September ushers in a tighter schedule and you may find yourself stressing over what’s for dinner. I love one-dish meals because they are easy to throw together, and minimize clean up. They also reheat well, so make great leftovers.
Growing up, my mom cooked a lot of Italian food, (pasta, salads, greens, roasts, potatoes and vegetables). We did enjoy chickpeas and beans in various pasta or vegetable dishes, however I never ate any type of dish with a Moroccan flavor profile. Moroccan cooking often uses spices like cumin, black pepper, ginger and turmeric. Other common spices include saffron, paprika, cayenne, harissa, cinnamon, and sometimes white pepper. I love the flavor the added cinnamon adds to this dish, and these spices seem to lend themselves to the fall season.
Have it Your Way
The beauty of dishes like this, is that you can tailor it to your own taste preferences. For instance if you like cumin, but not too much cumin, you can reduce the amount, or eliminate it. The final recipe may not be “authentic” but if it’s how you like, then cook it that way! However I encourage you to try adding more spices to your dishes. Sometimes people view “spice” as “hot” but that’s not the case. In this case, spice means flavor, and using more of them is a great way to reduce the salt in your cooking. You can also swap out the veggies in this dish based on food preferences or what you have on hand.
You can substitute white beans for the chickpeas, or regular potato for the sweetpotato. Use fresh tomatoes or use canned with juices, and reduce the broth by about 1/4 cup. This DASH-friendly dish calls for tomato paste – be sure to see my Note about freezing the extra. I like using the tomato paste tubes and usually keep one in my fridge.
Moroccan-Inspired Vegetable Stew with Chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups frozen bell pepper and onion mix or 1 fresh bell pepper, and half a medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup chopped or shredded carrots
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock divided
- ¼ tsp garlic powder or 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 15-ounce can, diced tomatoes or 5 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 15-ounce can, garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup chopped dried apricots, dates, or raisins
- 1 cup dry couscous
- Cook couscous according to package directions. Set aside and keep warm.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a 3-quart Dutch oven or saucepan. Add the onion-pepper mix and the carrots and cook until onions are translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes (if using crushed garlic, add it now, and cook for 1 minute then proceed).
- Add sweet potatoes, salt, cinnamon, and ½ cup broth to the pot. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic powder (unless you added garlic earlier), tomatoes, and tomato paste to pot. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes, until peppers are tender.
- Reduce heat and add the beans, additional spices (paprika, turmeric, curry powder) and remaining ½ cup broth. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 5 to 10 more minutes, until broth slightly reduced. The pot can be held on simmer until ready to serve.
- Divide couscous evenly into bowls and top with the chickpea-veggie mixture.