Chana Masala (Spiced chickpeas with greens)

We planted spinach in our garden about two months ago and nothing much seemed to be happening for the longest time. We picked a few leaves here and there, but it was sparse. All that rain we’ve been having, maybe. But after a weekend away, we came home to find–sproing!–now the spinach is bolting (that’s when it starts to flower to make seeds)! Darn.

I decided to do what I could with the “stemmy” spinach and before work, picked a large amount. I took off most of the usable leaves, and ended up with a very large container of nice looking spinach. I looked through my favorite vegan cookbook (Isa Does It, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz) happened to see her recipe for Chana Masala and thought I could adapt it. Chana Masala is my favorite Indian dish, but it is not always served with spinach the way I like it best. Indeed Isa’s recipe did not include spinach or other greens, but being in full blown green season, I think this is an easy and delicious way to cook those CSA, garden, or farmer’s market greens!

Here is my version of the recipe:

Spice blend:

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional, and more or less to taste)

Blend spices in about 2 cups water

8-10 cups chopped spinach or other greens; cover with spicy water, and add a little more just to cover the greens if needed.

1 onion, chopped

5-6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced ginger

Put in a crock pot on low for about 8 hours. If you don’t have a crock pot, just simmer the greens for about a hour or so.

Once the greens are cooked down and soft, add:

2 cans chickpeas, drained

1 can tomato paste

1 handful of chopped cilantro (optional)

Chili or sriracha sauce, salt and pepper to taste (or take a look at Isa’s recipe and adapt as you like)

Serve over rice and enjoy!

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