Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Chard – an Ageless Diet™ Recipe

It’s late winter in the United States, and it’s been a particularly snowy and cold winter this year. Hearty stews and soups with root vegetables are kind of de rigueur. I am, however, in South Africa working on a film project, and it’s summer here. Glorious summer. Warm breezes, sun, crisp white wines, ripe tomatoes and juicy peaches, pretty girls in bikinis, cute boys on mopeds… You get the idea. What does this have to do with the Ageless Diet? The vegetables that are in the original version of this wonderfully aromatic and flavorful Moroccan-inspired chickpea stew are simply not available in Cape Town right now. While recipe testing and creating, I needed to improvise and the final result is so good, I had to share the recipe. It’s gluten-free, vegan, and I think, even perfect for those of you paleo/primal lovers. Lots of anti-inflammatory spices, hearty, fiber-rich vegetables full of phytonutrients, and plenty of plant-based protein, this stew has got it all going on! Inspired by Melissa Clark’s recipe in The New York Times, I’ve made something I think is more savory, more filling, and, for my palate, better. I’ve dropped the dried apricots, because the soup is sweet enough thanks to the cinnamon, squash, carrots, and tomato paste, and I’ve added my favorite ingredient lemon juice. It also feeds a house full of people or, maybe better, provides enough leftovers for a working week. I hope you love this stew as much as we do down here in South Africa. 

The stew cooking

The stew cooking

Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Chard
Serves 6
This is a hearty savory, sweet stew. Wonderfully aromatic with spices inspired by Moroccan cuisine. Easy to make, this dish yields enough food for a big dinner party or great leftovers for a busy work week.
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Prep Time
12 hr 30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
14 hr 30 min
Prep Time
12 hr 30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
14 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 Spanish onions, chopped
  3. 2 large jalapeño peppers, seeded if desired, chopped
  4. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  6. 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  7. 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  8. 1 ½ teaspoon smoky paprika
  9. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  10. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  11. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  12. Pinch of cayenne
  13. 1 small can of tomato paste (about 6 oz.)
  14. 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped
  15. 1 very large bunch chard, stems sliced 1/2-inch thick, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  16. 2 carrots, diced
  17. 1 small butternut squash, cut into bite-size chunks
  18. 1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover
  19. 1 splash (about 2 tablespoons) of unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  20. Juice from 1 lemon
  21. Juice from ½ lime
  22. 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon or fresh lemon zest, more to taste
  23. 1 cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish
  24. (Optional) arugula, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion and jalapeños and sauté until limp, 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and cayenne and sauté until they release their fragrance, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute, until darkened but not burned.
  2. Add butternut squash, chard stems, carrot and cauliflower, and continue to sauté until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and water to barely cover.
  3. Return heat to high if you lowered it and bring to a simmer. Partly cover pot, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until chickpeas are softened. Add the lemon and lime juice and the splash of apple cider vinegar. Add more water if needed (this should be like a stew).
  4. Add chard leaves, 1/2 the cilantro, and preserved lemon or the fresh lemon zest to pot, and continue simmering until chard is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Season with more salt if desired, and serve garnished with cilantro and arugula, if you want the extra peppery bite.
Notes
  1. I didn't have preserved lemon the first time I tested this recipe, so I used about 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lemon zest (half of which I cut into very thin strips), and it worked beautifully. The next time I make this without preserved lemon (which is so good, if you have access to it), I'll add even more lemon zest because I love the sharp, brightness citrus brings to the stew. My palate prefers hot, spicy, sour, bitter over sweet. This is also why I garnish the stew with arugula and cilantro. I love that peppery bite. However, if you prefer sweet in your savory stick with less lemon zest and skip the added lime juice and arugula garnish.
Adapted from Melissa Clark of The New York Times
http://www.happinessseries.com/
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About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. She is a writer and content creator, working in film, tv, and online. She wrote the popular lifestyle book "Ageless Diet," published in late 2015. And she is currently working on her next book. She also developed a sitcom pilot set in the restaurant business called "Employees Only TV" and is developing another web series comedy about Denver.

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