Chickpea Kale Bowl with Thai Almond Sauce

What’s one food that your significant other just can’t get on board with? For my SO it was beans. If a black bean landed in a salsa at a Mexican restaurant, he would painstakingly pick each one out! It’s not that he’s one of those, “a meal isn’t a meal if it’s missing meat” kind of guys, he just genuinely didn’t appreciate the taste or texture of most beans.

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I, for one, am a huge fan of these protein-packed plants of wonder. I take the opportunity to add lentils to my lunch salads, enjoy a bowl of black bean soup in the winter, and even take chickpeas to the next level by making a sweet “hummus” or edible cookie dough (check out my last post for the recipe!). Plant-based protein, such as what we obtain from beans and legumes, contains almost all the essential amino acids and is a sustainable choice for the environment as they require less water to produce and actually put important nutrients back into the soil. Plus, I love how easy they are to prepare and how nutty and delicious they taste!

We’ve been having a lot of discussions in our house recently about the value of a more plant-based diet and how eating less meat can have a beneficial effect on our long term health. And to be honest, we’ve been looking to keep dinners on the lighter side after some heavier meat eating over vacation and fall fun. Luckily, Danny’s attention has been caught by more recipes that skip the animal component and he recently found one from Cooking Light that inspired this week’s dinner.

We swapped the lentils for chickpeas, per Danny’s request, and I encourage you to feel free to choose your own favorite plant protein!

Bean Appetito!

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Chickpea Kale Bowl with Thai Almond Sauce- serves 2

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. water, divided

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, divided

  • 2 cups matchstick-cut carrots

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (from dried or canned)

  • 1 (7-oz.) bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped

  • 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 garlic clove, grated

  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed

  • 2 green onions (scallions) chopped small, whites and light green parts

Directions

  1. Stir together vinegar, 1/2 cup water, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium. Place carrots in a glass bowl. Add vinegar mixture; let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  2. Stir together almond butter, lemon juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic in a bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon water. If necessary, whisk in remaining water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

  3. Drain carrots. Place 1 cup chickpeas in each bowl. Top evenly with pickled carrots and avocado. Drizzle with almond sauce and chopped green onions. You may not need to use all the sauce, but the extra stays great in the fridge for a few days.