When I posted my favourite recipes from 2010, I found it amusing that phoo-d astutely pointed out that I love chickpeas. I knew I liked them, but it wasn’t until I noticed that 4 recipes had chickpeas, that some of my most memorable meals have involved these nutty gems. As I delve into more meals that focus on vegetables, beans and whole grains, chickpeas and other beans have become more prominent in my kitchen. I have also been trying to integrate more nutrient-packed foods into my meals, spurred mainly by these vegetable ratings.
I was obviously tickled pink when I found this spin on Italian minestrone with chickpeas, butternut squash, kale, red pepper and tomatoes in Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. Oh, and carrots, too. A rainbow for the soul: every ingredient is chock-full of nutrients. Adapted, slightly, from this recipe, this is a mix of superfoods simmered in a basil-thyme broth. A splash of red wine vinegar at the end is an important part to lighten the dish. The flavours worked really well together, creating a light, healthy and hearty stew. I didn’t even serve it with a grain, it was that filling. This was a cheery, warm hug during a dreary winter.
Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas
3 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
2 cups water
2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 19 oz can, rinsed and drained
2 cups chopped butternut squash
28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1.5 cups chopped carrots
1 cup diced red bell pepper
5 cups chopped kale (not stems)
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1. Saute onions and salt over medium heat for 12-15 minutes until onions are soft and beginning to caramelize.
2. Stir in garlic and spices. Stir a bit.
3. Add water and all of the vegetables except the kale. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
4. Add kale and simmer 5-10 minutes, until kale is tender but still bright green.
5. Adjust seasoning. Stir in wine vinegar.