As a dietitian who has spent countless hours in the kitchen over the last decade, I’ve learned a thing or two about culinary nutrition. If I were to give one bit of advice to anyone, it’d be to cut back on sugar and salt where you can, but don’t skimp on spices. In fact, pack as many spices in as your taste buds will tolerate.
In addition to being relatively inexpensive and low in calories and their ability to enhance certain flavors, some spices are also potent sources of antioxidants. Studies suggest certain ones, particularly the trio of turmeric, coriander and cinnamon found in this stew, may even protect the cardiovascular system from tissue damage and inflammation caused by high blood sugar, elevated triglycerides and high cholesterol.
This sweet potato chickpea stew is a quick, one-pot meal that is hearty enough to feed a group of hungry friends and family (who can do your heart wonders, too). Pureeing half the sweet potatoes after they’ve simmered helps thicken the stew and enhances its subtly sweet flavor.
For a filling, feel-good meal, serve up a big bowl and spoon some over a warm piece of naan or some brown basmati rice. Freeze leftovers flat in a freezer bag for a quick and healthy reheatable meal down the road!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1½ tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
- 3 ounces baby spinach (about 2 handfuls)
- naan, pita or brown rice
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, fresh ginger, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon and black pepper and saute 30 to 45 seconds. Add diced tomatoes, 3 cups vegetable broth, chickpeas and sweet potatoes. Stir well, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
Transfer about half to a blender along with remaining 1 cup vegetable broth and puree until smooth. This will help thicken the stew and add flavor. Return pureed potatoes to the pot. If a bit more sweetness is desired, add brown sugar. Stir in the spinach and simmer just until wilted.
Serve immediately with fresh nan, pita bread or brown rice.
Photo/video: Elle Penner, RD MPH