Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Coconut-Peanut Chickpeas & Vegetables

“Coconut-Peanut Chickpeas & Vegetables” (page 259) has the combinations of ingredients and flavors I find immensely appealing. Chickpeas are one of my favorite legumes, and the blending of peanut butter, coconut milk, garlic and tomatoes (plus throw in a little heat – a lot, in my case) is just irresistible to my palate. This is a very quick and easy dish to put together, as long as you have cooked chickpeas on hand. Sautéed onion, bell pepper and garlic are combined with a touch of curry, and added to the chickpeas. Coconut milk and peanut butter provide a smooth richness, but as I always do, I substituted soymilk flavored with ½ teaspoon of coconut extract for the coconut milk to omit the highly saturated fat that comes with it. I have come to prefer this to coconut milk, which seems overly thick and rich to me anymore. You still get the wonderful flavor of coconut, and I never feel like anything is missing.

Fast facts

14 ounces of full fat canned coconut milk = 700 calories, 70 grams of fat (60 of those are saturated fat)

14 ounces of full fat soy milk = 141 calories, 8 grams of fat (1 gram of saturated fat)

At the very last minute, fresh baby spinach is added to the skillet and cooked just long enough to wilt. A lovely, colorful, and delicious addition, really making this a one pot meal if you so desire. I ended up serving it over rice for a heartier presentation, and to collect the delicious sauce. Crushed peanuts for the garnish are the crowning touch.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” checklist:
  • Omit the oil when sautéing the vegetables; used a nonstick skillet with a little water, sherry, or broth instead.
  • Substitute the coconut milk with 14 ounces of soymilk flavored with ½ teaspoon coconut extract.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

White Bean & Artichoke Spread

Another selection from the Appetizers and Snacks chapter, “White Bean & Artichoke Spread” (page 18) is very easy to make oil free and healthy without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. This is a simple yet satisfying blend of artichoke hearts, white beans, parsley, and lemon juice with just a pinch of cayenne to liven things up. The recipe is not written to be oil free. It calls for marinated artichoke hearts, and a tablespoon of olive oil. I opted for canned artichoke hearts packed in water because I couldn’t find them frozen in my local market (I think frozen artichoke hearts are superior to canned), and I simply omitted the olive oil altogether. The blended spread is topped with a small sprinkle of chopped kalamata olives (which I forgot to do before taking this picture), and is wonderful on crackers, toast, sourdough bread, or as a dip for raw veggies.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” checklist:
  • Omit the olive oil all together.
  • Use frozen artichoke hearts, or canned, packed in water instead of marinated.