By Suzanne Le Mignot

CHICAGO (CBS)– Whether you are preparing to go meatless on Fridays for Lent or adopting a healthier lifestyle, it can be challenging to find a variety of vegetarian options.

“Indian As Apple Pie” founder and author Anupy Singla joined CBS2’s Suzanne Le Mignot to talk about simple ways to cook healthy and delicious vegetarian meals.

Born in India and raised outside of Philadelphia, Singla has written four cookbooks, including the “Indian Slow Cooker.”

Cooking Indian food in a slow cooker is a technique Singla prefers because she said most Indian food is already cooked on a low flame for hours.

Singla shared her recipe for Rajmah, an Indian dish with rice and beans.

She offered advice for individuals attempting to cook with new spices.

“Just try it, it’s okay if you make a mistake,” she said.

Singla shared her Rajmah recipe:

Slow Cooker Size: 5-quart
Cooking Time: 11 hours on high
Yield: 10 cups (2.37 L)

3 cups (603 g) rajmah (dried red kidney beans), picked over, washed, boiled in water at least 10 minutes, and drained (alternatively, you can soak overnight)
1 medium yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced or pureed
1 (2-inch [5-cm]) piece ginger, peeled and chopped or grated
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
4–6 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed, chopped
3 whole cloves

1 (2–4-inch [5–10-cm]) cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
9 cups (2.13 L) water
½ cup (8 g) chopped fresh cilantro

1. Put the rajmah, onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, fresh chiles, cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin, red chile powder, sea salt, turmeric, garam masala, and water in the slow cooker.

2. Cook on high for 11 hours, until the beans break down and become somewhat creamy.

3. Remove and discard the cloves (if you can find them!) and cinnamon stick. If the rajmah is not creamy enough, take an immersion blender and press it two or three times to break up some of the beans. If using a blender, take out about 1 cup and process in the blender, then return it to the slow cooker. Be careful not to process all of the beans; most of them should remain whole.

4. Stir in the cilantro. Serve over a bed of basmati or brown rice with a side of raita and an Indian salad.

TRY THIS! After cooking, turn off the slow cooker and add 1 cup (237 mL) plain, unsweetened yogurt. Stir well and let the slow cooker sit with the lid on for about 10 minutes. This adds a unique tang.