Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Moroccan Vegetable Stew with Tomato Couscous

My mother often tells a story from when my sister and I were younger. I came downstairs, drawn by the smell of something delicious, and asked my mom what she was cooking for dinner. She replied, “Lentils with roasted vegetables!” I looked at her and said, “On the side of...” My baby sister burst into tears. I think this is how many people feel about the idea of a plant based diet, like you won’t be satisfied, like you’ll be hungry. When I first became vegan, I was inspired by how much of the food I already loved was almost vegan, or at least easily adaptable. In this process, I noticed how often we make amazing, delicious, nourishing food, and then throw beef, chicken, or pork on top of it. Now that I have moved away from these foods, it seems strange to me that I ever thought they were necessary for a complete meal. If anything, they are inhibiting us from feeling the very best that we can. Embracing a vegan diet has made me feel strong and powerful. I feel light, as if I am vibrating with my own energy. Most of all, I feel nourished by the aliveness of everything I eat, the colors, and the flavors, and all the good I am doing for myself. So think about a dish you love, and try it without meat. I think you’ll be surprised by how much it fulfills you, gastronomically, and emotionally.

This dish was inspired by the Frugal Gourmet’s Chicken Tagine with Seven Vegetables. Because I removed the chicken, I just added more vegetables!

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion diced
1 eggplant diced in 1” cubes
2 carrots diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 sweet potato diced in 1" cubes
2 cloves garlic minced
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon curry powder (or Garam Masala)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 zucchini diced
1 large can diced tomatoes drained (reserve liquid)
1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1/2 cups golden raisins
4 tablespoons cilantro chopped
Salt and pepper
1 cup whole wheat couscous

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion, eggplant, carrots, bell pepper, and sweet potato. Sauté until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the garlic, and sauté for one minute more. Add the vegetable stock, cashews, cinnamon, curry, cumin, turmeric, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the zucchini, and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, raisins, and cilantro and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 3/4 cup of the tomato liquid with 1/2 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add 1 cup couscous, stir, cover, and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Scoop couscous onto a plate, cover with vegetable stew, and enjoy!

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