This kale and chickpea dish combines onion, garlic, mushrooms and zucchini with a luxurious cashew cream sauce. It is a go-to weekday dinner at our house and is one of those dishes that tastes ridiculously indulgent but is actually really good for you at the same time. A variation of this was one of the first vegan entrees I ever made and I remember being blown away by how hearty and satisfying a plant-based meal could be. When Mr. Pea (who at that time was pretty much a carnivore) started requesting it for dinner regularly I knew we had a winner. It also happens to be really easy to throw together and stores well in the fridge to take leftovers on your lunch the next day. I usually serve it straight-up but you can also serve it on top of quinoa or brown rice.
The sauce uses a generous amount of red pepper chili flakes which gives this dish a nice kick. We tend to like spice in our house but if you don’t you can easily substitute other spices or herbs (basil and oregano or a cajun seasoning would work nicely). Regardless of the seasoning, I LOVE the amount of green in this entree…just looking at the below picture with the kale and zucchini makes me happy. If I’ve been having an off week or want to reboot after a weekend of not-so-good eating I’ll have a “green day” …green smoothie for breakfast, green salad with my lunch and a hearty green-filled dinner (like this cashew kale dish!).
Creamy Mushroom Kale & Chickpeas
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained)
- 1 bunch destemmed kale roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (chili pepper flakes)
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Soak cashews in hot water for approx 1 hour. If your short on time, finely chop the cashews before soaking and 30 minutes will do the job – however the longer you soak, the smoother your sauce will be.
- Drain cashews and blend with vegetable broth and garlic until smooth (we use a magic bullet)
- Combine onion and approx 1 tsp of grapeseed oil in a large pan and heat at medium until onions are beginning to become translucent.
- Add chopped zucchini and mushrooms and a spoonful of water and continue to cook until vegetables are softened.
- Stir in chickpeas and chopped kale with an additional spoonful of water and cover until kale is tender (approx 5 minutes)
- Add cashew sauce, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes uncovered until sauce thickens.