Friday, 19 September 2014

Moroccan-Spiced Superfood Stew

A delicious and hearty dish, full of flavour - perfect as a vegetarian main or a tasty vegetable accompaniment to meat or fish.

Packed full of 'superfoods' (or in other words, a great bunch of healthy vegetables and legumes, full of nutrients - I'm a sucker for alliteration, and a title including all the ingredients turned out a bit too long!), this Moroccan spiced squash, chickpea and kale stew is thickened with lentils (now can you see why I shortened it to spiced superfood stew?); and the combination of pulses and vegetables gives a wonderfully balanced dish which is a meal in itself, or can be topped with crumbled feta for a contrasting flavour or texture, maybe with a handful of toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds, and a scattering of pomegranate seeds?

           Moroccan Spiced Superfood Stew

For the non-vegetarians, you could go with my super easy Harissa Chicken, for a quick or healthy twist (recipe here) - or for a weekend roast dinner, rub some of that harissa paste into a shoulder of lamb, and roast at gas mark 3 for 3 or 4 hours, then pull apart and serve on top, scattered with some fresh coriander...


Serves 6 to 8 (as a hearty all-in-one side topped with protein, or served with extra vegetables on the side), from 179 calories per serving, if you're counting (if using one tin of tomatoes and serving eight. If serving six, for a bigger appetite, it's  239 calories per serving. If using a second tin of tomatoes, you need to add an extra 13-17 calories per serving). [Calorie counts in square brackets]
It might seem like there are a few ingredients, but it's easy to make, I promise! And it will also keep for a few days in the fridge, and/or freeze very well.


  • 520g butternut squash, diced into 1.5-2cm cubes (I bought one around 1.1 kilos, and cut the top off and peeled it) [218]
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or 240g cooked chickpeas - I used mine from the freezer) [314]
  • 170g curly kale, shredded - or spinach, see notes (weight after removing any tough central stalks - I bought a 180g bag of ready-prepared and just picked out the odd piece of stem I saw - if you want to give it an extra shredding to 'hide' it from your children a little more, give it a quick pulse in the food processor until it's more finely chopped!) [58]
  • 100g split red lentils [318]
  • 1/2 tbsp (light) olive oil [68]
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced (100g) [41]
  • 1 x 15ml tbsp cumin seeds [23]
  • 3 fat cloves garlic, finely sliced [18]
  • 2 inch piece of root ginger, peeled and grated [7]
  • 1 large red chilli, ,deseeded and finely chopped[5]
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken stock (I use Knorr) [20]
  • 540g tomato passata [173]
  • 1 x 15ml tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste) [4]
  • 1 tsp turmeric [7]
  • 1 tbsp cinammon [15]
  • (Optional pinch of saffron, if you're feeling extravagant)
  • 1 to 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes (or you could use fresh skinned and chopped, see method) [100-200]
  • 1 x 15ml tbsp pomegranate molasses (or honey, optional) [38]
  • Large handful each of coriander and parsley leaves (at least 10g each) [5]
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • (Optional harissa paste, if you want to pack more of a punch)


Fry the sliced onion in the oil in a large, heavy-based non-stick pan (which has a lid) for 3 or 4 minutes, until softened, then add the cumin seeds and continue cooking for a further couple of minutes, being careful nothing burns. Add the garlic, ginger, and chilli and cook for a further minute or so, until fragrant.

Add the stock, passata, lemon juice, spices (turmeric, cinammon and saffron, if using), butternut squash and chickpeas. Rinse the split lentils in a sieve, drain, and add to the pan, then bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and put the lid on the pan.

Cook for ten minutes, then remove the lid and stir in the kale. Continue to cook for a couple more minutes until starting to wilt into the mixture (if at this point you feel it's looking dry, add a little more hot water), then replace the lid and simmer for a further 8 to 10 minutes, until the squash, lentils and kale are just cooked.

At this point, depending on the texture you'd like (and how much further you'd like to stretch it, perhaps?), add one to two 400g tins of chopped tomatoes (or if you have a glut you could add fresh, skinned and chopped tomatoes), and the pomegranate molasses. Cook for a further couple of minutes at a simmer. Meanwhile chop the coriander and parsley leaves, then add them to the stew, reserving a few to garnish, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, give everything a good stir and taste.

Finally, if you want to give it extra 'oomph', you can stir in a spoonful or two of harissa if you like, to taste! Serve scattered with the reserved herbs and enjoy.
This is just a couple of portions in a small dish - it makes a lot!

If you're not a big fan of kale, you could substitute spinach, and stir in a couple of minutes before the end, so it just wilts into the stew.

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