As the weather gets colder and the CSA (community supported agriculture) delivery tends more and more towards the fall and winter vegetables, I have been trying lots of different squash and root vegetable recipes. One of the challenges of these veggies is that they take a long time to cook, which is not so helpful when you get home from work or a busy day and only have 20-30 minutes to make dinner. This has definitely been a challenge for me in the past few, very busy, weeks.
One solution that I have been using a lot is to make a big batch of roasted vegetables and then reheat or recrisp them when I need them. This is a great and healthy way to use these veggies. Sometimes I cut them into bite-sized pieces, recently I’ve made them into french fry shapes and put out dipping sauces—the boys think they are getting a super special treat. But roasting vegetables can’t be the only answer. So I turned to the crock pot.
This Fall Veggie Stew is a warming, soothing, delicious comfort food. It is wonderful on couscous but also great on rice, millet, or any whole grain you love. Or you could skip the side grain all together and just sop up the goodness with a nice, crusty bread. Another reason I love it: you can make it vegetarian or throw in a bit of meat and change the flavor profile that way. It is also great because it is so packed with veggies that it can truly be a one-dish meal, no need to make a salad (unless, of course, you want one!).
So chop up the ingredients, throw them in the crock, let the magic happen, and dinner will be waiting when you get home. Enjoy!
- 1 winter squash (like butternut) or cooking pumpkin (about 2 ½ lbs), peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 large potato, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen spinach
- 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 15 oz can or home-cooked chickpeas, drained
- 2 sausage links, cut into bite-sized pieces (optional)
- 1 ½ cups vegetable or chicken stock
- salt & pepper
- 1 tbl dried oregano
- 1 tbl dried thyme
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
- If you are using meat, in a small frying pan, brown the pieces of sausage on a medium-high heat (about 5 minutes).
- Place the squash, onion, potato, carrots, garlic, chickpeas, and the meat (if you are using it) into the crock pot. Pour the stock over. Pour on the spices. Give a good stir. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. In the last 20 minutes before serving (for instance, while you are making your couscous), mix in the spinach.
- Serve on top of whole wheat couscous, brown rice, millet or any other whole grain you love.