Hot & Sour Chickpeas ♥

Hot & Sour Chickpeas
Vegan Done REAL, it's this easy.
Quick and Easy and Vegan Too: An easy vegan main dish, no processed food required, just the kind of recipe that inspired Vegan Done Real. Weight Watchers, 3 or 5 points.

Vegan Done Real
Some times you have to act. What follows is the reason I've conceived Vegan Done Real, a collection of 52 whole-food vegan recipes from myself and nine other vegan and omnivore bloggers. I hope you'll share it with your friends, real life and Facebook, because we just cannot afford to let the commercial food product companies co-opt the concept of a plant-based diet all in the guise of 'healthy'. As my friend Karen, one of the contributors, wrote on Twitter: "Oprah went processed vegan; these bloggers are keeping it real: 52 recipes." [Note to Vegetarians]

The Background
I'm a glass half full kind of gal. When something looks off, looks plain wrong, I might feel frustrated or even angry for a moment, but then, well, I shrug it off, I let it go. I choose to look at the situation with kindness and generosity, to accept that I might not share, let alone understand, someone else's motivations.

But it's been more than a month now and I'm still steamed at the lost opportunity when Oprah and her staff ate a vegan diet for an entire week. (Wow, quite a commitment, eh? A whole week. But okay, thinking with kindness and generosity. One meal counts. A week is a big deal.) So that was good. And of course, Oprah being Oprah, there was a show devoted to the experience. Michael Pollan was on.

And then it just went bad, really bad. The program recommended how to eat a vegan diet, maybe not for every day, maybe just occasionally or weekly for Meatless Monday, say. There wasn't a vegetable in sight, not one vegetable. Instead, it was one vegan commercial food product after another, mostly specific brand names (which makes me wonder whether this was actually paid advertising or product placement) but also products like 'vegan cookies' and 'vegan cheese'. LIterally, and yes, I'm using the word in the 'literal sense', I felt sick to my stomach.

Ever since, even though I'm an omnivore, not a vegetarian, not a vegan, I'm paying special attention to whole-food vegan recipes. Real food. Real vegetables, real plant foods, real grains and beans. No faux meat. No faux cheese. No vegan brand names. Real food not highly processed commercial food.

As an aside, I'm also sickened by the commercial food companies trying to ride the Oprah wave (Oprah being Oprah, it's likely an Oprah tsunami). A PR pitch arrived recently as they do dozens of times a day. Most hit the spam box instantly, this one got through. I'll skip the name to protect the guilty but the e-mail listed a half dozen recipes. Vegan Cupcakes. Vegan Brownies. Vegan Cookies. (Again. What's with the vegan cookies?) Vegan Smoothies. Vegan Bacon. And nothing to eat. NOTHING.

It's just not right. It is SUCH a lost opportunity. Oprah can do better. Oprah MUST do better.

Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". That's how I've come to think of this ongoing resistance to vegan processed food. For still more recipes from other bloggers, new recipes added nearly every day, I use a vegan_done_real tag on Delicious and keep a Vegan Done Real board on Pinterest.

And So, What About Today's Recipe?
Today's recipe comes from my friend Cindy via our friend Maxine Stone, author of the guidebook Missouri's Wild Mushrooms who got it from her sister. It starts with a bevy of spices, then builds volume with canned chickpeas and tomatoes, then is finished with a splash of lemon juice. Served with brown rice, it is hearty and filling and definitely a keeper, one to return to again and again.

It's a classic 'concept recipe' too, we love those, yes?! Maxine told Cindy, "I have been known to add cubed roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash, red pepper, mustard seeds, mushrooms, etc. Just use your imagination…."

ST LOUIS & LOCAL Who else is fascinated by the Top 100 Favorite St. Louis Dishes from the RFT's food critic Ian Froeb? Some times haute, more often humble, it's a fascinating list. Last week Ian added the Chana Masala from Raj's Rasio to the list. I went looking for a recipe and – hey! – it's a lot like the Hot & Sour Chickpeas. Is this Chana Masala? Maybe Nupur from One Hot Stove will chime in?


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4

By accident, I used twice the spices Cindy and Maxine specify. But when making it again, I'd repeat the same 'mistake', I really loved the assertiveness of the spices. For something gentler, not quite so spice forward, use half the spices listed below.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder
Sprinkle of red cayenne, to taste

15 ounces canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
15 ounces canned diced tomatoes
Salt & pepper to taste
Juice of half a lemon

To serve, a lemon wedge for each serving

In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium high until shimmery. Add the onions and garlic as they're prepped and stir to coat with fat, cook until golden, stirring occasionally. Add the ginger and spices, let cook a minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer slowly for 10 - 30 minutes.

Serve over brown rice, sprinkle with a little lemon juice.

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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2011

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Check out Anupy SIngla's "The Indian Slow Cooker" for AWESOME Indian recipes also!! Have been blogging through many of the recipes, you can make nearly every one of them vegan. Dried beans means zero prep and costs pennies. Recipes are Punjab and super healthy and yummy. It smells like an Indian lady has been cooking all day in the kitchen when you walk in the door at night!!

  2. Vegan -- Oprah -- when to set aside being a glass-half-full girl... bravo! Bravo!! BRAVO!!!

  3. This is almost the same recipe for channa masala. Can't wait to try this version. Totally agree on boosting spices. (And it's always better a day or two later)...

  4. Sounds good to this chickpea fan!

  5. i hear Martha Stewart plans to do a vegan show too. Wonder what perspective she'll take?

  6. Alanna- yes, chana masala it is! The recipe looks easy and fabulous. There are a million variations of chana masala but this is certainly one of them.

    I am SO with you on the real food- we are lucky to have an abundance of vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains and all they push is processed stuff? Sad sad.

  7. Alanna, I just wanted to thank you for the delicous recipe. I made it yesterday (I used a can of mild Rotel tomatoes and didn't add the cayenne pepper) and even my 12-year old son (who decided to go vegetarian on me last week)liked it.

  8. Maybe take it to the next level of real and cook dried chickpeas instead of using canned? They only take about an hour or so, and you end up with a bunch to freeze and still spend less than the cost of a can.

  9. Oprah's staff went Vegan for 21 days...not a week. I posted this once before, but you didn't show it?

  10. Anonymous, I didn't see a comment earlier, somehow technology failed us? (I just checked the comments sent straight to spam by Blogger, it's not there either.) But I promise, nothing nefarious! :-) Thanks for the correction.

  11. Anonymous, But hmmm, I just checked again, I was quite sure it was a week's time and this page from confirms the week's timeframe. Still, thank you for chiming in, you are always welcome, anonymous or otherwise.

  12. THANK YOU for this website. I am an omnivore but am always on the lookout for good recipes that focus on vegetables. And like you I HATE to use anything processed. About the only thing in my kitchen that is commercially fabricated is cheese, yogurt, bread, and cereal (Post Cereal's Shredded Wheat and Bran). I was not dismayed when Gourmet magazine went under since most of the recipes seemed only semi-homemade. I constantly had to substitute my own made-from-scratch ingredients. Give me REAL FOOD! Now I have a go-to site for everything vegetable! Thank you!!!!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna