A Hearty Moroccan Stew to Satisfy your New Year’s Resolutions

1 Jan

Happy 2013!  Do you have a resolution for the New Year?  The surplus of Weight Watchers commercials on TV yesterday served as a reminder that weight loss is one of the most common goals set by individuals at the start of a new year.  According to a recent study, 38% of resolutions are weight-related.  Unfortunately, only 8% of all people are successful in achieving their resolutions—and this number is not limited to those who strive for weight loss.

Soups and stews are the perfect vehicle for New Year’s resolutions that revolve around any of the following:  to lose weight, to eat more vegetables, to cook more often, and the list goes on.

The liquid in soups make them filling, meaning less room in your stomach for more calorie dense foods.  Research has shown that when individuals consume a low-energy soup before a meal (e.g. broth-based vegetable soup), they eat 20% fewer total calories at that sitting.  This can translate to weight loss of half a pound every two weeks if soup is eaten before a single meal each day.  Soups are also an easy way to meet your vegetable quota for the day: coarsely chop what you have in the fridge and throw into a pot. The more colourful, the better.  Canada’s Food Guide recommends that most adults eat a minimum of 7 servings of fruit and vegetables per day (preferably more vegetables than fruits).  One serving is ½ cup cooked vegetables. Finally, soups are easy. Even the least skilled home cook can ‘wing it’ and end up with a tasty meal. Bonus: no fancy knife skills needed.

Up until now, I didn’t plan on making a resolution.  But as I sit here and write, I’ve decided that my resolution will be to cook more soups and stews. Partly because I haven’t been cooking as often as I’d like to and partly because I find them warm and comforting, particularly as we enter the depths of the cold winter months.  Since any goal must be SMART to be successful, my goal will be to cook a large soup or stew with a variety of vegetables and at least one good source of protein once a week (ideally Sunday) for the next 6 weeks. As a bonus, this will provide me with ample inspiration for upcoming blog posts.

The recipe below is for a hearty, one-pot Moroccan stew that I made over the holidays for a ‘chili/stew cook-off’ between several families.  Chickpeas, sweet potato, peanut butter, and earthy spices (cumin, coriander, curry powder) are truly a match made in heaven!  I tend to use generous amounts of onion, pepper, and celery to boost the veggie content.  Next time I’d like to try substituting squash for the sweet potato.  Or adding several handfuls of spinach or kale.  The possibilities are endless…

Soup’s on!

Moroccan Stew sans cilantro thanks to my sister J

Moroccan Stew (sans cilantro, thanks to my sister J)


Rockin’ Moroccan Stew
(from The Looneyspoons Collection)

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup each diced celery and chopped green bell pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp grated ginger root
1 tsp each ground cumin, curry powder, ground coriander and chili powder
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
3 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp each light peanut butter and minced fresh cilantro

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, green pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until the vegetables begin to soften, about three minutes. Add ginger root, cumin, curry powder, coriander and chili powder. Cook for 30 more seconds.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the raisins, peanut butter and cilantro. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in raisins, peanut butter and cilantro. Mix well. Simmer for five more minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.  Per serving: 253 calories, 5.3 g fat, (0.8 g saturated fat), 8 g protein, 44 g carbohydrate, 6.9 g fiber, 355 mg sodium.

13 Responses to “A Hearty Moroccan Stew to Satisfy your New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. Sarah Leo January 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    I’m currently making stock from a bunch of vegetable detritus left over from my last soup (butternut squash, sweet potato, onion, and also lots of broccoli and kale stalks) so I’ll be trying out this recipe soon! It sounds delicious…and you know I’m a sucker for anything involving peanut butter.

    • lisa January 2, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

      What a great way to use kale stalks! I should start freezing my vegetable scraps and use them to make my own stock. Thanks for the inspiration, Sarah!

      • Sarah Leo January 3, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

        It pleases me because we don’t have green bin / composting in my apartment building, so I feel like I waste less by freezing the scraps and using them for stock.

        Also, thank YOU for the inspiration to make soups and stews – I gained a hearty amount of weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s so many of my clothes are suuuuuuuper tight on me now. I need to get back into better eating habits, pronto!

  2. Victoria January 2, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Happy New Year Lisa! This recipe is fabulous and I thank you for sharing. I just made it today and hope to take some to Laurie tomorrow. I know she will love it too. 🙂

  3. Victoria January 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Lisa, Laurie really enjoyed the stew. 🙂

    • lisa January 3, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

      So happy to hear! Please give her a big hug from me the next time you see her.

  4. Sarah Leo January 3, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    So I made this for dinner tonight. It was absolutely delicious, and FILLING. I did make one minor modification (because I cannot follow a recipe). I quadrupled the celery, because it’s my favourite thing in soups. I diced 1 cup for the initial sauteeing, and then added another cup of diced celery in the last 5 minutes when you add the raisins and peanut butter so that I could have a bunch of green, crunchy celery for taste and texture (and colour). Oh, and I used a red pepper instead of a green one, because that’s what I had in the fridge.

    • Victoria January 3, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

      I like the idea of the celery modification. I used an orange pepper instead of a green one (personal preference) and I did not peel the sweet potato. I didn’t want to lose all that goodness.

    • lisa January 3, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

      Sounds like the crunchy celery added at the end wound be great for texture. Although my sister wouldn’t have approved if I had made your version. She dislikes celery (along with cilantro, ginger, raisins) …and she claims that she’s not picky!

  5. Christine King January 7, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    I know what I am having for dinner! Perfect meal for Meatless Monday. I love the Moroccan flavors. I just made Moraccan eggs over lentils… so good.

    • lisa January 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

      Moroccan eggs over lentils sounds delicious… please share the recipe!

  6. Laham January 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Liser! I made this last night to bring for school lunches this week and it’s so tasty! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • lisa January 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Best of luck with school this term. Looking forward to your triumphant return to the big city this summer!

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