I don’t make New Year resolutions anymore. I have given up losing and gaining the same ten pounds over and over my whole adult life. However, I do want to eat more healthy: less red meat, more veggies, omit sugar, and reduce my reliance on processed food.

In an effort to meet my goals, I am expanding my cooking repertoire. Melissa Clark who writes for the New York Times has tips for eating less meat. Her first suggestion is to eat more beans and the second is to use high protein grains, and, she adds that pasta counts. Who doesn’t love giving pasta a thumbs up!

I made her Indian Butter Chickpea recipe the other day. If you’re interested, try making it. It’s easy and the ingredients are not exotic. See below.


Note: Melissa Clark writes beautifully about her interface with food. I always enjoy her columns in the NYTs.


Happy New Year and healthy eating!


David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.


Indian Butter Chickpeas


  • YIELD 4 to 6 servings
  • TIME 1 hour 10 minutes


A vegetarian riff on Indian butter chicken, this fragrant stew is spiced with cinnamon, garam masala and fresh ginger, and is rich and creamy from the coconut milk. You could add cubed tofu here for a soft textural contrast, or cubed seitan for a chewy one. Or serve it as it is, over rice to catch every last drop of the glorious sauce. You won’t want to leave any behind.

Featured in: The Meat Lover’s Guide To Eating Less Meat.
BeansCurriesButterChickpeaCoconut MilkGaram MasalaGarlicGingerTomatoEasyWeekdayMain CourseVegetarian


  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1large onion, minced
  • 1 ½teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 4garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 1tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2teaspoons garam masala
  • 1small cinnamon stick
  • 1(28-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1(15-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2(15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
  • Ground cayenne (optional)
  • Cooked white rice, for serving
  • ½cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, for serving


  1. Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until golden and browned around the edges, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. (Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up to medium-high; keeping the heat on medium ensures even browning without burning the butter.)

  2. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook another 1 minute. Stir in cumin, paprika, garam masala and cinnamon stick, and cook another 30 seconds.

  3. Add tomatoes with their juices. Using a large spoon or flat spatula, break up and smash the tomatoes in the pot (or you can use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the tomatoes while they are still in the can). Stir in coconut milk and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and continuing to mash up the tomatoes if necessary, to help them break down.

  4. Stir in chickpeas and a pinch of cayenne if you like. Bring the pot back up to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

  5. Serve spooned over white rice and topped with cilantro.

By Marianna Crane

After a long career in nursing--I was one of the first certified gerontological nurse practitioners--I am now a writer. My writings center around patients I have had over the years that continue to haunt my memory unless I record their stories. In addition, I write about growing older, confronting ageism, creativity and food. My memoir, "Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers" is available where ever books are sold.


  1. This is wonderful! I printed the whole thing. We don’t eat red meat – but use tofu chicken and turkey meat and its gets old fast. I am always looking for good bean recipes. What are high protein grains? Quinoa?

    Happy New Year Michele


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