What could be better than a delicious vegetable stew!
Although the carpenter has yet to come and open up my walls and the plumber has yet to come and fix the supposed leak, I couldn’t take it any more and had to cook. Besides, the water is no longer flowing onto my floor so I decided to give it a go and cook until something bad happened. If I can make a yummy, healthy dinner with my entire kitchen torn apart and the threat of a leak, you can do it under normal circumstances!
I decided to make vegetable stew because I happened to buy lots of veggies earlier in the week (before I knew that my kitchen would be swimming) and needed to eat them before they went bad. This meal is exceptionally delicious and really good for you – when else do you get six different veggies in one serving! Don’t worry though, the key of this dish is to cook with what you have, so if you don’t have all the veggies just do the best you can. I’ve made it multiple times and it never comes out exactly identical but that’s the beauty of the dish.
Serves: 6 Time: 45 minutes
- 1 medium onion, white yellow or red, diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
- 3-5 stalks celery
- 3-4 carrots
- 1 large or 2 medium green peppers
- 1 white baking potato
- ½ cup peas, frozen or fresh
- ¼-1/2 cup lima beans, frozen
- 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1 tbsp parsley
- 1 tbsp cumin OR 1 tbsp basil and 1 tsp oregano (if desired)
- 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon*
- rice (white or brown), about ¼ cup dried per person
*if you want to make this recipe vegan or vegetarian, use vegetable base Better Than Bouillon (yes, it exists), or don’t use it at all and add a bit of extra salt to give it flavor.
- I used the vegetables that I had on hand. You can use all or just some of what I recommend.
- You could also add/substitute 1 or 2 zucchini or squash (cut into half circles)
- You can use red, yellow, or orange peppers instead of green peppers
- Feel free to use other vegetables in your fridge, try to cut them so that all pieces have approximately equal volume.
- You can use fresh tomatoes instead of (or with) the canned paste. I would substitute 3 fresh tomatoes for the paste, dice them and put them in right after the onions. You will need to add less water throughout the course of cooking because the tomatoes will become quite juicy as they break down.
- I like to use garbanzo beans because they tend to hold up the best and not fall apart. You could try it with any other bean but I never have so do that at your own risk.
- I like to use cumin in this dish because I find that it gives it a very Turkish taste. However, the combination of basil and oregano could also be great, giving an Italian flavor. I encourage you to use whatever you happen to have, and whatever sounds the most appetizing.
- You can use a handful of diced fresh parsley instead of dried parsley.
Add the olive oil to your large pot and bring to medium heat. Dice your onion and add, cooking until translucent (about 10 minutes). Once onions are cooked, open one can of tomato paste and add to the pots. Mix well and watch carefully. You want to let it cook but keep scrapping the bottom of the pan so that it doesn’t burn. After about 5 minutes the paste should be cooked. Don’t throw away the can of paste, instead, fill it with water and add the water to the paste. Bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, wash and cut your celery. Put your small pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. I like to make this dish by boiling each vegetable for a few minutes so that they get soft, but you can also just cook them in the sauce, the only downside is that it will take much longer. Once your water is boiling, add the celery and cook for about three minutes, or until soft. Take the celery out of the pot with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce. Keep the water boiling.
Now wash and cut your pepper, cut into chunks and add directly to the sauce. Peel and cut your carrots, add to the boiling water. Cook for about five minutes or until soft. Add to the sauce. If you find that the vegetables are not saucy enough, take some of the boiling water from the vegetables to add.
Bring your vegetables to a simmer. Add the peas, cover and let heat through for a few minutes. Add the lima beans, mix and cover again. Once you bring it back up to a simmer, add your salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, parsley, and additional seasonings. You can continue to add water to increase the sauciness, but be sure to also add the Better Than Bouillon to not dilute the flavor.
Peel and cut your potato into small chunks, add to boiling water. Let cook for about 10 minutes or until potato is soft. You want to make sure that the potato is fully cooked or it will not taste good.
When you are almost ready to eat and all the vegetables in the pot are soft, open your can of garbanzo beans and drain out the liquid. Add them to the stew. They will already be cooked, so you just need them to heat all the way through. Once heated, add the potatoes. Let cook just until the potatoes are warm and the whole stew is at a slight simmer.
Serve with rice, bulgur, cous cous, or any other side you like! Note that white rice takes about 15 minutes to cook (45 for brown!) so make sure you plan accordingly and give yourself enough time.