Meat-loving Vegetarians

After watching Food, Inc. I recently attempted to become a vegetarian.  It’s been about a week, and it’s been super tough for me.  I miss chicken and beef.  Luckily, I found this article on that highlights a great cookbook by Kim O’Donnel.  Fortunately for me, as the article states, “vegetarian cuisine is not all salads and alfalfa sprouts. There is a rich variety of dishes to satisfy even the pickiest frank-ophile. From mock meats that mimic the texture and flavor of beef, chicken, and fish to hearty beans and grains that satisfy in tacos and wraps, you can find a veggie dish to rival your favorite meaty meal.”

The article featured one of Kim O’Donnel’s recipes from her book The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook. I wanted to share it with any of our struggling vegetarians, because it’s a dish that really makes you forget that you gave up meat.  Check it out:

Photo credit: Myra Kohn from the book The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donnel.

West Indian-Style Channa Wrap Recipe
Makes at least 8 servings


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups diced onions
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ chile pepper of choice, seeded and diced
1 (2 x 1-inch) hunk fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons curry powder (preferably Madras-style)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 (17.5-ounce) package 8-inch whole wheat tortillas (10-inch tortillas work well, too)
Optional add-ons: Your favorite hot sauce; ½ red onion, sliced
thinly; ½ cucumber, diced


In a deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chile pepper, and ginger, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the spices and salt, and stir well. You’ll end up with a paste.

Add chickpeas, plus enough water to barely cover (at least 3 cups). Bring to a lively simmer, then lower the heat and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, 50 to 60 minutes. You’re looking for very soft chickpeas with a thick gravy, not soup.

Taste for salt and season accordingly.

Place a few tablespoons of channa inside a warmed tortilla (one per person to start), with any or all of the optional add-ons, and you’ve got a sandwich of champions. The channa is also great over rice. To heat the tortillas, there are a few options: Wrap in plastic and heat for 20 seconds in the microwave; wrap in aluminum foil and heat for 10 minutes in the oven at 325°F; place on a dry skillet or griddle, one by one, for 30 seconds each side, over medium heat.

Keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for at least five days.

Sounds pretty darn good, huh?  Try it out and let me know what you think!

What”s your favorite meatless dish?