There is a season for stew – and this is it!  I grew up on stew.  My grandmother used to throw chunks of carrots, potatoes, celery and stew meat (she called it “muska”) in a pot with broth or water, herbs and spices and let it simmer for hours on the stove.  She made it look so easy – and the result was a hearty, delicious bowl of goodness.  A cross between soup and chili, stew is a substantial meal.  In my stews I include beans, veggies and occasionally chicken breast, seafood or loin cuts of pork or beef.  In this dish, mushrooms stand in for meat – and work beautifully and deliciously.

Crazy for chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beans)?  I am, too – especially when paired with tomato products of all sorts – diced, pureed, sauce or crushed. (I am a proud supporter of the Tomato Products Wellness Council.)  The soft, subtle crunch of the chickpeas blends well with the savoriness or umami that tomatoes bring to any dish.  I love tossing chickpeas into variety of dishes to heighten the texture, taste and starchy satisfaction in every bite.

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Packed with fiber at 12 grams per cup – that’s almost half the fiber you need for the day, chickpeas rank high on the fullness factor scale.  Plus, they are jam-packed with protein, folate – an important B-vitamin prior and during pregnancy for healthy babies, and potassium to naturally regulate blood pressure.  To keep it simple, feel free to use canned chickpeas – all you do is rinse and drain prior to eating.  And, yes, I will pop them in my mouth directly from the colander! :)

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In Indian cuisine, there’s a delicious dish with chickpeas and tomatoes called Chana Masala.  This is a version of it sans the coconut milk as I didn’t have any handy.   I love the spices of Indian cooking and this dish has a bit of coriander, cinnamon, as well as a hint of smoked paprika, which is more Spanish than Indian, but it adds a robust flavor to this dish.

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Serves 2

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small shallot, minced

4 baby bella  mushrooms, chopped

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes*

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch salt and black pepper to taste

Cilantro leaves for garnish

1/2 cup whole wheat couscous (optional)

1 cup water or low-sodium broth (optional)

Directions

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add olive oil, garlic, shallots and crushed coriander.  Saute for a few minutes until fragrant.  Toss in the mushrooms and chickpeas and saute for a few more minutes.  Stir gently and allow the flavors to meld together.  Add the tomatoes, vinegar, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes to cook through and allow it to thicken a bit.

If you want to serve over couscous, just add dry couscous to a small pot with liquid and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until liquid is dissolved.  Flake with a fork and remove from heat.  If you’d rather no grains, just serve over a bed of greens.  Enjoy!

*To reduce sodium, use diced tomatoes with no-salt added.

Nutrition Information (per serving with couscous): Calories: 534, Total Fat: 10 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 913 mg, Carbohydrate: 95 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 19 g

 

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