I’m by no means a vegetarian. I love a good pork banh mi or bbq pork sandwich and other non-pork meats that I can’t seem to recall at the moment. Despite my devotion to formerly breathing dinner items, I find myself making quite a few vegetarian and (gasp!) even vegan dishes every week.
Temperatures started dropping in Chicago last week. While I’m not ready to bundle head-to-toe and slog through snow just yet, I don’t mind the foods that go along with cooler weather. Soups, stews, slow-cooker meals and casseroles always seem to take the edge off when the mercury plummets.
My inaugural cold-weather meal this year was this Moroccan-style Vegetable + Chickpea Stew by The First Mess. It’s flavorful, hearty and full of wonderful fall roots and spices. Feel free to serve it to your animal activist vegan friends – it’s totally vegan! Who knew their food could be edible? (I kid, Jenny & Lauren.)
moroccan-style vegetable + chickpea stew
serves: makes a big pot
notes: I like to slowly cook the onions and spices out in the oil before I add everything else, almost stewing them in a way. The raw-ness of the spice goes away and the onions melt into the soup in a special luxurious kind of way.
big knob of coconut oil
1 medium onion, small dice
2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp ground coriander
chili flakes (optional)
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 dates, pitted + chopped
2 carrots, chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled + chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
3 cups vegetable stock (or more, depending)
1 yellow pepper, stemmed and chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
2 cups (or a 14-15 ounce can) cooked chickpeas
salt + pepper
couple handfuls of chopped greens
chopped flat leaf parsley/cilantro
fine grated lemon zest
extra virgin olive oil
cooked brown rice/quinoa/millet/couscous
Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and lower heat until they are sizzling kind of quietly. Once the onions are a bit soft and translucent, add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander and chili flakes. Slowly sauté and stir this mix until the onions are really, really soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped dates, carrots and sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables in the spices and oil. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the vegetable stock. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer until the sweet potatoes are just tender, about 10-12 minutes.
Add the chopped yellow peppers and chickpeas and stir the soup. Season the whole thing again with salt and pepper. Simmer until the yellow peppers are tender and the sweet potatoes are quite soft, about 5 minutes. Add the greens to the pot (and more stock if necessary) and cook for 1 minute, or until just-wilted. Check the soup for seasoning and serve it hot with cooked grains, drizzles of olive oil, lemon zest and chopped herbs.
I’m posting her recipe verbatim because I didn’t change a dang thing about it. Except I garnished with fresh mint and basil. And shortly thereafter learned that Christian has some sort of genetic mutation (there’s no other explanation) that causes him to dislike the taste of fresh basil.
Where do eggs fall on the vegetarian/omnivore scale? Are they okay to eat because they’re not technically meat yet? Or are they taboo because they’re potential meat that hasn’t been fertilized? I clearly don’t follow vegetarian doctrine. If eggs are cool, this tasty ramen is another hearty Fall/Winter recipe to keep handy. I found the original recipe here and the extra crispy is below.
Simple Miso Ramen – with some additions