When I first transitioned to a vegan diet, I wanted to make sure I was doing it right and getting the correct nutrients. I didn’t fancy losing my hair or teeth or having other bits drop off as various people warned me would happen. So I consulted friend, cook and nutritionist Lou Marchionne who sent me away with some sensible advice, a list of nutrition tips and some recipes to get me started.
Then, when I started Miller Green, as well as teaching me how to make the best farinata I’ve ever eaten, Lou also helped me develop/improve a couple of lovely dishes. This is one of them.
We originally called it Moroccan Chickpea Stew but, as the arguments about cultural appropriation raged, decided to change the name to the less inflammatory Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Stew. Not as exotic sounding, but it still tastes delicious. You can call it what you like!
A Moroccan-inspired Roast Vegetable and Chickpea Stew
1 red onion roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, finely diced
2 peppers, different colours if possible, roughly chopped
1 small aubergine, roughly chopped
1 carrot roughly chopped
1 tsp grd cumin
1 tbsp smoked paprika for roasting the veg
Additional tsp smoked paprika for the stew
Big pinch chilli powder
1/2 tsp grd coriander
1/2 tsp grd cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 dried apricots, chopped
2 dates, chopped
4 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cloves of garlic
1 tins of tomatoes
30ml orange juice
Tin of chick peas
Couple of sloshes of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss the aubergine with some olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper in a baking tray and roast in the oven at 200C for about 20 minutes. Do the same with the carrot and pepper in a separate baking tray. Remove from the oven and set aside
Whilst the aubergine, peppers and carrots are in the oven, add a slosh of olive oil to a largish saucepan and allow it to heat up a little before throwing in the onion and celery. Stir and cover with a lid. Let the onion soften a little and then add the spices – cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric. Cook for 20-30 minutes on a low heat, checking and stirring regularly. Add a little water if the ingredients start to stick to the pan. Then add the dates, apricots, sun dried tomato, orange juice and garlic and cook for 5 minutes on low heat, covered with a lid.
Add the tin of tomatoes and roast carrot and pepper and cook over low heat for a further 10 minutes*. Add the chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, add the aubergine pieces last so that they don’t fall apart.
Lovely served with couscous – chuck in some chopped apple, parsley, apricot, pistachio – whatever you fancy. Have it hot, or stir through a bit of vinaigrette or oil and lemon juice and eat it cold. If you’re gluten free, just replace the couscous with brown rice.
If you have the time, let the tomatoes cook down for longer – half an hour or even more. That will really release the sugars and make for a deeper, richer sauce. Just make sure the stew doesn’t dry out by keeping the lid on the pan and stirring regularly. You can also add a spot of water if necessary