Who says comforting food has to be unhealthy? This hearty butternut squash and chickpea stew is both nutritious and satisfying. The bright and warm Moroccan flavors will be a welcome surprise to taste buds exhausted by holiday overindulgence.
It’s time for another virtual lunch date with my pals on twitter, and today we’re eating hearty stews. As I mulled over some stew ideas, my first thought was to create something with beef and butternut squash.
I knew I had a squash on the counter and some tri-tip in fridge and the combination sounded like a great one for stew. But when my coffee-addled brain realized that I had already cut the tri-tip into steaks and thrown them in some marinade, I decided I’d better rethink my plan. Then I realized that I didn’t have a butternut squash sitting on the counter either.
Yes, I think I am going crazy.
Since I liked the idea of a stew featuring butternut squash, I picked one up at the store yesterday. I decided against buying more beef, figuring it would be more fun (and inexpensive) to create a stew using ingredients I had on hand.
After surveying the contents of my pantry, I grabbed a can of chickpeas, some canned tomatoes and a half-empty bag of Israeli couscous I found stuffed way in the back. My hearty stew was coming together nicely.
I ran across a few butternut squash and chickpea recipes online and they all seemed to incorporate Moroccan flavors. Since I had half a jar of preserved lemons in my fridge, I decided to follow suit.
Some of the recipes included raisins, but I chose to go with dried tart cherries. While cherries might seem like an unusual ingredient for a stew, Moroccan tagines often include dried fruit and I love the combination of lemon and cherries.
The stew turned out to be a great lunch and there’s a good chance I’ll be eating more for dinner. The bright flavors of preserved lemon and tart cherries contrast nicely with the warm cumin and cinnamon and I absolutely love the added texture of the Israeli couscous.
I found it hard to stop eating, but the soup is healthy enough that I didn’t feel guilty after a second bowl. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Nutrition Info per serving (1/6 of recipe): 229 calories; 4 grams fat; 42 grams total carbohydrate; 6 grams fiber; 6 grams sugars; 6 grams protein. Nutrition information is approximate – analyzed through NutritionData.com
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Previous Virtual Lunch Dates:
Other Hearty Stews from the ‘Let’s Lunch’ Crew: