By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Hearty and nourishing, this vegetable stew is perfect on cold, fall days and a terrific way of meeting your daily veggie quota. I usually make it after looking in my fridge and realizing I have too many fresh vegetables on hand (not a bad problem to have!). While I use squash and peppers in this vegetable stew recipe, make it with whatever veggies and legumes you like. Just remember to add any leafy greens like kale or spinach at the end, since they cook much faster than the other veggies.
You can make this in a crockpot – set it and forget it – or on the stove in a large saucepan.
*Choose organic veggies when possible, especially if using bell peppers.
- 2 to 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or flavored olive oil (garlic or jalapeño garlic)
- 1 medium or large onion, diced
- 2-4 cloves / about 2 tsp of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced (alternately use powdered ginger or ginger juice)
- 3 stalks of celery, sliced thin
- 5-6 carrots, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 small or 1 large summer squash – yellow or zucchini, diced
- 1 large tomato, diced (alternately, use a box of chopped tomatoes)
- 2 cups marinara sauce, tomato juice or tomato puree
- 1-2 cups of cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans (canned is fine, just rinse them first)
- 1-2 cups veggie stock or water
- 2-3 tsp Mexican Spice Blend and/or curry powder
- Pink Himalayan or sea salt, and pepper, to taste
- Optional: 1-2 tsp jalapeño or habanero hot peppers, minced
- Jalapeño Garlic or Garlic Olive Oil
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- High-fat, plain Greek yogurt or goat cheese, dollop as a finish
- Grated cheddar or Jack cheese, as garnish
Prep veggies: wash and slice or dice all the veggies into bite-sized pieces. If using a crockpot, add all ingredients in and set to low if cooking for 4+ hours or med-high, if you want it to cook faster.
For stovepot veggie stew, start by sautéing the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and bell peppers in 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil on low or medium-low until the veggies are tender. Use extra virgin olive oil for a milder flavor, or a garlic or jalapeño garlic olive oil for an added kick of flavor – garlic olive oil is also great when you find yourself out of (or simply don’t feel like peeling and chopping) fresh garlic.
Add the squash and chopped tomatoes, and continue to cook until tender, then pour in the marinara, pureed tomatoes or tomato juice and veggie stock or water, then bring to a simmer. Add the garbanzo beans, Mexican Spice Blend and minced hot peppers (if using) and simmer for 10-20 minutes. If you like curry, you can use curry powder instead of, or in addition to, Mexican Spice Blend – just adjust amount accordingly. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste. You can serve immediately, or keep the stew on low heat to slowly keep cooking for a few hours.
When serving this, I like to finish each dish with a drizzle of jalapeño garlic or garlic flavored olive oil and chopped fresh cilantro. The jalapeño garlic oil gives it a nice kick of chili heat (and can replace fresh minced hot peppers). Family members of mine also enjoy it with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, goat cheese or some grated cheese. No matter what you put on it, make it something you enjoy so veggies are a dish you love eating!
From my heart to yours,
© 2020 Stephen Sinatra, MD. All rights reserved.