Moroccan-Lentil-and-Vegetable-Stew-V3Rock the Kasbah with this hearty vegetable stew that even die-hard meat lovers will find deliciously satisfying. It’s part of my “Meatless Monday” menu for winter, but feel free to add chicken or lamb to the pot. However you prepare it, it’s a warm bowl of comfort on a cold day. Tucked into the rich savory broth are some often overlooked hidden gems—root vegetables. I know, their knobby knubs are troll-looking, but root vegetables, like rutabagas and celery root, are making a come-back, and for a good reason. Because if you’re looking to reduce carbs, they’re an excellent alternative to potatoes and just as versatile. Ruta CeleryThey can be mashed, shredded for hash browns or latkas; wedge-cut for french fries and their high fiber content keeps you feeling full longer, which may aid in your weight loss efforts. But I would be remiss if I didn’t also praise their nutrient benefits, like vitamin-B-6, C, and the omnipotent vitamin-K, and minerals, like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. So the next time you’re in the produce section, don’t turn your nose up at these little darlings; they may turn out to be your new BFF!

CranberryQuinoaTo enhance the stew’s authentic Berber flavors, pair it with Israeli couscous in combination with jeweled quinoa. Studded with dried cranberries, apricots, candied ginger, and seasoned with aromatic spices, mint, and coriander, its an excellent accompaniment to your Moroccan feast.

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For dessert, consider serving an apple galette with a dollop of maple-infused coconut whipped cream.

Moroccan Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1/2-cup olive oil
  • 1/4-cup minced garlic
  • 1/4-cup minced ginger
  • 1-medium fennel bulb, diced
  • 1- large yellow onion, diced
  • 1-red-bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/3-cup of Garam Masala seasoning mix
  • 2-tbsp Moroccan seasoning mix

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  • 2-14oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1-6oz can tomato paste
  • 2-quarts vegetable stock.
  • 2-bay leaves

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  • 1-large or 2-medium-size rutabagas, peeled and cubed
  • 1-large or 2-medium-size celery roots, peeled and cubed. if unavailable just double up on rutabagas
  • 3-carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1-large zucchini cubed
  • 1-lb forest mushrooms: shitake, maitake, wood ear, crimini, or 6oz dried that have been rehydrated, preferably at room temperature.
  • 1-small eggplant, cubed
  • 1-head of cauliflower cut into florets [optional]
  • 2-14oz can chickpeas, drained.
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  • 1/3-cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2-tbsp cilantro, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Heat oil in a 6-quart pot.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, fennel, onion, and red pepper. Saute until onions are translucent. Add seasoning and stir. Adding the seasoning at this juncture releases the aromatic oils in the spices. If adding meat or chicken, coat the meat with seasoning and brown, then add the stock or bone broth and braise meat before adding the root vegetables.
  3. If keeping with a vegetable stew, add diced tomatoes, paste, and stock at this point. Bring to a simmer before adding the remaining ingredients.
  4. Continue simmering until root vegetables are cooked through.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  6. Finish with fresh herbs.

Recipe yields 10-12oz servings. Freeze the leftovers for easy, no-fuss meals. Nutrient values are based per serving, including jeweled quinoa, but not including the dessert.

Moroccan stew