Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Plant-powered stew with couscous and braised chickpeas
This recipe features 12 different plants, with aubergine (eggplant) as the star. It is taken from “The Plant-Based Diet Revolution: 28 Days to a happier Gut and a Healthier You”, by Dr Alan Desmond and Bob Andrew.
vegan, vegetarian, oil free, refined sugar free, nut free, gluten free option, soy free, entertaining, stew
1 large aubergine (eggplant)
1 red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ cup green olives, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1½ tbsp harissa
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes or passata
(¾ cup home made vegetable stock
100g (1 cup) baby spinach
Freshly ground black pepper
For the braised chickpeas:
1 x 400g can chickpeas
Pinch of saffron (optional)
½ cinnamon stick
⅓ cup wholegrain couscous
About ½ cup boiling water
Handful of parsley, chopped
Few fresh mint leaves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 220°c. Put the aubergine on a baking tray and place in the oven for 30 minutes, turning once or twice, until it is soft and collapsing and the skin is blistered. Pinch it with a pair of tongs to check. Set aside to cool slightly.
Warm a few tablespoons water in a large saucepan, then add the onion and red pepper. Fry over a medium heat for 15 minutes, until soft and starting to colour. Add a dash more water if the mixture looks like catching.
Meanwhile, tip the chickpeas and their liquid into a large saucepan. Add the saffron (if using) and cinnamon and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 20 minutes, until the chickpeas are very soft and starting to break down.
When the onion mixture is ready, stir in the garlic, olives, cumin, paprika and harissa. Fry for 1 minute before adding the tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or so.
When the chickpeas are ready, stir in the couscous and add the boiling water, just enough to cover everything. Cover the pan and set aside for 5–10 minutes, until the couscous has plumped up and become tender.
When the aubergines are cool enough to handle, peel away and discard the burnt skin; don’t be too fussy, the odd fleck adds a bit of smokiness. Roughly chop the flesh and stir it into the stew along with the spinach. Taste and adjust the seasoning with pepper and a squeeze or two of lemon juice.
Use a fork to fluff up the couscous and chickpeas. Stir in the parsley and mint just before serving with the stew.
For a gluten free option, omit the couscous.
'The Plant-Based Diet Revolution' book is available from all good book-sellers. It features more than 80 delicious and completely plant-based recipes, clear explanations of how to eat for optimal gut microbial health, and Dr Desmond’s Ten Prescriptions for better health on a plant-based diet. Published by Yellow Kite.
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