Crazy weather we’ve been having here lately… one day we’re eating a sunny lunch on a patio and the next five nights we’re curled up at home trying to stay warm during torrential downpours. I SO wish I was one of those people who finds rainstorms to be cozy and calming, but I’m quite the opposite. Storms may get me a little edgy and nervous, but what does calm me down is making a stew like this one.
This recipe comes from my friend Tess (a.k.a. The Blender Girl)’s new cookbook The Perfect Blend. This stew is everything you want on a cold January night – as its name suggests, it’s hearty and comforting. It’s also healthy and healing because it’s packed with a kitchen sink full of vegetables – sweet potatoes, broccoli, Swiss chard, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and more. At first glance, the ingredient list looks like my go-to veggie stew formula, but what puts this one over the top is the generous scoop of almond butter that goes in toward the end – it’s a genius secret ingredient that make this stew taste extra rich, while also adding a bit of protein.
Tess suggests serving this stew over cauliflower rice. I’ve included the instructions with the recipe below, but I have to tell you that I skipped that step and just served this on its own. It was plenty filling and it yielded tons of leftovers which I’ve been eating for lunch ever since. This recipe comes together in roughly 30 minutes, so it’s a great healthy weeknight option.
If you’re looking to get healthier in the new year, I definitely recommend this book. It’s entirely vegan and gluten-free, and the recipes are super creative. On my list to try is her Greedy Green Curry, Jazzy Jackfruit Enchiladas, and her Lick-your-plate-Lasagna.
What’s truly unique is the way she’s organized the book. The recipes are grouped into sections like Energy, Immunity, Detox, Protein, Weight Loss, Anti-Inflamatory, Low Carb, Probiotic Promoting, and Feed the Soul. In each section she talks about vegetables and herbs that are helpful for various ailments – it’s filled with fascinating information whether you’re new to plant-based eating or you’re a well-seasoned veggie cook.
*Photo #2 of the final dish is by: Anson Smart
- 2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into florets
- ¼ cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon natural salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- Natural salt
- 3 cups (720ml) vegetable broth
- 2 (14.5-ounce/411g) cans whole tomatoes with their juice
- 1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups (570g) peeled and roughly diced orange-flesh sweet potatoes
- 3 cups (210g) chopped broccoli florets
- 4 cups (120g) Swiss chard, stalks removed, leaves cut into ribbons (about 1 large bunch)
- ⅓ cup (43g) roasted almond butter
- ½ cup (14g) loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
- 1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
- ½ cup (80g) sliced raw almonds
- ¼ cup (35g) shelled hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (black or white)
- ¼ cup (10g) pea greens
- To make the cauliflower rice, preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C). Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
- Put the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse about 5 times, until the cauliflower has the texture of couscous. You may have to process in two batches. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and stir in the oil and 1 teaspoon of salt until well combined.
- Transfer the “rice” to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon and continue to roast for another 15 minutes, until the “rice” begins to brown. Set aside until ready to serve.
- To make the stew, in a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil and sauté the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Meanwhile, add the broth, tomatoes, ginger, and red pepper flakes to your blender and pulse a few times on low until rustically chopped and combined but not blended.
- Stir the sweet potatoes and broth mixture into the sautéed onion. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add ½ teaspoon of salt, and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is just tender.
- Add the broccoli and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chard and almond butter and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the chard is just wilted. The broth should be absorbed and you should have a creamy vegetable dish. Stir in the cilantro and tweak the salt to taste.
- To serve, spoon equal amounts of the cauliflower rice into bowls and spoon the stew next to or over the “rice.” Top with the avocado and sliced almonds and sprinkle with the hemp seed and chia seed boosters. Finish by topping with the pea greens booster.