I’m back on the wagon...the vegetarian wagon that is! I got a little lazy, busy and my head was so full of what I had to get done that I didn’t have time to consider what I was filling my fridge or pantry with and too often I would just grab what I had and cook. It was healthy but not always meat free.
A couple of decades ago my father was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He hadn’t been feeling too crash hot for a few weeks when he noticed things were not right. He was scheduled for surgery immediately. It really is a big blur for me because at the same time he was being operated on, I was giving birth to my third daughter.
Let’s just say I am not the nurse type of gal.
When I was pregnant with our first daughter and I took the obligatory hospital tour the prenatal class insist you take, I was beside myself with fear. You see, I’d never been admitted to a hospital before; it was going to be my first time ever (except when I was born) being a patient in a hospital and quite frankly, all I knew about hospitals was that people were very sick and some died. I think what unnerved me about hospitals was the sadness that filled those buildings. It was too much for me.
Even just a few years ago while waitressing in a restaurant, I served a customer who had just finished a round of radiation and it was evident by the ‘burn’ marks on her neck she was being treated for cancer. I could hardly speak to her without my voice shaking… my heart went out to her!
Anyway, back to why I have chosen to be mostly vegetarian.
I needed to take note of the past so that it didn't become my future!
My father was diagnosed with bowel cancer, my grandfather (maternal) died of bowel cancer and other relatives on both sides have succumbed to this deadly disease.
One of the biggest issues with bowel cancer is red meat and a low fibre diet - you know us Greeks, we love our lamb! But I knew I needed to take note of the past so that it didn’t become my future!
You may be tempted to think a vegetarian diet is boring or tasteless but I assure you it is far from that. There are so many dishes you can choose from using all kinds of vegetables, legumes and fruits. I even challenged myself one year and did vegan eating for 12 months – now that was a challenge but I was able to rise to the occasion and I was very creative in my cooking! It’s doable friends!
The Mediterranean diet is filled with vegetarian recipes. In fact, the Mediterranean cuisine is primarily a plant-based diet with a little meat on the side.
And then there is the Indian cuisine - another favourite cuisine of mine. When we visited Little India in Singapore I recognised the Greek influence in this culture. In fact, I remember looking at the faces of some of the older men and seeing similar features to my dad. It took me by surprise as I had never connected it before but Alexander the Great did have a big impact on this country. Whatever the reason, I love watching all the Bollywood movies on my flights overseas and I love eating Indian food!
One of my favourite recipes I discovered while doing volunteer work in Fiji was the Chana Aloo Curry (Chickpea & Potato Curry). It is full of flavour and when served on a bed of rice .. oolala .. it is heavenly!
So if you are looking for recipes with less meat and more vegetables, try this recipe…it’s easy to make and delicious to eat!
Chana Aloo Curry (Chickpea & Potato Curry)
2 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 cans (400g) chickpeas rinsedwith 1 cup of liquid reserved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
4cm ginger, grated
2 small red chilli, finely sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
300ml tomato passata
1 cup vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
1. Heat oil in medium pan over low heat. Add leek, garlic, ginger and chilli, fry until soft. Stir through the spices and fry for 1 minute.
2. Add tomato passata, stock, salt and pepper, chickpeas, reserved liquid and bring to boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir through lemon juice, scattering coriander on top.