Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry from the American Institute for Cancer Research

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The American Institute for Cancer Research is devoted to providing the public with evidence-based information to help them make the best lifestyle choices to lower their risk of developing many types of cancer. One way they do this is through diet and nutrition by whipping up recipes that are both delicious and nutritious in their test kitchen. This week is cauliflower and chickpea curry.

The AICR writes:

Combine roasted cauliflower with chickpeas and coconut milk, season with curry powder and you have a delightful way to eat this cancer-preventive crucifer.

Roasting cauliflower causes its natural sugars to caramelize, which brings out a more delicate nutty flavor and keeps it more formed, not mushy and water logged as often happens when steamed or boiled. The combination of roasted cauliflower and tomatoes with sautéed onions and garlic, wilted baby spinach and chickpeas produces a wonderful garden flavor. The chickpeas contribute their own nutty flavor and a crunchy texture while providing health-promoting fiber and plant-based protein. Using reduced-fat coconut milk gives this curry dish a creamy quality without the extra calories and fat found in regular coconut milk.

Curry connotes dishes and sauces made with a mixture of pungent spices, usually turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, ginger, garlic and chilies. Common in India and South Asian countries, curry dishes vary from country to country, even within country regions. Curry colors range from yellow, red, green to brown and the amount of spices used, as few as five to more than twenty, also varies. Curry powder is a mixture of spices commonly found in curries and is said to be an invention of the British who wanted to replicate Indian cuisine they enjoyed during the British Raj. Most curry powders include turmeric, which gives curries their yellow color. Curcumin is the compound in turmeric that gives it its golden hue and is showing promise as an anti-cancer and anti-inflammation phytochemical.

This curry dish is perfect as a side dish or ideal as a light vegetarian lunch or dinner when served over a bed of brown rice. Using a whole head of cauliflower makes for a lot of curry, so enjoy with a large group or as leftovers either reheated or served cold.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1½ pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans no salt added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups baby spinach

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large mixing bowl, toss cauliflower and tomatoes with 1 tablespoon oil and arrange in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until florets are browned in spots and tomatoes are soft, about 25 minutes.

In medium pot, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat and sauté onion, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and curry powder and sauté an additional 3-4 minutes.

Add chickpeas, coconut milk and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer 8 minutes.
Gently stir cauliflower and tomatoes into pot and cook 6 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook 1-2 minutes, until spinach wilts. Serve hot or let cool and refrigerate to serve chilled later.

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 224 calories, 9 g total fat, (3 g saturated fat), 30 g carbohydrate, 10 g protein, 9 g dietary fiber, 67 mg sodium.

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