Category Archives: Dinner at Home

Chana Masala

A relatively simple Indian dish for when you don’t have a lot of time to spend making dinner. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

4 cups cooked brown basmati rice
2 15 ounce cans of rinsed and drained chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 28 ounce can tomato puree
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegan margarine
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Sauté onions for 3 to 5 minutes or until translucent over medium heat. Add garlic and spices. Stir and cook 30 seconds stirring constantly.

Add tomato puree, vegetable broth, chickpeas, lemon juice, and margarine. Mix well. Cover and cook for at least 15 minutes stirring occasionally. You can also cook it a little longer to get better blending of flavors.

Serve over rice.

Pictured: Chana Masala (left) and Creamy Red Lentil Dal (right) with naan.


  • Use fresh tomatoes, instead of tomato puree (you’ll need to increase the cooking time to thicken).
  • Serve with naan, instead of (or in addition to) the rice.
  • Experiment with adding a few additional vegetables.
  • Can be easily made gluten-free and low-sodium

More information for Chana Masala recipe:

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Total time: 35 min

Creamy Red Lentil Dal

This is a creamy variation of a more traditional red lentil dal that is great comfort food on a cold evening. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

4 cups cooked brown basmati rice
1 cup red lentils
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cardamom
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
cayenne pepper or chopped hot peppers to taste

Pick through the lentils to make sure that there aren’t any lentil shaped stones that crept in during harvesting. Rinse the lentils in cold water and set aside in a strainer.

Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent to golden and soft. Add garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin. Sauté for about a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the lentils and remaining ingredients, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Serve over rice.

Pictured: Red Lentil Dal (center) with Chana Masala (upper left) and Indian Spiced Cauliflower (upper right)


  • Serve with naan instead of (or in addition to) the rice.
  • You can use an immersion blender to make this even creamier.
  • Can be easily made low-sodium and gluten-free.

More information for Creamy Red Lentil Dal recipe:

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 50 min
  • Total time: 60 min

Pasta with Fresh Veggies

This is a great summer meal when the fresh veggies are plentiful and the tomatoes are ripe and delicious. The only caveat is that this really isn’t a traditional “sauce”, but more of a vegetable topping for pasta, so you might want to encourage people add a little olive oil to taste at the table. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

1/2 pound cooked pasta (any variety)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
8 sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon wine
1 small sliced zucchini
1 sliced summer squash
1 chopped roma tomato
1 cup fresh spinach
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
salt, freshly ground black pepper or other spices to taste

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, mushrooms and wine. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until mushrooms start to soften.

Add zucchini and summer squash. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until vegetables have softened.

Add tomato, spinach, basil, salt and pepper. Add water, vegetable broth or a little more oil if it seems too dry. Cook for at least 3 to 4 minutes, but you can cook a little longer if needed.


  • Add sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, pine nuts and / or artichoke hearts.
  • Experiment with other vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower and bell pepper.
  • Make a smoky version with grilled zucchini and summer squash, but reduce the sautéing step to 1 minute, since they are already cooked
  • Add 1 8 ounce can tomato paste for more tomato flavor.
  • Can be easily made low-sodium.
  • Make a gluten-free version by serving over another grain.

More information for Pasta with Fresh Veggies recipe:

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Cook time: 15 min
  • Total time: 30 min

Pasta Marinara

This is great served with garlic bread or bruchetta. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1 pound pasta (cooked according to package directions)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cups chopped vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini)
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add vegetables. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add a small amount of water of vegetable broth if they get too dry.

Add crushed tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over pasta.


  • Experiment with different combinations of vegetables.
  • Used grilled vegetables and skip the step where you sauté the vegetables.
  • A can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes instead of regular crushed tomatoes is a great substitution.
  • Throw in a handful of sundried tomatoes.
  • Use fresh roma tomatoes or a can of low salt tomatoes for the low-sodium version.
  • Serve over gluten-free pasta or another grain for a gluten-free meal.

More information for Pasta Marinara recipe:

  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 30 min
  • Total time: 50 min

Green Beans and Tofu in a Tangy Garlic Sauce

Green Beans and Tofu in Tangy Garlic SauceThis is a simple Chinese dinner inspired by a meal at Fujin, our local Portland Hawthorne neighborhood Chinese restaurant. Serves 4 people.


2 cups cooked brown rice
1 recipe Soy Marinated Tofu sliced into cubes
4 cups green beans
2 cups sliced carrots
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Sauce Ingredients

1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup cold water
6 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 teaspoon dark mushroom soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a glass measuring cup or small mixing bowl. Stir to combine and set aside. Note that the cornstarch will tend to settle in the bottom, so you’ll want to stir again before you add to the stir-fry.

Heat oil over high heat in a wok or large pan. Add green beans and carrots with about half of the sauce. Stir-fry for 4 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, but still crisp. Add the remaining sauce and tofu. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Serve over rice.


  • Experiment with other vegetables. Onions or red bell pepper would be good additions in place of or in addition to the carrots.
  • Can be easily made gluten-free.

More information for Green Beans and Tofu in a Tangy Garlic Sauce recipe:

  • Prep time: 30 min
  • Cook time: 10 min
  • Total time: 40 min