Easy dinner idea: Spicy black bean and chickpea stew

I love to cook, but, to be perfectly honest, I just don’t feel like doing it these days. As much as I’d like to pretend that I am superwoman and can juggle a full-time job, night classes, school work (as finals are approaching…), my personal life, as well as other little odds and ends, sometimes it gets to be a little much, and sometimes the last thing I want to do is make myself dinner (it has always been my least favorite meal to prepare…).

Despite my lack of motivation these days, it is still a priority for me to eat clean, real foods as much as possible.  Eating better makes me feel better, and I will always be a firm believer that “healthy” doesn’t have to equal time-consuming or boring.  Making something from scratch (or even sprucing up a premade veggie burger….) can often be just as easy (and often faster!) than relying on the more “convenient”  or fast foods out there.

So, I won’t lie, even though  I have been consisting mostly on veggie burgers, oatmeal concoctions,  random snack combinations and huge salads these days, I have also made some more notable meals as well. Last week, for example, my sister and I had the idea to make some sort of spicy bean-based soup/stew for dinner using a few simple ingredients we had on hand.  I am no chef and tend to make pretty low-key “recipes,” but, I must say, this turned out to be pretty delicious if I do say so myself.

The stew had a nice spice from the fire roasted tomatoes and chili powder, and the cumin gave it a nice smoky flavor as well.  Plus, all you need is a can opener, a few canned items, an onion/garlic, and some simple spices to whip this together…. it is basically impossible to screw up and works very well as leftovers (I am going to be eating a serving over some spinach for lunch today)…

Spicy black bean and chickpea stew

makes approximately 5-6 servings


  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime (optional)
  • hot sauce (optional)


  • spray bottom of pot with non-stick spray (can also use olive oil)
  • saute garlic and onion for 5-6 minutes
  • add fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, chickpeas, and seasonings to pot
  • simmer 30 minutes
  • top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and some additional hot sauce (optional)

I initially ate mine on top of some sautéed kale and roasted acorn squash/brussel sprouts (random, but I was craving roasted vegetables and was on a roll in the kitchen that day…), but I imagine that this would work really well on top of some quinoa or with a nice crusty piece of bread on the side as well.  If you have a can opener and a few simple spices you are good to go with this recipe…. try it out!

What are your favorite simple dinner recipes?


Lentil Quinoa Soup

Hi! I hope you are having a lovely day so far!

So meant to share a recipe/delicious meal I had with you last week, but somehow I forgot about it until now. I figure there is no time like the present, so I might as well share it with you now….

The thing is, I didn’t make this recipe. It was homemade, but I only took part in the eating of it. You see, my sister and her boyfriend tend to hang out/make dinner together about once a week and sometimes they invite me to join them. While I know I probably shouldn’t intrude on their weekly dinners, you can’t blame me.  Jared is a good cook and they are always making delicious food. Who am I to refuse a good meal? (thanks guys!)

Anyway, so far I have been lucky enough to be the third wheel and join in on the following meals:

1. Grilled ahi tuna with veggie spring rolls and Asian rice noodles

2. Homemade vegetable lasagna with spicy marinara sauce

3. Lentil Quinoa Soup

They made this lentil quinoa soup a couple of weeks ago, and it was so good (so good I felt the need to share)! It was slightly spicy and had so much flavor. I asked where they found the recipe, and it is actually  in the latest edition of Natural Health Magazine. The recipe is featured in an article called “Soup Rx.” After reading the article, I am pretty sure I want to make/eat every one:

  • Roasted Red Pepper Beet
  • Kidney Bean Curry
  • Butternut Apple Honey
  • Chipotle Cinnamon Pumpkin
  • Corn with Basil Oil…

How delicious do all of those sound? I had never even heard of Natural Health Magazine, but, I must say, they seem to know what they are doing.

I thought I’d share the recipe for the Lentil Quinoa soup in case anyone was interested.  While I can’t say much about how the preparation of the soup went… according to my sister, Sami, it was very easy to pull together.I definitely recommend you try it out. It doesn’t require any crazy ingredients and the final product is so good!

Lentil Quinoa Soup

(from Natural Health Magazine)


1 diced yellow onion

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp minced ginger

2 minced garlic cloves

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp salt

5 c low sodium vegetable broth

3/4 dried red lentils

1 tsp dried thyme

29 oz can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

2 c chopped carrots

3/4 c cooked quinoa

3/4 c unsalted cashews

juice of 1/2 a lemon

  • Heat olive oil in medium-high skillet, add onion; cook for 4 min
  • Add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, cayenne, cloves, and salt; heat 1 min
  • Add vegetable broth, lentils, thyme, fire-roasted tomatoes, and carrots; simmer 20 minutes
  • Stir in quinoa, cashews,and  lemon

Do you ever “tag along” or join in on others meals (hopefully its just not me? hopefully….)? What is your favorite kind of soup to make? I’ve made Mama Pea‘s African Peanut Stew (from her cookbook) quite a few times and am always a big fan.