Pumpkin, Chickpea & Spinach Curry
I’m back from our awesome 5 week Italy trip, boy did the time fly! After a slight (ok, major) hiccup at the start, I got the date of our flight out mixed up and had us arriving at the airport a day late….oops! Thankfully we were saved by the most wonderful man on the Emirates desk who got us rebooked and connected us straight through to Rome so we still arrived on the right day, just missing our Dubai stopover. We had sale fares, so technically we shouldn’t have been able to have them rebooked, and once you miss the first flight, they automatically cancel all 4 flights including the return trip, so he really was a life-saver…. literally, my husband looked like he was wanting to throttle me. Funnily, on the way into the airport I said “the next 23 hours on planes aren’t going to be fun, so can we please promise to be nice to each other, no matter how over it and grumpy we get” so when the lady at the counter asked us if we realised we were supposed to fly out yesterday…… I turned to him and said “you promised to be nice to me no matter what happened” while having a complete panic attack on the inside.
We got to travel so much of Italy and have numerous ‘pinch yourself’ moments – like walking out of the train station in Venice and seeing the bustling waterways, being in awe of the amazing detail and size of Michealangelo’s Statue of David in Florence or standing in the Pantheon in Rome with the sunlight streaming in through the roof, were just some of the unforgettable moments. Plus we got to see our good friends get married in a beautiful spot in Tuscany; and the best part was – getting to spend uninterrupted time with my hubby all to myself 🙂 We certainly made the most of every day and walked about 5-6 hours solid most days to take in as many sights as possible, which definitely came in handy with keeping my weight from creeping up. Managed to come back the same weight as I left amazingly, but fitting into smaller size clothes, so must have built up some muscle with all those stairs!
Have to say, trying to eat a gluten, lactose & egg free diet was close to impossible, I gave in and had gluten occasionally, something had to give. It left me feeling tired and a bit foggy headed, but doesn’t make me as sick as the other two do. I was loving the fresh seafood in the first week, a little too much, and my seafood allergy reared it’s head. We hired scooters and rode along the Amalfi Coast, which was absolutely amazing. Stopped for lunch in a small town and had a simple tuna salad and the next thing I felt my lips swelling up. Luckily I had plenty of anti-histamines on me and that settled it back down, just leaving me with a split lip, and a little shaken. So that was the end of my seafood for the trip. But the start of my love of scooters 🙂
I have a motorbike, but now I want a scooter as well. They are so much fun! I was a bit nervous about riding on the opposite side of the road than we drive in Australia, and on the extremely narrow & windy roads, and the seemingly lack of understanding of lanes…. but by the third bend I realised that as crazy as some of the drivers are (not generalising, but seriously, we saw some pretty hairy driving in Italy) they will just go around you if they want to go faster (or just stop in the middle of a one lane road to take a phone call and you have to go on the other side of the road to go around them), so I stopped stressing and just enjoyed the ride.
I never thought I would dream of healthy food. I was craving my overnight oats, green smoothies and fresh juices badly. I’ve been home a week and half and have dropped 3kg already, pretty stoked about that. It’s a great way to get back into it. My exercise plan that I wanted to put into place has had to take a bit of a pause, since I’ve been sick with tonsillitis the past week, but finally I’m almost over it. This weekend I plan to kick off the exercise regime – fingers crossed!
Some Healthy Facts
Pumpkins are a great weight control/reduction food, being low in calories (just 26 calls per 100g), but still really filling. It has no saturated fats or cholesterol and is rich is vitamins (A, C & E), minerals (copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus), anti-oxidants and fibre.
Chickpeas (garbanzo) are another great weight control / reduction tool because they are low GI, high in protein and filling. They are also high in insoluble & soluble dietary fibre, manganese & iron. They are great for heart health, lowering cholesterol and stabilising blood sugar levels.
Pumpkin, Chickpea & Spinach Curry (Printer Friendly Version)
serves 8 as a main with rice, etc
Suitable for – gluten, dairy/lactose, nut, soy & seafood free diets. Vegetarian/vegan friendly
- 3 tablespoons of your choice of ghee, coconut oil or preferred oil
- 1 small pumpkin, approx 2kg, skin and seeds removed, chopped into 2-3cm cubes
- 3 brown onions, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons mild curry powder
- 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground tumeric
- 10 cardamon pods
- 4 lemongrass stalks, cut in half and then hit with a meat mallet a couple of times to soften up
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons crushed ginger
- 2 tablespoons red chilli, crushed
- 500ml (2 cups) stock, I used chicken stock because I had some freshly made, but use vegetable stock if making vegetarian/vegan
- 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas (or called garbanzo beans)
- 1 x 400g can coconut cream
- 1 bunch spinach, thinly sliced (I used english spinach, because I had it in the fridge, could use baby spinach leaves too)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 limes, cut into wedges, to squeeze over
- Coriander & mint leaves to garnish
- Heat ghee, coconut oil or oil of choice on the stove, in a heavy based casserole pot on a medium heat. Add the dry spices and stir for approx 1 -2 minutes until aromatic, but don’t let them burn. The mustard seeds will pop, that’s what you want. Add the onion and the pumpkin and stir through to coat with spice mix, and then add the stock liquid and stir.
- Add the lemongrass, garlic, ginger and chilli and stir. Simmer over a medium heat with the lid on until the pumpkin is softened. Add the chickpeas and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the coconut cream and spinach and stir through until the spinach has wilted. Add the juice of one of the limes, and then season to taste. If you like a hotter curry, add more chilli to taste. Remove the lemongrass sticks before serving.
- Serve with lime wedge and topped with fresh coriander and mint leaves
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This looks so very good! And vegetarian too. I’m not veg but with winter coming I am starting to think about roasts stews curries etc and more veggie based dishes like yours are welcome. I know many recipes call for cardamom but I’ve never used it before . How does it work? Also, I’ve used lemongrass before but bit very successfully. Do you peel the outer layer off before using it?
Hi Grace 🙂
I’m the same, trying to eat more plant based meals instead of eating meat everyday. Cardamom is a little pod, I just bruise it a little in a pestle and mortar, or just a bang with the hilt of the knife and throw it in for some flavour. I love lemongrass and use it quite a lot. When it’s just for flavour and then being removed before eating, I just bruise it and throw it in. When finely dicing, I remove the out layer, and then just finely chop the white part. The flavour is divine! Good luck! Cheers, Chard
Thank you so much Chard! I love the flavour of lemongrass but hadn’t had much success in using it. I think I’ll try it again, and the cardamom too. Good luck with your striving for healthier meals!