Magazine article Sunset

Your Weeknight: Game Plan: These Flavorful, Make-Ahead Vegetarian Recipes Are Your Path to Healthy-Eating Success

Magazine article Sunset

Your Weeknight: Game Plan: These Flavorful, Make-Ahead Vegetarian Recipes Are Your Path to Healthy-Eating Success

Article excerpt

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We all know by now that eating more vegetables is good for us and for the planet. And there's never been a more delicious time to do it: Big flavors from the Middle East and Asia, combined with new choices of produce and grains, have transformed vegetarian cooking.

We've brought these flavors into five easy, big-batch vegetarian recipes. Cook them on a weekend and they'll last at least a week in the refrigerator. Or, freeze them (for up to three months) as a gift to your future hungry self or family. Then, when you're ready for dinner, combine a couple or customize them with store-bought condiments. For minimal work, that's a lot of healthy eating.

WEEKEND PLAN COOK BIG BATCHES OF ...

NO. 1 CHICKPEAS

HERBED CHICKPEAS

MAKES ABOUT 5 CUPS / 2 HOURS

Cooked dried chickpeas have a firmer
texture and better flavor than canned, so
it's worth the time to make a lot. Choose
plump-looking dried beans--they'll cook
faster than more shriveled ones. Use these
chickpeas in soups, salads, and pastas--anyplace
you'd use canned chickpeas.

2 cups dried chickpeas
2 bay leaves
4 or 5 large sprigs fresh thyme or
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
About 1 tsp. fine sea salt

1. Rinse chickpeas and discard any grit or
debris. Soak overnight in water to cover
to reduce cooking time (depending on
age of beans, this can shorten the time by
an hour). If you do, drain chickpeas
before proceeding. Put in a large pot with
bay leaves and thyme and add enough
water to cover by 1 in.

2. Bring to a boil over high heat, covered,
and let boil 5 minutes, partially covered.
Reduce heat to low, cover fully, and
simmer until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours,
adding more hot water as needed to keep
chickpeas covered by about 1 in. When
tender, stir in salt. If not serving right
away, let cool in cooking liquid (you'll
need some of it for Saffron Tomato Chickpeas
or Sumac Hummus, both at right).

PER 1/2-CUP SERVING 129 Cal., 14%
(18 Cal.) from fat;
7.2 g protein; 2 g fat (0 g sat.);
22 g carbo (6.5 g fiber);
160 mg sodium; 0 mg chol. GF/LC/LS/VG

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VARIATION

SUMAC HUMMUS

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS / 10 MINUTES

Just before serving, swirl in another 72 tsp.
sumac, for a little hit of freshness. * Drain
2 cups Herbed Chickpeas, reserving 72 cup
liquid and discarding bay leaves, and put in
a food processor. Add 1/4 cup each chickpea
liquid and water, 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive
oil, 2 tbsp. tahini, 1 tsp. sumac, 1 tsp. fine
sea salt, 2 tbsp. lime juice, and 1 chopped
garlic clove and whirl until smooth, scraping
sides of bowl periodically, about 2 minutes.
Add more chickpea liquid if you like
your hummus looser and creamier.

PER TBSP. 34 Cal., 53% (18 Cal.) from fat;
1.1 g protein; 2.1 g fat (0.3 g sat.);
3.1 g carbo (0.9 g fiber); 68 mg
sodium; 0 mg chol. GF/LC/LS/VG

VARIATION

SAFFRON TOMATO CHICKPEAS

MAKES 6 CUPS / 1 HOUR

Drain 1 batch Herbed Chickpeas, reserving
liquid, and put chickpeas back in pot with
3 cups liquid (a surprising amount of liquid
will get absorbed as the chickpeas cool).
Grind 1/2 tsp. saffron threads to a coarse
powder in a spice grinder; set aside. Heat

2 tbsp. vegetable oil in a medium frying
pan over medium-high heat, add 72 cup
diced onion and cook, stirring often, until
softened and beginning to brown, 3 to
5 minutes. Stir in 1 tsp. each ground cumin
and ground coriander and sizzle, stirring,
30 seconds. Stir in 3 minced garlic cloves,
reserved saffron, and 1 tsp. fine sea salt,
then pour into chickpeas. Add 1 1/2 cups
canned crushed tomatoes to chickpeas,
stir, and simmer, covered, 10 minutes to
meld flavors.

PER 1/2-CUP SERVING 142 Cal., 25% (36 Cal.) from fat;
6.7 g protein; 4.2 g fat (0.3 g sat.); 21 g carbo
(6.2 g fiber); 3.3 mg sodium; 0 mg chol. GF/LC/VG

NO. 2 BROWN RICE

BROWN BASMATI COCONUT RICE

MAKES ABOUT 6 CUPS / 1 HOUR

Like all types of brown rice, each grain of
brown basmati retains its nutritious bran
and germ. … 
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