vegan

Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

This Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew is loaded with some of my favorite cozy spices to use this time of year. The coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika combo will warm you up from the inside out! The bites of sweet dates and salty olives combined with the spicy broth is to die for! BONUS — it’s loaded with immune-boosting foods to keep those nasty winter bugs at bay.

Lentils and chickpeas are my favorite legumes to use as plant-based options for dinners and lunches. While I love eating local, grass-fed, pasture-raised, etc… meats a few times a week, I try to make the majority of my meals plant-based for simplicity, affordability, and variety. The moment I tested out this chickpea stew, I knew it was going to be a weekly staple.

It’s super easy to throw together — simply sauté some onions and garlic, add your spices and chickpeas, mash them up a little to thicken the stew, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until done, voila!

I make a ton of stews this time of year because they keep well in the fridge or can be frozen for an easy meal. Make a double batch and freeze half, you won’t regret it!

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Whats the difference between a soup and a stew?

Soups have much more liquid, whereas stews are meats, legumes, and/or veggies that are simmered with enough broth to cover/cook until everything is tender and the broth is reduced and turned ‘saucy’. Yum!

How do you make a vegetarian stew?

Swap the beef, poultry or pork with some good old reliable legumes! Sauté your aromatics and spices/flavors, add the protein and liquid and simmer until everything is tender and liquid has reduced.

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Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp red chili flakes (optional)
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 medium sweet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 heaping cup)
2 cups water
1 cup packed chopped kale
½ cup chopped pitted green olives
¼ cup chopped dates (or dried apricots or golden raisins)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Chopped toasted almonds, for garnish

Instructions:
In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric and red chili flakes (if using) and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, to toast the spices.

Stir in the chickpeas, then use a fork to mash about ⅓ of them up. Stir in the sweet potato and water and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the greens, olives, and dates and simmer, uncovered, for 5 more minutes.

Serve with rice or quinoa and garnish with cilantro and almonds. This is also delicious with a dollop of plain yogurt!

Tips and Tricks for the perfect Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

  1. Make sure to mash 1/3 - 1/2 of the chickpea to help release their starches and thicken the stew (thanks Alison Roman for the tip!).

  2. Some canned chickpeas are way creamier while others can be a bit mealy and dry. You definitely want CREAMY to thicken up the stew. I love the 365 brand from Whole Foods. If you cook your chickpeas at home (this yields the best chickpeas by far), then use 4 cups cooked chickpeas!

  3. Toasting the spices enhances their flavor, so don’t skip that step! But be careful not to burn them — stir it constantly and make sure there is still some oil in the pot. If not, add a glug.

  4. You still want the final product to have some liquid/sauce but not so much that it’s like a soup. Keep reducing the liquid (or add some) until it seems right.

  5. Make sure you taste and add salt/spices/maybe some lemon juice until you like it!

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

This recipe is inspired by my grandmother who would always make her famous German potato salad whenever we came to visit her farm in the summers. It's not your average mayo-heavy potato salad. Instead, I use a simple mustard vinaigrette which gets soaked up by the potatoes making them super flavorful. The cucumbers add a nice refreshing crunch to balance the starchy potatoes. This salad will be your new go-to side dish for parties and barbecues!

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What kind of potatoes are best for potato salad?

You want to use potatoes that are waxy and less starchy, such as new potatoes, red potatoes and fingerling potatoes. These potatoes will hold their shape much better than their starchy family members!

How do you make homemade potato salad?

Homemade potato salad is so much tastier and more nutritious than your average store-bought version. All you have to do is boil potatoes, let them cool enough to handle, then slice them thinly. Add to a bowl and toss with a vinaigrette to soak up the flavors. Add in any mix-ins like cucumber, celery, radish, nuts, herbs, etc... Toss with more dressing and serve!

Are potatoes bad for you?

A lot of people think potatoes are empty carbs and provide little nutrition value. You might be surprised to know that potatoes are rich in vitamins C and B6 as well as micronutrients like magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. 

German Potato Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs new potatoes (or red or fingerling)
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped dill
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp minced shallot (or sub 2 cloves garlic)
1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:
In a large pot, add the potatoes, enough water to cover them by 2 inches and a generous douse of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife (this will depend on the size of your potato). Drain and rinse the potatoes quickly with cold water so they are still hot but cool enough to handle. 

While the potatoes cook, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, shallot and salt in a small bowl.

Once the potatoes have cooled enough to handle but are still warm, slice them into thin rounds and add to a large bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the warm potatoes and gently toss to coat. Let them soak up the dressing for 10 minutes. 

Add in the cucumber, walnuts, dill and remaining dressing. Toss everything together to coat. Taste an add more salt or vinegar if needed. 

Tip and tricks for the perfect potato salad

  1. Do your best not to over or undercook the potatoes. You want a knife to be able to slide in with a tiny bit of resistance. It's not the end of the world if you overcook, it will just be a little bit softer and might not hold together as easily, but still delicious!
  2. It's essential that you add half of the dressing to the sliced potatoes when they are still warm. Letting them soak up the liquid really boosts the flavor.
  3. Always start cooking potatoes in cold water for even cooking results.
  4. The salad will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  5. If making it a day ahead, make sure to taste the salad before serving. Often it will need a splash of vinegar and some salt to wake it up!

Maple Oat Cookies

Maple Oat Cookies

The most simple, delicious and healthy oat cookies EVER! It only takes 5 minutes to make the batter, 8-10 minutes in the oven AND uses only 5 ingredients that you probably already have! Bake them until the edges just start to turn golden brown, let them cool and then bite into the crispy edges and soft, maple oat center.

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I thought these up as I was enjoying  a rhubarb crumble at home and straight up eating the crumble topping with a spoon hoping no one would notice. There's no way I'm the only one who does this, it's the best part! I honestly believe that the ratio of crumble to filling should be about 2:1...maybe 3:1. 

How do you make your own almond meal?

I never buy almond flour anymore ever since I tried making it myself. All you need is a blender or food processor and some almonds. Pulse until a fine meal starts to form. 

What's the difference between almond flour and almond meal?

Almond flour is usually finer than almond meal and generally uses blanched almonds, meaning almonds that have been flash cooked so that the skins come off. Almond meal is the whole almond, giving you way more nutrition and fiber.

What can I use to replace almond flour for a nut allergy?

I always recommend that people try to use a seed flour in place of almond flour. You could try substituting oat flour or regular flour, but it will result in a much more dry cookie. Try pulsing sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in a blender or food processor until a fine meal forms. 

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Maple Oat Cookies

Makes: 12 small cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup almond meal (see above how to make your own)
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, stir together the almond meal, oats and salt. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until a uniform dough forms.

Scoop tablespoon-sized cookies onto the baking sheet. Use your hands to flatten them (they will not spread), making sure they keep their shape. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges JUST start to turn light golden brown. Allow to cool for a bit so they hold together. 


Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Cookies

1. The cookies may not seem done, but will firm up as they cool. It's better to undercook them then overcook them, unless you like a super crunchy cookie. 
2. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks
3. For a nut-free option, substitute pumpkin seed or sunflower seed meal (details in questions above) 
4. These cookies make amazing ice cream sandwiches!
5. Double the recipe and freeze half for emergency cookies!