We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat” and yesterday my post focused on a recent article about how, more than ever, food defines social class in America more than the clothes you wear or the car you drive. Basically, the food that is available and affordable to the vast majority of Americans is processed foods and not organic, sustainable, fresh fruits and vegetables. We hope to change that, but it’s going to take time and a change in the mindset of many.
Meanwhile, it is possible to eat healthy on a limited budget without spending hours in the kitchen. One of the most nutritious foods that even finicky eaters like in one form or another is tomatoes AND it’s on the shelves of every store from big box retailers to small neighborhood markets and quick stops. When I was growing up, I really didn’t like tomatoes – even though they were homegrown and organic from our own garden. But I did love a bowl of chunky chili or my mom’s comforting beef stew on a frigid winter’s eve. It wasn’t until much later in life that I realized how utterly sweet and luscious those tomatoes were and started planting a garden just so I could eat a juicy, red (or yellow) meaty tomato!
Whether you eat them raw or canned*, tomatoes are a significant source of fiber, Vitamin C and the antioxidant lycopene. Research results were presented at the American Dietetic Assocation’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in November, suggesting that the nutrients in tomatoes may have a measurable impact on heart disease prevention. Since cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the U.S., this is a VERY important finding in helping us pave the way toward heart disease prevention! Heart disease has directly affected our family, and more than likely, many of you reading this.
My husband was relatively young when he had bypass surgery, he ate healthy home-cooked meals and exercised regularly. In fact, his first heart attack struck him while he was on his regular 26 mile bike ride. In the words of his cardiologist, he had three strikes against him: he was male, over 40 and had heart disease in his family. So start eating some tomatoes – in soup, salsa, chili, stew, pasta, pizza, or hey, even ketchup (minus the sugar and corn syrup please).
So let’s get to the recipe! I created this curry using Hunt’s diced tomatoes because it’s a brand that all stores carry. Not only did this take less than 15 minutes to prepare, but it filled the house with an exotic aroma, and has the added benefit of 6 grams of fiber from garbanzo beans 🙂 I served it with spinach Bolani but its also great with pita bread or naan (which you can buy at Trader Joe’s for $2.99).
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Madras Curry*
1- 14 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 14 oz. can of Hunts diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout or garam masala
1. Cut onion in half and thinly slice crosswise. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat (I sprinkle with some red pepper flakes). Cook onions for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic. Continue cooking until onions are soft.
2. Add the curry powder. Stir to coat onions and cook for another minute.
3. Add chickpeas and undrained tomatoes. stir until combined. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Stir in Ras el Hanout or garam masala. Simmer another 10 minutes to meld flavors.
4 Servings as a meal, add a green salad or brown rice if you desire. Great as an appetizer, too.
*Note: Research published in the British Journal of Medicine actually shows the body more readily absorbs lycopene from canned tomato products vs. fresh tomatoes, I was skeptical when I first read this, but it’s published in a medical journal here if you want to read it.
Disclosure: I was paid to write this post, Yay! Still, my opinions are my own.