Even though the weather is getting warmer outside, I’m still craving the comfort of a big pot of stew. Soups and stews are a huge part of my diet, and for good reason – they are easy to prepare ahead of time, they are full of nutritious
ingredients, and they (usually) are easy on my digestive system.
Phase 2 of the Elimination Diet is a bit challenging for me as a recipe developer! So many of the ingredients that I often use in my recipes are forbidden, including legumes and nightshade vegetables (except sweet potatoes). Typical Moroccan-themed soups and stews include chickpeas (legumes), tomatoes or tomato paste, Harissa or cayenne/chili flakes (all nightshades) and couscous (gluten, which I already omit from my diet and isn’t allowed in the Elimination Diet).
Despite the prohibited ingredients, I succeeded in making a delicious version of a classic Moroccan stew. The base of the stew is onions and garlic, which are cooked along with fragrant and aromatic spices to build a strong base of flavor. Turmeric gives the bright yellow color and adds an excellent dose of anti-inflmmatory value. Make sure to use ample amounts of freshly ground black pepper and fat (coconut oil) to aid in the absorption and efficacy of turmeric within the body. Coconut milk gives a silky texture, creaminess, and healthy fat to make this plant-based stew rich and thick. To add substantiality, I added sweet potato, carrots and cauliflower; these vegetables are wonderful ingredients to add into stews because they add absorb some of the liquid as they cook. Green beans and baby spinach add a beautiful splash of freshness and color to the dish, in addition to more nutrients and flavor.
This recipe comes together quickly, although it can also be made in-advance and served the next day. I like to eat a big bowl of the stew over some quinoa, for added protein.
Moroccan Vegetable Stew
Ingredients: (use organic whenever possible)
2 T coconut oil
1 onion, chopped (1 1/2 C)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t sea salt, or more, to taste
1 t turmeric
1 t cumin
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper, or more, to taste
1 can coconut milk
2 C vegetable broth or water
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and diced
3 large carrots, scrubbed and diced
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1/2” pieces
6 cups baby spinach, large stems removed
2 C cooked quinoa, for serving
1/2 C chopped cilantro, for serving (optional)
Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions and sauté until soft, approximately 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and continue to saute for an additional minute. Add the sea salt, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and black pepper to the pot and stir to coat the onions and garlic with the spices.
Pour the vegetable broth and coconut milk into the pot and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potato, carrots, and cauliflower, stir and cover with the lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender but not mushy, approximately 15 minutes. Add the green beans and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the baby spinach. Cover the pot to allow the spinach to wilt. Stir the wilted spinach into the mixture. Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt, pepper, and spices if necessary.
Serve the stew over quinoa and topped with chopped cilantro, if desired.
Recipe yields 6 generous servings
Stew can be made 2 days ahead of serving. Store in a covered container and reheat gently before serving.