Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

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Photography Credit: Sabrina Modelle

It doesn’t get much healthier than this vegan vegetable and chickpea stew!

Humble veggies like carrot, sweet potato, and parsnips shine when paired with the intoxicating Moroccan seasoning known as ras el hanout.

Have you ever tried this spice mix? The main components are cumin, coriander, ginger, and cinnamon — they make a warming blend that’s perfect for perking up a hearty vegetable stew and serving on a cold day.

2017-01-23-moroccan-stew-17The exact blend of spices in ras el hanout can vary quite a lot depending on where you buy it, and it can include everything from the spices listed above to saffron and rose petals. Morocco is famous for its spice markets, and the direct translation of ras el hanout is “top of the shop,” similar to how we refer to good liquor as “top shelf.”

But don’t worry! The recipe I give here uses spices that you’re likely to already have in your spice cupboard or that can be easily found at the grocery store. Feel free to use a store-bought version here, as well.

Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea StewThink of this stew as a template – a fantastic template. Once you’ve made it once, try experimenting!

You can use regular potatoes instead of sweet potatoes. You could even try adding some beets or turnips to the mix.

It tastes great on the day you make it, but I think days two and three are the very best. It freezes well, and will keep for about five days sealed tightly in the fridge.

We have served it over whole grains like brown rice or millet, but couscous would also be fantastic. Optional garnishes include fresh herbs, vegan or regular yogurt, fresh chilies, and lemon or lime wedges.

Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings (makes about 4 quarts)

Ingredients

For the Ras el Hanout spice mix (or substitute a store-bought mix):

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 tablespoons coriander
  • 3/4 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili (for a spicy stew), or 1 teaspoon mild paprika

For the stew:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced (6 to 8 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ras el hanout
  • 4 to 5 medium carrots, sliced (about 1lb)
  • 1 medium parsnip diced (about 3/4 lb)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 lb)
  • 2 roasted red peppers (from a jar or homemade), diced
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups water or broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 6 to 8 cups baby kale or baby spinach
  • Lemon wedges, to garnish (optional)
  • Sliced jalapeno peppers, to garnish (optional)
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)
  • Vegan or regular yogurt, to serve (optional)

Method

1 Mix the ras el hanout (or substitute store-bought): Whisk all the spices together until well-combined. This will make a little more than 1/4 cup of spice mix. Use 2 tablespoons for this recipe, then store the remaining in an air tight container for up to a year.

Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

2 Cook the onions: Sauté the onions in olive oil over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to turn translucent. Stir often to avoid browning too much.

Add in the ginger and 2 tablespoons of ras el hanout and sauté for another minute, stirring often.

Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

3 Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer: Add in the carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, peppers, lemon zest, apricots, and broth or water, and stir well. Turn heat to medium to medium-high, and cover.

4 Cook for 10 minutes. The stew should be bubbling at a low boil during this time. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a low boil.

Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

5 Remove lid, add chickpeas, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until parsnips and sweet potatoes are quite soft and just starting to break down. Taste the stew, and add salt, pepper, and more ras el hanout to your taste.

6 Just before serving, stir in the fresh greens. Stir gently until the greens are wilted.

Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

7 Serve: Serve with fresh cilantro, a spoon full of yogurt (either vegan or dairy), sliced chili, and lemon wedges.

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Sabrina Modelle

Sabrina Modelle started The Tomato Tart in 2010. Since then, recipes and photographs have been featured in media outlets, worldwide. The site features handmade, homemade, food that happens to be gluten free. When she’s not working, Sabrina can be found with her nose in a cookbook and a dog in her lap.

More from Sabrina

Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

Showing 4 of 15 Comments

  • Jarrett

    Love this recipe! I bought the PC black label ras el hanout spice blend (I think I counted 24 spices).

    Here are a few changes I made:

    – 1/2 cup golden raisins instead of apricots
    – Kale
    – Put in two diced jalapenos at the end (off heat), instead of for garnish
    – Put in 1/3 cup or so cilantro
    – Made the roasted red peppers myself over the stove element
    – Water instead of broth

  • Sandy S

    Just have to say that this is my new favorite recipe! I tried it because I like many of the ingredients and happened to have most of them on hand. Now that I have made it a few times, I am totally in love with how it has a life of it’s own. A good deal of which is owing to the Ras el Hanout spice mix, which I am also in love with and trying in other recipes with great merriment. But, there is more to this stew than the Ras el Hanout spice mix . It really is special. Thank you Sabrina for posting it!

  • yeni

    Is the apricot a major component, or can it be left out? Don’t wanna damage the flavors, but don’t have any on hand.

  • Neil | Spice Cauldron

    Perfect timing, Sabrina! I recently added my ras el hanout spice recipe to my blog and was trawling the “Internet of Grub” for a lovely, cheap and healthy recipe to use. Something to highlight this fantastic spice combo.

    I’ll probably switch to regular spuds, and change things up a bit, but I’ll give you a shout out when I blog about it, so my readers can come and find your version too.

    All the best, Neil.

  • Prklypr

    Assuming from the photos that the sweet potatoes should be peeled and cubed, like the parsnip?

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