On a rainy November day I can’t think of anything more comforting than a spiced, freshly cooked stew. The combination of delicious legumes, vegetables, and greens, bathed in a deliciously flavored tomato sauce, is my way of getting through cold winter days and rainy autumn evenings.
Making a stew is probably the easiest step to a healthy way of cooking. It doesn’t require skills or special ingredients – you can use any available healthy food from your fridge and pantry, add your favorite spices, tomato juice, and you’ll have a delicious dish ready in no time. I really think that anyone can make a stew, and even if you are afraid of anything kitchen-related, but still want to eat something comforting and healthy, a stew recipe is what you should go for.
I like my stews to be rich in ingredients, colorful, and loaded with nutrients, so I try to store ingredients of all colors in my pantry to make sure I have everything in hand whenever I decide to go for a stew. There aren’t any special rules when preparing a stew, and you can combine the ingredients any way you like or have available:
- Legumes – can be cooked or canned; they load your stew with good quality proteins, fibers, and magnesium. Choose from any of the following – lentils (puy, black, red), beans (mung, fava, red kidney, canellini, black), chickpeas, soy nuts.
- Vegetables – enrich the dish with vitamins and minerals – sweet potato, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, carrots, mushrooms, beet root, onions, garlic.
- Cereals – rice (brown, black or wild).
- Pseudocereals – quinoa, amaranth.
- Greens – load your dish with calcium, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory nutrients – spinach, kale, beet greens, carrot greens, swiss chard, mangold.
- Spices – turmeric is my favorite for its amazing anti-inflammatory effects, but you can also use freshly ground black pepper, garam masala, paprika, curry paste, chili powder, or any other spice you prefer.
- Tomatoes – canned tomatoes in their juices, tomato paste, or tomato sauce. When in season, I prefer fresh tomatoes for a richer flavor.
- Extras – coconut milk for a velvety texture and special flavor, lemon or lime juice, fresh parsley, tarragon, or coriander.
My sweet potato and squash stew was all about beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory nutrients, so a little bit of healthy fats were needed to increase the absorption of the nutrients. I paired the gorgeous orange with the vivid green of an avocado, and to load the dish even more with nutrients, I topped it with an organic poached egg. Delish!
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut in small cubes
- 1 small carnival squash, peeled and cut in small cubes
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 cup canned tomatoes
- ½ cup filtered water
- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- ½ tsp pink Himalayan salt
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- For serving
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 organic poached eggs
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut in slices
- Heat the coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add the onion and garlic and fry over low heat heat for two minutes.
- Add the sweet potato and squash cubes and cook for five minutes, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon.
- Pour over the tomato juice, add turmeric and chili flakes, cover with a lid and simmer for ten minutes.
- Add the black beans, season with salt, stir to combine and cook for five more minutes.
- Add the spinach leaves, stir to combine and remove from the heat.
- Serve in bowls with avocado slices, chopped parsley and poached egg.