African Inspired Vegan Chickpea & Peanut Butter Stew

With autumn fast upon us, I thought it was time to start bringing out the vegan soup and stew recipes. What better way to save time and stay warm than a slow cooking pot of vegetables, herbs & spices? None I can think of!

So I came across this recipe on Minimalist Baker and thought to myself, why not?

As always, feel free to make adjustments to fit your palate but unless you have some type of allergy, I really recommend you give it a solid chance first.

So what exactly makes this vegan stew, African inspired? Firstly, the peanuts or in my case, the peanut butter. And the spices. I used ras el hanout because, let’s face it, this spice blend is packed with flavor and SO delicious. Bonus tip: coat this on your potatoes before making a batch of fries in the oven or the air fryer! I also added harissa paste because I can’t get enough spice.

The ingredient list is pretty simple:

Chickpeas
Onion
Coconut milk (creamy)
Garlic
Tomato paste
Diced tomatoes (fresh or canned, its up to you)
Peanut butter
Bulgur
Coconut oil
Red bell pepper

Heat the coconut oil (or water) in a big pot or skillet and add the ras el hanout and turmeric powder, cooking until fragrant. Then add onion, garlic and bell pepper and cook 4 to 6 minutes, not too much because we’re just getting started. Add salt and pepper.

Add tomato and harissa paste, tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk, peanut butter and water or broth.

I only added about 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter to the actual soup because peanut butter is crazy caloric. Instead I mixed the remaining peanut butter with hot water and drizzled it over the top for flavor and a pretty garnish.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid is thick and creamy.

You can add corn or tapioca start to thicken if you decide not to go crazy with coconut milk, or just enjoy it more soup-y than stew-y.

I served it on a bed of bulgur instead of rice because I love bulgur and I thought it would add a nice texture to the stew.

This meal wasn’t as calorie friendly as I prefer my vegan meals, thanks to the addition of coconut milk and peanut butter, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made if you want to try something news. Right?

My only regret was that I couldn’t find any African or specifically, West African beer to go along with this meal. Otherwise it was a great new meal to test out and enjoy.

Vegan Chicken & Indian Stew

Soup season is upon us! That means it’s time to start experimenting with all the veggies you can get your hands on to warm up your bones, nourish your body without giving it too much of the bad stuff.

This time around I’ve decided to be a little bit naughty in my take on tarka dal, which is just another way of saying lentil stew. It is one of my favorite recipes and this time I used dry soy chunks because, well why not?

Use whatever soy (or seitan or tempeh) product you want for the vegan chicken or leave it out. I was in the mood for some soya so I rehydrated it and drained it before seasoning the hell out of it! I tossed it with a variety of Indian and middle eastern spices, which is why there’s such a dark color on the soya chunks.

Next you’ll want to tend to the lentils. Use red or green, but I almost always use yellow for this dish. If you’re feeling creative, try the beluga lentils, just be warned they have a much longer cooking time.

You can cook the lentils separately and add them later or toss them in at the end and let it simmer until cooking is complete. I prefer to let it cook with all the aromatics so while the vegan chicken drained of water, I started chopping.

This dish is as colorful as it is nutritious. The colors are due to onions, garlic, ginger, bell peppers, turmeric and lemongrass if you have it, though some will say it’s optional. I say it’s soup and all the feel good stuff you can toss in will be better for you in the long run.

Saute the aromatics in oil or water until soft, mixing in curry and other spices. Stir in the lentils and the liquid and let it cook until everything is soft and creamy and smelling so good you think you’ll die if you don’t eat it RIGHT NOW. While the soup is cooking, put the rice on. I used a 12 minute Jasmine rice because I love jasmine rice.

In my opinion one of the things that makes tarka dal one of the best stews on the planet is the lemon. Let me say that again, the LEMON. I squeeze half a lemon during the last five minutes of cooking and I add more once its done and more during plating. It’s optional, of course, but if you like spice this will cut down on it a little. If you love spice, add the lemon anyway, it goes great with Sriracha and other spicy hot sauces.

One important thing about using dry soy products is that they take on a lot of water. A LOT. You can add it to the soup mix if you want, but be warned it will be a juicy mess. I kept them crispy in the fridge and served them on top so they could be mixed in during eating. It’s an extra step but it’s more than worth it because you get crispy spiced vegan chicken to go with the creamy lentil stew.

This was super delicious and the best part? There was enough for lunch the next day!

Creamy Potato & Beer Stew

It’s no secret to anyone paying attention that my household is solidly a soup household. We don’t object to soup and there’s no such thing as too many days with soup on the menu, which is a good thing since the weather has already dipped into the negatives over the past few days.

The negatives y’all. Despite living in Europe for a few years now, my skin is squarely stuck in Los Angeles, trembling terribly under this ice cold weather. But the only thing good about this kind of cold is that nothing feels better after being out in the cold than piping hot soup. And I do mean piping hot. It’s a constant debate in our house because He likes it warm enough to enjoy but not burn his mouth and if it isn’t still steaming in my bowl, I’m not interested.

But this was no day for a light little vegetable soup so I decided to make a stew and I knew I wanted to add lentils so we have potato and lentil stew, which isn’t quite as simple as it sounds flavor-wise, but it’s pretty easy to make.

This recipe was based on a non-vegan recipe I came across in line at the supermarket in Austria though I’m sure I left out a few key ingredients aside from heavy cream and beef broth. I’m totally okay with that!

Making this soup is easy but it does require some prep which is often my weakness. I tend to chop the stuff I need first and then turn on the fire which means I’m always rushing to chop-dice-slice everything else before anything burns. But this time I actually remembered to remind myself to do all the prep first and it made all the difference.

What you’ll need: 6 potatoes, 1 fennel bulb, 1 parsnip, 2 leeks (just the white part), 10 garlic cloves, 1 cup yellow lentils, 1 brown beer, vegetable stock, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt & pepper, basil, marjoram.

Get the lentils started cooking so everything comes together at the same time.

I used a splash of olive oil (cold pressed, extra virgin) to get a little bit of char on the first four ingredients and then I added the garlic and cooked for another 8 or so minutes before adding broth. Let the mixture cook until it’s soft and let cool so you can get a stick blender and make it nice and creamy.

Use the blender to get the potato-fennel mixture nice and soft and creamy. It tastes like there’s butter and cream in it, but there isn’t. It’s just the power of the potato. Now that you’ve got perfect smoothness, add the beer a 1/2 cup at a time plus the seasonings until you’re satisfied. Turn the heat back on until it’s hot and you’re ready to grub!

To serve, just add about a serving spoon of lentils right in the center.

No stew meal is complete without salad and thick, herby, buttery bread.

Fair warning; this recipe makes about 8 normal sized bowls of soup so be prepared to pig out or have leftovers for tomorrow!

Too bad I didn’t remember to get a photo of the beer but it was a dark hefe from Paulaner. Brown beer works best to me because I’m not a fan of IPA and blond beers aren’t my favorite. If you try a different beer, let me know how it turns out.

And don’t be shy about photos!