This recipe for a vegan stew is perfect to make in bulk, either as a meal to prep and refrigerate for busy weeks or to split with your friends (a great way to make evening meals both cheaper and quicker). With butternut squash, chickpeas, and lentils, this stew is bursting with superfoods to boost your protein, vitamins, fibre and iron levels (shout out to all my vegetarian anaemics out there) as well as being low in both fat and salt. Using an impressively short list of spices that you will either find in your kitchen, or are worth picking up for their general use, this dish manages to capture the smells and flavours of a Moroccan street market whilst requiring minimal prep time and effort. It can also be easily adapted from a simple dish using (mostly) kitchen staples to something a bit more bougie.
1. Peel the butternut squash until all the skin and pale flesh is removed leaving orange flesh only. Cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds then cut the squash into 2-3cm cubes.
2. Dice the onions (Google “Waitrose - How to Dice an Onion” for useful method - advice may be one of the only affordable things Waitrose offers).
3. Roughly chop garlic and cut celery into ½ cm pieces.
4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions for a few minutes then add celery, garlic, black pepper, cinnamon and turmeric.
5. After 5 minutes or when the onions are translucent, add tomatoes, chickpeas and lentils and bring to the boil.
6. Add the stock and squash, cover and simmer gently for around 45 minutes or until the squash is tender (but not mush), stirring periodically to avoid sticking.
7. Ten minutes before serving, add the orzo or pasta of your choice and sweetcorn.
8. Add your garnish of choice, serve and enjoy!
The recipe is fantastically flexible and forgiving. Orzo can be replaced with rice, vermicelli or even spaghetti (if you’re feeling particularly sacrilegious). Sweet potato can be substituted for squash if you can’t find it or don’t feel like wrestling with one, with very similar health benefits. Finally, for those on a more relaxed budget, these extra suggestions can change it from kitchen staple to date night special.
- Stewing beef or lamb (50-100g per person) added with the tomatoes. (halal, non-vegan)
- A pinch of saffron will give it an even deeper orange colour.
- A generous splash of red wine while it simmers provides a deep and rich flavour. Recommend anything between £5-8 for cooking with. (vegan, non-halal)
- Some chopped dates sprinkled on top to serve.