You may have noticed that there is a tab on the blog titled Healthy Living. Since I started the blog, it's been a goal of mine to provide healthy, simple recipes using whole, fresh foods. Of course, given that my last post was on Chocolate Chip Cookies, I should clarify that eating a healthy diet is all about balance! I don't advocate eating cookies every day, but I'm also not one for deprivation. Though I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, after reading books like Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and Mark Bittman's Food Matters, I have conscientiously started eating a mostly plant-based diet. And that's not to say I rarely eat meat, it just means that when I do, I eat small very small quantities and fill up the rest of my plate with veggies and grains. It actually works out quite well, because buying humanely-raised, organic meats and poultry is pretty pricey. But now that I'm buying such small quantities of it, the price ends up the same.

Before Brandon and I got married, I lived for a year with my good friend Jessica. She's vegan, and she introduced me to all sorts of delicious dishes made solely from veggies and grains. Before I met Jess, I honestly could not have imagined a meal without meat or fish. A snack or an appetizer maybe, but not a meal. I was also convinced that you couldn't get enough protein from an animal-free meal. Which, I've learned, is completely false. Take this dish–tomato chickpea curry with kale and brown rice–for example. Both the chickpeas and the brown rice are naturally high in protein: one serving of this dish provides roughly 20 grams of protein, or the same amount as half a chicken breast.

Every so often, I love to make vegan meals. I feel so full of energy after eating a meal of veggies, legumes, and grains. I must say, Brandon is not as enthusiastic about meat-free meals as I am, but he's amazingly game for trying just about anything. My goal is to make my vegan meals so delicious that he doesn't even miss the meat! I created this dish the other night based on what was in my pantry (chickpeas, onion, garlic, spices, brown rice) and fridge (kale). I love Indian food, so I was going for a sort of vegan curry. It turned out to be so flavorful (the leftovers the next day were even better!) and so easy, that this now tops my list of healthy, quick, weeknight meals.

This is the first in a series of "Healthy Living" recipes I'll be posting. And not to say that the other recipes on the blog are not healthy! I try always to cook in a seasonal, Mediterranean way (lots of olive oil, herbs, veggies, fruits, nuts, grains, fish, some meat), but these recipes in particular will be mostly plant-based, lower in calories and fat, and very high in nutrients–and flavor. In these recipes, I'll introduce some grains, legumes, and vegetables you might not normally use. It's a way to experiment with new ingredients and new flavors as part of a healthy lifestyle. Have fun with it–you'll feel great as a result!