I spent last Tuesday evening cozied up at Two If By Sea cafe in Dartmouth, just after it had turned off its fancy-schmancy coffee machines and welcomed some local foodie guests in for a Feisty Chef cooking class.
The Feisty Chef, aka Renée Lavallée, is a local chef, blogger, mom, and self-proclaimed cheese-junkie who hosts cooking series for home chef-wannabes of all experience levels. I was stoked to hear that she was planning a class focusing on meat-free meals as part of a January cleanse that she, and many others (based on the class’ fantastic attendance) are doing to get the holiday gunk out.
The food and company was great – Renée whipped up some awesome eats, including a soba noodle and veg dish with a decadent peanut sauce, a lovely lentil soup, and a crazy delicious warm salad using pretty humble ingredients (potato and cauliflower!) dressed with a tahini sauce — it was anything but traditional. All three dishes were awesome! And got me to thinking…
My last few batches of soup have been good; none of them I’ve been crazy enough about to post though. I always puree my soups, thinking that I like them better that way. But I was definitely inspired by Renée’s lentil sweet potato soup to mix things up a bit, and get my chunky soup on.
I came across this recipe on Naturally Ella, and knew it was exactly what I was looking for. I tinkered around with it a bit, and the resulting dish was awesome! If you’re someone who hasn’t delved into using quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) yet, what are you waiting for? Thankfully, it’s slowly starting to lose its reputation as a trendy/novelty/hippie food, and is a staple on my grocery list. It’s majorly good for you, and is just as easy (if not more so) to whip up as rice on the stove.
The true testament to this dish’s mega-tastiness –> carnivorous BF loved it and went back for seconds. No ‘his’ and ‘hers’ meals from now on when this is on the menu!
Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew with Quinoa
Adapted from: Naturally Ella
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 29 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup milk* (I used unsweetened almond)
- 2 cups canned chickpeas
- Salt, to taste
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan on the stove. Add quinoa, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender and fluffy. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium. Add in onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. Stir in the garlic and spices, cooking for another minute or two. Next, stir in the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, vegetable broth, milk (if using) and chickpeas. If you are using canned, be sure to drain and rinse the beans. Let stew cook down for 20 minutes.
Finally, roughly chop spinach and stir into the stew. Continue to cook until spinach has slightly wilted, about another 1-2 minutes.
Serve in bowls with stew over the quinoa. Keep any extra sealed up in the fridge. Great leftovers!