eg ground almond or other nuts, ground sunflower seeds, you may need to adjust the liquid required).

1 Very Small Onion, finely chopped

Crushed Garlic,  if liked

3/4 Cup Coarsely Grated Carrot

1/4 Cup Chopped Sweet Apricot Kernels (or Almonds or other nuts/seeds)

1/2 Tsp Vegetable Bouillon Powder

1/2 – 1 Tsp Ground Ginger

1/2 Tsp Ground Turmeric

1 Tsp Cumin Seeds

Good Splash of Tamari

Squeeze of Tomato Purée

1/2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted

Chopped Fresh Coriander

Black Pepper

Twist of Pink Himalayan Salt

Extra coconut oil for cooking.


Process all ingredients until it will come together when you press it.

img_3225Using small handfuls, gently press and shape into rounds in the palm of your hands and then flatten on a board.

Refrigerate to firm them up.

(We had sun streaming through the kitchen window, trying to make amends I think after Storm Doris had blown herself out!)

Fry in a little coconut oil or bake in the oven on an oiled tray.


We served them with a mixed salad, tamari-flavoured toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and I had mushrooms and sweetcorn whilst my husband had jacket potato and cheese.


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Crunchy & Spicy Roasted Chickpea Nibbles

imageChickpeas are so good for you on so many levels: protein, calcium, iron, fibre, so many vitamins and minerals. We are used to putting them in casseroles or stews or making hummus with them, either as they are or sprouted.

But have you ever had them roasted? They make a great savoury or sweet snack that is healthy and satisfying.

We tried both oil-roasted and dry-roasted. We also tried seasoning before cooking and after.

Here’s the result.


Set Fan Oven at 200C.

Take a can of chickpeas, strain and rinse well.

Dry between 2 clean tea towels, discard any skins that come off, don’t bother about the others.

Divide them between 2 baking tins or trays.

For the oil-roasted, melt a tablespoon of coconut oil and pour over half the chickpeas, which have been sprinkled with Pink Himalayan Salt. Turn them so they are all covered in oil.

For the dry-roasted (right), place them in a baking tin as they are.

Place trays in oven.

Now the timing is a bit weird.

All the recipes I looked at suggested 40-45 minutes.

The oiled ones were crisp and cooked in 20 minutes (turned halfway through) and about to get burned.

The dry-roasted ones were ready 5 minutes later!

My best advice is don’t go away and leave them. Turn or shake a couple of times and they’re ready when deep golden and crispy. Some people like them crisp on the outside with a little bite to the centre, others like them crunchy all the way through.

The oiled ones were left as they were, no extra seasoning.

 The dry-roasted ones were tipped into the dish I had melted the coconut oil in which was empty but still had a little smear on the surface. Salt and paprika were sprinkled into the dish and the dry-roasted chickpeas tipped in and mixed around.

Which did we prefer?


My husband couldn’t tell the difference and I thought the oil-cooked ones were a little oily but I liked the crunchiness.

Here they are side by side for comparison: can you tell which is which?


The ones on the left are oil-roasted.

They are really filling, I couldn’t eat even a quarter of them, and make a great afternoon snack or sprinkles for salads or stir-fries. You can add chilli powder if you want them a little more spicy.

Some people like them sweet, tossed in maple syrup and cinnamon for instance.  I prefer savoury.

Hopefully, they’ll give you enough energy to take to those ‘Wide Open Spaces’. (If reading this via email, click onto the blog to see the Dixie Chicks video and be inspired!)

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Too Hot To Cook? Simple & Spicy Summer Chickpea Salad

imageOn an overwhelmingly hot day, we had no will or desire for a cooked or complicated dinner. It was also midweek, so this what we cobbled together.

Chickpeas are good to have in the cupboard, so easy to use and a good source of protein, fibre, calcium and iron.

Cucumber is always cooling and hydrating and nicely offsets the hotter flavours of the spring onions, chilli flakes and black pepper.


In a bowl, empty half a tin of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed.

Add about 4″ of ridge cucumber, chopped

2 Spears of Asparagus, chopped

Half a Stick of Celery, chopped

2 Spring Onions, sliced

 Some Chilli Flakes to taste or Fresh Chilli, chopped

Chopped Coriander

Black Pepper to taste

Mix together and add Tamari and Olive Oil Dressing

Serve on a bed of babyleaf salad on a large leaf of Romaine Lettuce.


(Meg, Rufus, this one’s for you 😉)

Ps If you’re reading this via email, you’ll need to head to the blog to watch the video.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Improvised Thai Vegetable Green Curry with Chickpeas

This recipe is Vegan and Gluten-Free.


This came about when we had nothing planned for dinner – nothing new there then! – and found just over half a tin of chickpeas in the fridge that needed using, along with about a quarter of a cauliflower and the same of broccoli.

I don’t often have curry. My husband likes them quite strong and puts tomatoes in which I don’t eat, but this time my tastes prevailed and so was born a mild, creamy curry made with my favourite veg.

Chickpeas – also known as garbanzo beans and gram – are a good source of protein, calcium, iron and fibre.

Most of the ingredients were organic, but not the Green Curry Paste – however, it was free from additives, refined sugar and gluten and was suitable for vegans, so passed muster for this curry.

All measurements are very approximate and timings, well, basically I’m guessing!

The curry was all cooked in a large frying pan, with the vegetables being stir-fried first. Everything was done within 40 minutes or so.

Serves 3 – on the basis that there were 2 of us and enough left over for a third if we didn’t have seconds.

We had it with brown Basmati rice – I know, clash of cultures, but that’s what we like and that’s all we had in.

Get everything prepared beforehand: rice measured, soaked for an hour and rinsed, water boiled for the rice, all veg washed and chopped into small pieces, cans opened.


Coconut oil for frying

1 large Onion, chopped

2 cloves of Garlic, crushed

large handful each of Cauliflower & Broccoli already chopped into small pieces

3/4 Cup Sweetcorn

3-4 Mushrooms, Sliced

1/2 to 2/3 can of Chickpeas

2/3 can Coconut Milk

1-2 Tbsps Gang Keow Wan Green Curry Paste

A Splash or two of Tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)

1 Dsp Coconut Palm Sugar*

Squeeze of Lime

Handful of fresh chopped Coriander

Optional: 1 chopped tomato added near the end, we also thought plain, unsalted peanuts or cashews would go well if liked, but we didn’t have any.


(Have the rice going when the onion has been stir-frying for a couple of minutes, have a hot dish ready to put it in in case it’s ready first).

Melt the oil until hot enough for the onion to sizzle but not smoking.

Stir-fry onion for a few minutes until shiny, add cauliflower, broccoli and crushed garlic, stir-fry for another few minutes, then add mushrooms and continue to cook until it all begins to give a little.

Add some of the coconut milk, the green curry paste and the tamari and stir, cooking until the paste is dissolved and well mixed.

Add the rest of the milk, chickpeas, sweetcorn, sugar and continue cooking for a few minutes on a low heat with a lid on, until the cauliflower and broccoli are cooked but with a little bite.

Add the nuts if used.

Before serving, add a squeeze of lime juice and some fresh chopped coriander, with more coriander for garnish (I forgot it for the photos!).

Serve on hot plates.


Hope I didn’t miss anything out!


Copyright: Chris McGowan