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Creamy, Hearty and (Sort of) Virtuous

Category: Fashion & Style,Lifestyle

I am not the kind of person who likes to put labels on things, because doing so often makes me feel restricted. Tell me something is gluten-free, and I immediately assume I am missing out on a better version made with gluten. Call it vegetarian, and I will convince myself that whatever it is would have been better with sausage in it.

I know it’s semantics, but for me it’s easier to avoid the perceived restrictiveness of diets by just cooking and eating what my mind wants and body craves, free of labels.

Generally, the two are in alignment: After a night of too much wine, my mind wants pizza, and my body most definitely agrees. After yoga, my brain is thinking a salad is a pretty good idea, and my stomach is, too. Where things get tricky is around the holiday season, when my mind wants something comforting, nourishing, warm and satisfying. But my body, screaming for a green vegetable, simply cannot abide another chicken potpie or personal pan of lasagna.

Do a cleanse? Eat vegan? Neither would suit my profession or lifestyle (or, frankly, my personality). But a hearty, creamy, heavily spiced stew that just happens to be free of meat or dairy, and full of protein and leafy greens? Sign me up.

In this stew, chickpeas are crisped in a not-insignificant amount of olive oil with loads of fresh ginger and turmeric, then simmered in a bath of coconut milk (full-fat, please) until they’re falling apart to the point of creaminess. Next, add as many dark, leafy greens as you can fit in the pot, cooking just long enough to get them bright and tender. If you’re feeling especially indulgent, a dollop of tangy yogurt and a tangle of fresh herbs are excellent additions.

This magical stew manages to pull double duty as something I want to curl up next to and something that feels like a bit of a cleanse. (I said “a bit.”)

But I would never label this a vegetarian stew, lest we omnivores feel as if we are missing out on something. Just know that it is (and if you omit the optional yogurt, vegan, too) and that, I promise, we are not.

Recipe: Spiced Chickpea Stew With Coconut and Turmeric

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