Puerto Rican Vegan: Braised Coconut Spinach and Chickpeas with Lemon

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Braised Coconut Spinach and Chickpeas with Lemon

I love that I live in a home where I can experiment with new recipes to my heart's content and my family is along for the ride. This week I was in the mood for some hearty vegetables all by themselves, without the rice, pasta, or bread that usually accompanies them. Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, that would be unheard of. A meal was not complete without rice...and meat.  I had some sweet potatoes laying around that needed to be gobbled up, so I hit the internet!

Searching around on Pinterest for vegetable recipes involving sweet potatoes, I found one that looked like it could fit the bill. New recipes are always hit or miss, but this one hit the ball out of the ballpark!  It was so filling and delicious.  Everyone from my husband down to my 3yo loved it.  This will definitely be making many appearances in my home.

The only difference I made to the original recipe was that I used a bag of the Cruciferous Crunch Collection mix from Trader Joe's instead of the spinach.  It made the whole dish heartier and suitable as a dinner dish all on its own.  

Braised Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas with Lemon

2 teaspoons vegan butter (I use Earth Balance. You can substitute oil of choice)
1 small onion (I used red)
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons juice)
1 dried hot red pepper or dash of red pepper flakes (I used a jalepeno)
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 pound baby spinach (I used a bag of Cruciferous Crunch Collection from Trader Joe's) 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon ground ginger

To Serve: Whole roasted sweet potatoes

Heat the butter or oil in a large, deep Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is beginning to brown. Add the garlic, ginger, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest, and hot pepper, if using. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chickpeas and cook over high heat for a few minutes, or until the chickpeas are beginning to turn golden and they are coated with the onion and garlic mixture. Toss in the greens of choice, one handful at a time. This will take about 5 minutes; stir in a handful or two and wait for it to wilt down and make room in the pot before adding the next handful. When all the greens have been added, pour in the coconut milk, salt, ground ginger, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat and cook for 10 minutes, or until the chickpeas are warmed through. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice, if necessary. Serve hot over roasted sweet potatoes.