This is my soul food. Tumeric, cumin, and cardamom spiced chickpeas and veggies, with a pinch of cinnamon, over cauliflower coconut rice and topped off with a cool and tangy lime-mint sauce. The colors, the smells, the TASTE! It is heavenly. And unlike fried samosas, which I love with all my heart, this dish is low in calories, extremely heart healthy, packed with nutritious goodness, and fantastically filling.
Last Christmas, I finally did a little research on the top-12, must-have Indian spices, bought them in bulk, and packaged them up as gifts and, of course, kept a set for myself. Out of all the recipes that I've tried, this is my favorite! It is so hearty and nourishing. Sometimes, I go all out and put the stuffing in wonton wrappers and bake them to make a lighter version of samosas, but most of the time I can't be bothered.
- Promotes heart health: This dish is packed with fiber and low in cholesterol, thanks to the peas, chickpeas, and spinach! Diets high in fiber are shown to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Plus it evens our blood sugar levels, keeps you full longer, and helps your digestive system move things along.
- Prevents cancer/detoxifies the body: Like broccoli, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetables that releases a sulfur-containing phytochemical in our body called glucosinolates. These little guys detoxify the body by activating enzymes in the liver that help disarm and eliminate carcinogens before they can cause celluar damange. To get the most out of the cauliflower, avoid boiling or microwaving it.
- Helps build and maintain muscles: This dish is filled with multiple sources of plant-based, low-cholesterol protein. One cup of chickpeas has 15 grams of protein and one cup of frozen peas has nearly as much with 12 grams. Cashews, while higher in fat, also contain a good amount of protein, at 5 grams per protein 28 grams (not to mention magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese)!
- Is rich in tons of key vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A (spinach, peas, carrots, onions, spinach): Important for vision, the immune system, and cell growth (think healthy skin, nails, and hair).
- Vitamin B6 (spinach, chickpeas, cauliflower, peas): Needed for maintaining healthy brain and nerve function, helps metabolize fats and proteins, and vital for synthesizing antibodies that fight disease.
- Vitamin C (spinach, cauliflower, peas): Boosts the immune system and vital for cell growth and repair.
- Vitamin K (peas and onions): Helps us store calcium in our bones.
- Iron (spinach, chickpeas, cashews): Helps blood cells transport oxygen to the brain and body.
- Zinc (nuts, peas, chickpeas): Key for cell growth and repair, boosts immune system, and vital for vision and fertility.
- Folate (spinach, peas, chickpeas, cauliflower): Prevents neural tube defects and reduces levels of homocysteine, a naturally occurring amino acid that can damage blood vessels and lead to heart disease, stroke, dementia, and peripheral vascular disease.
- Ginger: There is reason you reach for ginger when you're sick. This little plant is antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. Plus it can soothe an upset stomach, improve circulation, and thin the blood. Numerous studies on humans have also shown ginger to have a positive impact on pain and fever.
- Mustard seeds: So I was surprised to find out that this spice is actually part of the brassica family, alongside superstars like broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts. Like its brothers and sisters, mustard seeds are packed with cancer-fighting substances like indoles, isothiocyanates, and sulforaphane.
- Turmeric: Curcuminoids, which are what gives tumeric its bright yellow color that threatens to stain everything, are also what gives it superpowers! It is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the body and helps alleviate arthritis and joint pain. It also has antitumor properties, reducing the size and number of tumors in animals that have them. It improves heart health by reducing cholesterol and is known to boost liver health.
- Cardamom: Like ginger, it helps with digestion, but for different reasons. It contains a compound called carminative, which reduces cramps by helping the body expel gas from the stomach and intestines. It also supports liver health by stimulating bile flow and fat metabolism.
- Cayenne pepper: It helps increase circulation, break up congestion/mucus, and stimulate digestion by increasing the body's production of saliva, gastric juices, and digestive enzymes.