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Author Notes: This autumnal recipe satisfies my desire to eat something comfy while snuggling under a soft quilt. Smoked paprika lends just the right amount of warmth and spice. Chickpeas and potatoes give it substance. Cauliflower and a medley of vegetables provide a ton of vitamins, minerals and fiber. A secret ingredient makes it rich in texture, without adding tons of fat. If you're feeling a cold coming on, this recipe may be a good one to prepare. If you're entertaining vegetarians and carnivores, you can serve this stew with an assortment of good bread, Spanish ham, Manchego cheese, olives and marcona almonds. Bring the pot to the table. Ladle the stew into the bowls and let your guests help themselves to the accompaniments. Best of all, it can be made earlier in the day before you plan on eating it. If making it ahead of time, be sure to grab some fresh parsley or basil for addition upon serving. Also, hold back on the peas and throw them at the last minute. Reheated stews are so wonderful, but they benefit from a touch of freshness and color.
I like to add garbanzo bean flour (secret ingredient) to most of my veggie and vegan stews. Bob's Red Mill makes a regular and a gluten free version. I find the regular version in my supermarket. A bag of this will do wonders for all of your vegan/veggie stews. The garbanzo bean flour works beautifully to give most any stew a luxurious texture. Potato starch mixed with water will also work. If you decide not to thicken it, this stew will be more like a Spanish style minestrone soup which can be eaten with some small shaped pasta and shavings of Manchego cheese.
Makes an entire large pot
- 2 medium to large onions, chopped
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, your choice of color. I used a red and green one. Slice them in half and remove seeds.
- 3 small to medium zucchini, chopped
- 3 baking potatoes, chopped
- 1 15-16 ounce can of chickpeas, cannellini beans or white beans rinsed and drained
- 1 26.46 ounce box of Pomi Chopped Tomatoes or 1 28 ounce can of quality chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
- Olive oil for cooking
- Good drizzle of honey or pinches of sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes
- 3 teaspoons of smoked paprika
- 3 teaspoons of dried oregano
- A tiny pinch of saffron, 6 threads or so (optional)
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 4-5 cups of cold water
- Suggestions to serve: rice, crusty bread, drizzle of good olive oil, quinoa, toasted slivered almonds, chopped parsley or basil, shaved or grated Manchego cheese
- Garbanzo bean flour mixed with cold water to thicken the stew (see notes)
- Place the sliced peppers, cut side down, on an oven safe baking sheet lined with tinfoil and broil them on high until their skins are charred and blackened. Remove from the oven, place peppers in a covered bowl or wrap in tin foil to steam. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skin and discard. Chop them and set aside. Meanwhile, saute onions in a large pot. I use a Dutch Oven, and cook the onions with olive oil, salt and pepper until soft. Once the onions have softened, add the chopped cauliflower, zucchini, chickpeas, potatoes, tomatoes, honey, spices and 4-5 cups of water. The water should just cover the vegetables with some peeking out. Adjust the salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir in the chopped roasted peppers, reduce the heat and simmer for about 35-40 minutes or until the vegetables and potatoes are soft. Mash some of the cooked potatoes in the pot with a back of a spoon. Stir in the garbanzo bean and water mixture. Start with 4 teaspoons of garbanzo bean flour mixed with 4 teaspoons of cold water and stir into the stew. Add more of this mixture if you want it thicker. Toss in the frozen peas and stir again. Serve with suggestions and enjoy!