Happy new year, everyone! It’s 2015!! YAY!! I love the fresh start feel to a new year. This Moroccan Butternut Squash, Chickpea, and Spinach Stew is a super healthy and super yummy meal to start your year off right. This vegan, gluten-free stew is packed with healthy, nutrient-packed ingredients. It’s warm, both in temperature and from flavorful spice combination of allspice, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and cayenne pepper. I could eat this all day every day.
Who says you need to only have salads to eat healthy (and who wants to eat them when it’s cold outside?)? I keep seeing so many salads out there for healthy recipes for the new year. I love me a good salad… but I don’t exactly crave them in January. Warm, comforting dishes are much higher on my priority list.
On my last post, I talked about how only 8 percent of people keep their new years resolutions- I think, partially because they often revolve around depriving oneself of delicious things. I think that if you make goals to eat more of what’s good for you, rather than less of what’s bad for you, it’s much easier.
My goal for 2015? Eat more plants. (ala Michael Pollan in his book, In Defense of Food. Which, by the way, if you’re looking to read more in 2015, you should definitely put on your list!)
Why more plants, you ask? Isn’t that just being vegan? Well, yes. But I love meat. And I love cheese. And I do not intend to give them up. However, I also know how many nutrients are packed into plant-based meals, and that meat and cheese that’s organic and from happy animals is expensive and sometimes hard to come by. And what better way to eat more plants than to cook more vegan meals?
I consider myself a “conscientious omnivore.” It would be very hard for me to be completely vegan, or even vegetarian. In 2014, I ate meat about 2-3 times per week. That doesn’t mean when I went to the grocery store that my cart wasn’t filled with um like five blocks of cheese. In 2015, I would like to cut back on the other animal products by eating more vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
One step at a time. First step: this Moroccan Butternut Squash Stew.
I served this stew over white basmati rice, but it would be delicious over brown rice, couscous, quinoa, or cilantro lime brown rice. Or, for a grain free option, cauliflower rice or even just by itself.
Sometimes when I make this, I whip up a cool cucumber yogurt sauce (not vegan, but also very healthy) to dollop on top, which pairs so, so well with the stew’s spicy flavors. (To make the yogurt sauce, just mix 1 cup of Greek yogurt with 1 cup of grated cucumber, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and salt and pepper. Easy!)
Want more protein in this meatless dish? Try poaching or frying an egg and serving it on top.
This recipe will take you 30 minutes max to make, and you can cook a large batch and freeze it for later.
Here’s the printable recipe for Moroccan Butternut Squash, Chickpea, and Spinach Stew!
Moroccan Butternut Squash, Chickpea, and Spinach Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock water can also be used
- 3 cups diced butternut squash
- 2.5 cups 2 15 oz. cans cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups packed baby spinach roughly chopped
- juice of one lime
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
- Cooked rice quinoa, or cous cous to serve (optional)
- In a large pot, saute onion and ginger in oil over medium-high heat until softened.
- Add garlic; saute until fragrant (approximately one minute)
- Add spices, stock, and squash. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer until squash is fork-tender (approximately 15 minutes)
- Add chickpeas and spinach, turn heat to medium, and cover. The spinach will wilt and the chickpeas will heat through.
- Stir stew, adding the lime juice and cilantro. The squash will naturally integrate into the sauce to thicken slightly.
- Serve over rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or cous cous if desired.