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.
The 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.
Think 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
- 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 cilantro, to garnish (optional)
- Vegan or regular yogurt, to serve (optional)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just before serving, stir in the fresh greens:
Stir gently until the greens are wilted.
Serve with fresh cilantro, a spoon full of yogurt (either vegan or dairy), sliced chili, and lemon wedges.