I’d rather spend half an hour rearranging things in the dishwasher to fit in that last mug than spend the 20 seconds it would take to wash it by hand. Are you sure you want to turn me loose on meal planning? Ok. Let’s go! If my dishwasher ambition tells you anything, it’s that I crave efficiency. I like the idea of making a big meal on a Sunday evening and eating the leftovers throughout the week. Cook once, eat all week. I’ve found that when the weather is as cold as it’s been, there’s nothing more satisfying than a piping hot bowl of stew. Served over rice, mashed potatoes, with a side salad, or as a stand alone meal, vegetarian stews are probably the easiest weeknight meal you can make.
In the past, I’ve always just sliced up root vegetables and dumped them in a slow cooker with some pre-made soup (carrots, turnips, parsnips, onions, potatoes, and yams, with a butternut squash soup base is my favorite). Totally easy way to make a stew, but after a while it can get a little boring. I decided to play with some Middle Eastern flavors in the stew I made last night and I’m so glad I did! Oregano, mint, and cinnamon take this stew to new heights. It’s hearty, stick-to-your-ribs good, yet still seems fresh and lighter than most stews. You must try this!
Lebanese Vegetarian Stew
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1 large bell pepper, chopped. You pick the colors. I like green peppers in this stew
- 3 garlic cloves, minced.
- 3 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped.
- 1 16 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 16 ounce can of white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 26.46 ounce box of Pomi Strained Tomatoes or a 28 ounce can of tomato puree
- 13 ounces or a generous 1-1/2 cups of canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of white wine or a couple of splashes of dry vermouth (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
- Drizzle of honey or about a teaspoon of sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes.
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Rub it between your fingers to release the flavor.
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried marjoram (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried mint
- A couple of pinches of ground cinnamon
- Olive oil for cooking and drizzling
- Sea salt or kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- In a large dutch oven or an oven safe pot with a lid, saute the onions and bell pepper on medium to medium high heat with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Once the pepper and onions are soft, add the potatoes, garlic, chickpeas, white beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, wine/vermouth, sugar, dried herbs, spices, bay leaves and more salt and pepper.
- Bring to a gentle boil. Immediately turn down the heat, simmer, covered for about 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- After 5 minutes of stove top simmering, place the pot in the oven and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- When the stew is finished cooking, remove bay leaves.
- Adjust the salt and pepper. Also add a pinch more of dried oregano, mint and cinnamon.
- Serve with rice or a salad and a dollop of sour cream.
This recipes makes a pretty big pot of stew. If you’re cooking for yourself, you can place the leftovers in mason jars and store for up to a week in the refrigerator, and up to 2 months in the freezer. Bonus: If you’re feeling like you want a pot pie (and really who doesn’t?), this stew makes the perfect filling. Just pour this into your pie pan and bake. Seriously, how easy is that?!
Pro tip: I prefer to use Pomi tomato products because they come in a box instead of a can, and somehow always retain a garden fresh flavor.
recipe adapted from Vintage Kitchen