January Recipe Challenge: South America


I go through travel bug stages.  Last year, I was itching to go to India, then I went.  This year I’m itching to go to China and Peru, I’ve yet to go.  Not entirely sure why I want to go to those places but they seem awesome!  I really would love to do the Inca trail.

So tonight for the January recipe challenge, I made Peruvian Chickpea Stew.  Sorry for all the soups/stews, I’m a huge fan of soup/stew, and when I look for recipes I look for things that I would like.   Peruvian cuisine is such an interesting mix of many different cultures.  I find it really intriguing.

I first tried Peruvian Chickpeas at Super Pollo.  If you live in the Washington DC metropolitan area, please please please go to Super Pollo in Arlington, VA for some wonderful pollo a la brasa (yes I’m promoting meat eating because this stuff is amazing).

Tonight I put my chef planning kit to work!  I decided I needed some company for dinner, so I had a mini dinner party.  I only invited a few people so we could all fit at my tiny table (plus sadly I can’t afford to feed the 20 people I wanted to invite).

Peruvian Chickpea Stew

inspired by Recipezaar’s Peruvian Chickpea Stew

1lb dry garbanzo beans/chickpeas
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions or 3 small onions, diced
3 garlic gloves, minced
1 can whole canned tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 tsp coriander powder
3 tsp cumin powder
3 tsp allspice
2 small yellow squashes
8oz (approx) of vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

First,  cook your chickpeas until tender, a little under cooked is fine as they will simmer for a while later. You can probably use canned garbanzo beans too, but honestly I don’t think those taste as good.  You’d be amazed at how much better cooked dried beans taste over canned beans.

Then sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil on pretty high heat until slightly browned and translucent.

Then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, spices, squash, and broth.  Stir and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Serve with quinoa for a high protein very healthy meal!

I really liked this recipe.  It’s very healthy but hearty and tasty!  The spices are an interesting flavor combination.  I definitely recommend this! It wasn’t the same as the ones I had at Super Pollo but still delicious and probably a million times healthier!

To round out my mini dinner party, I made an Arugula and Pear salad using this recipe from Eating Well.  Honestly this salad was ridiculously good.  I tweeked the dressing a bit adding a bit more dijon mustard and a little less olive oil.  I also only used arugula, no other lettuce.  It was delicious!  I highly recommend this salad if you’re looking for a wonderful side dish!

For dessert, I made Fitnessista‘s Almond Butter Chocolate Chip cookies!  They were a hit!  No one knew they were vegan!    I made a few tweeks as well.  Instead of maple syrup, I used agave nectar and omitted the molasses since I didn’t have any and didn’t want to spend all that money for a teaspoon of molasses.

I just realized, actually this whole meal was vegan!  Very tasty and very balanced. Here’s my plate:

Salad side above and chickpea/quinoa side below.

A note about calories:

I decided to not count my calories for this meal.  I enjoyed it and made sure not to over eat too much, I filled half my plate with salad, 1/4 with chickpea stew and the other 1/4 with quinoa.  I also had 2 cookies, no big deal.  I splurged a bit, but I’m okay with that.  By the end of the meal, I wasn’t stuffed I was good and satisfied.  Yes, I probably could have eaten more but I didn’t feel the need to.  Life is about balance.  I want my weight loss to be manageable and sustainable, not painful.  One meal is not going to derail my efforts, I tracked the rest of the day (see my sparkpage) and tomorrow will be a normal day again and all will be well in the world.

I like to live by the 80/20 rule: Eat well 80 percent of the time and indulge 20 percent of the time.  Good rule in my opinion. What do you think?

Anyway, I’m off to watch more Mad Men!  Have a great night!

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10 thoughts on “January Recipe Challenge: South America

  1. Karin says:

    This is such a wonderful post! The dishes look amazing! Need to recrate that Stew! I live by the 80/20 rule as well but sometimes it becomes more of a 60/40 rule, hehe. I’m ok with that – it’s all about balance.
    On an other note: Is there some telepathy going on between us? 😉 My friend Simone and I want to go on holidays together this year and decided to go trekking. And yesterday we thought that South America would be so much fun. I have wanted to go and see the Matchu Picchu for ages!!! My boyfriend’s brother went there last year and the photos were so stunning.

  2. Anna says:

    Mmmmm…looks like a beautiful dinner! That pear salad is just gorgeous!

    And i totaly agree with you– it is ALL about balance. Life would suck if you tried to eat perfectly at every meal…sometimes, you need a mini-splurge!

  3. The Linz says:

    Yum! I am loving the pics of your meals! 🙂 ALso – Peru is amazing. I got the opportunity to go there a few years back and Macchu Picchu is such an amazing sacred place. Definitely a great site to see! I have the travel bug too, but mine is for europe.

  4. Jessica@Healthy Exposures says:

    Oh my GOODNESS, Karla. This entire entry has my mouth watering – what beautiful & delicious looking food and photographs you have! Granted, I just got home from work and am waiting [im]patiently for dinner, but nonetheless, everything looks fantastic.
    And guess what my newest concoction is?! An almond butter “quick cookie”! I’ll be including it in my blog entry tonight, I’m sure – I bet you’d love it though. I’m going to investigate your cookie recipe more after dinner 🙂

  5. Color Girl Five says:

    I hate that I have to scroll all the way to the top of the post to comment once I’m done reading.

    Anyway, I bet your roommate loves you and all the food you make for her!

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