Spicy Chickpea Stew

As any regular readers will know, as a Nutritionist, I am all for increasing vegetable intake especially from a health perspective. Vegetables are full of important vitamins and minerals, as well as that digestive health powerhouse – fibre. And if it has a positive impact on the environment at the same time, well, it’s a win-win all round!

Spicy Chickpea Stew

However, when reducing meat consumption, consider also your recommended dietary intake of some essential nutrients that are more easily obtained from meat, such as iron. Iron comes in two forms: haem iron (found only in animal products) and non-haem (found in both animal and plant products). Haem iron is easier for us to absorb, but with a small hack we can boost absorption of non-haem iron from plants. It isn’t only about choosing good plant-based iron sources but also helping iron absorption by including vitamin C rich foods.

Good plant-based iron sources include chickpeas, dark leafy greens, molasses and dried apricots. This recipe includes all of these ingredients, and by serving it with a lemon-dressed side salad you’ll get the benefit of vitamin C as well.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, crushed

2 - 3 large carrots, diced (1.5 cm cubes) or 2 cups diced pumpkin

Dash of Kaitaia Fire or Tabasco sauce

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. Sumac

½ tsp. Ground cumin

½ tsp. Smoked paprika

1 Tbsp. Paprika

Black pepper, a good grind

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 Tbsp. Tomato paste

¼ cup white wine or water

1 Tbsp. Soy sauce

1 Tbsp. Molasses

2 Tbsp. Dried apricots, chopped (or cranberries)

2 – 3 cups shredded silverbeet &/or spinach

Parsley and mint (optional)

Method

In a large pot over a moderate heat, fry the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot or pumpkin and Kaitaia Fire in the olive oil. When the onion has softened, and gone translucent, add the mustard, sumac, cumin, paprikas, and pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato paste, wine/water, soy sauce and molasses; stir well to combine, turn down the heat and simmer gently until the liquid reduces and the sauce thickens. Stir through the apricots and spinach; cook for a further 3 minutes.

Garnish with chopped parsley and mint. Serve with rice or couscous, and a side salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.