Curried Garbanzo Bean, Eggplant and Zucchini Summer Stew

Summer bounty can be redirected into this dish for a healthy meat alternative… Great for lunches at work or a mid-course or a side dish. I made this for the first time this year and I expect that I will keep making it through the fall and winter, using different type of vegetables as the seasons change.



Curried Garbanzo Bean, Eggplant and Zucchini Summer Stew


  • 2 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped to small cubes
  • 1 medium squash, chopped to small cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped to small cubes
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 or 2 hot chile, dry (I put whole lot more for myself)
  • 1 14-oz can of garbanzo beans, with all the liquid or 2 cups made from dry
  • 1.5 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish (OPTIONAL)

Heat the peanut or vegetable oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and golden; 15 minutes.

Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the eggplant, squash and zucchini and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook for 7-10 minutes until the veggies re somewhat tender (not really).

Stir in the garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chile and a few pinches of black pepper. Cook for a few minutes and then pour in the garbanzo beans, tomato sauce, coconut milk and the 2 tbsp of the cilantro.

Raise the heat to medium high and bring the stew to boil. Then reduce heat and let simmer for 1520 minutes until veggies are wilted but not dead (too soft).

Serve it in bowls, with jasmine rice or something and sprinkle generously with the remaining cilantro and the optional coconut shavings. Makes 6-8 servings. Here are the nutritional facts (without rice):

Chicken, Almond and Apricot Savory Pie

Interesting and somewhat out of the ordinary side dish for a brunch or lunch, this pastry works well to complement egg dishes and/or salads with tangy vinaigrette. I make this about once a year. I think it is a bit dangerous to do it often (high fat content) so thread carefully. It surely looks pretty.

Chicken, Almond and Apricot Pastry


  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 chicken breast, chopped to small cubes
  • 3 fresh or 1/4 c dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
  • 12 sheets of phyllo dough
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh chives, chopped for garnish

Put the bulgur in a bowl with 1/2 cup of boiling water; set aside to soak 5-10 minutes.

Heat two tablespoons of the butter in a pan and gently saute the onion and chicken until lightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the apricots, almonds, bulgur and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in the cinnamon, allspice, yogurt and the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Grease a 9-inch by 5-inch oven-safe dish, with olive oil or canola oil. Melt the remaining butter.

Unroll the dough. Keep the pastry sheets covered with a clean, damp towel to avoid drying.

Line the dish with six of the sheets, brushing each one with butter as you layer them. Spoon in the chicken mixture and cover with six more pastry sheets, brushing each layer with butter as you go. Bake the pastry for 30 minutes or so (no more than that), until pastry is golden brown and crisp like in the pictures here.

You can serve this hot or cold. Dress up the slices with chives. Makes 6 generous servings. Here are the nutritional facts:

Green Beans and Shallots with Toasted Nuts and Goat Cheese

It appears that I am on a green beans kick…

This time, I made it with shallots, walnut oil and goat cheese. It is NOT a revolutionary approach or anything. I just want to try new things with green beans, that’s all.

I had this dish with roasted chicken breast and a glass of Austrian sparkling wine (it was Brut, 2006).

Green Beans and Shallots with Toasted Nuts and Goat Cheese


  • 1 lb., green beans, trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp shallots, minced
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsps walnut oil
  • 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a boiling pot of water, cook the beans 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl with ice water to stop cooking. I usually recommend cooking the beans for another minute or so but this time, you will cook the beans a bit with the shallots so 3 minutes seemed to be enough.

In a small non-stick fry pan on medium heat, toast the walnuts, stirring frequently for about 3-4 minutes.

In a large skillet on medium heat, saute the shallots in the olive oil for a minute or so. Then add the walnuts and the beans. Saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper (small pinches should do).

Serve immediately,  topped with goat cheese.

Makes 4 servings. It could probably serve more folks but I figured the calories on Sparks People recipe calculator for 4 people. Here are the nutritional facts:

Green Beans with Nuts and Cranberries

A summer-fresh taste in minutes, really. Nutritionally, it is a bit on the high side fat content-wise, but you can justify it as a side dish with a nice grilled protein… fish or chicken would go well. By the way, I thought I did a pretty awesome job with the picture on this one. I am getting better and better. Who knew I had a knack for photography? I digress.

Green Beans with Nuts and Cranberries


  • 1.5 lbs. green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup roasted nuts, unsalted mix (I prefer to roast it myself with what I have at home)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add one tablespoon of salt and the green beans and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking.

If roasting the nuts you got, put the nuts in a non-stick pan over low heat. Roast, stirring occasionally while the beans are cooking, for about 4-5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the nuts, the olive oil and the cranberries.

Drain the green beans. Pat dry them with paper towes as you transfer them to the large bowl with the nut mixture. Toss to coat. Adjust taste with salt and pepper, and possibly some red pepper flakes. You can serve this warm or at room temperature. I wouldn’t recommend putting it in the fridge before serving. The flavors will get lost.

Makes 8 servings.

Here are the nutritional facts:

Mushroom Salad (No-Cook recipe, Perfect Side to Protein)

This is such a simple but surprisingly interesting dish. I made this last Sunday and served it with some grilled brisket, green beans with nuts and cranberries and brown rice with onion and dill. Let’s say it was more than what we needed. I think any of the sides alone would have sufficed. In the future, this particular recipe will be a go-to recipe when I want to cut some corners and offer up another side, but without any of the effort.

Mushroom Salad


  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 32 oz. oyster or crimini mushrooms, sliced (get 4 packets of 8-oz sliced ones to save some time)
  • 1/2 cup swiss or Jarlsberg cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped,
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1.4 tsp black pepper or to taste

In a small bowl, mix in the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to make the dressing. In a large bowl, combine the mushroom, cheese, parsley and drizzle the dressing. You may not need all of it, so be judicious. Serve with grilled protein, like a lean beef or chicken.

Serves 4.

Here are the nutritional facts:

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