DDD #74 – Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew to Detox & Cleanse (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

My friend, Katie, turned me on to kitchari.  Apparently, you can eat it – JUST IT – for 1-7 days straight & it calms your digestive tract & detoxes you system but with the added benefit of feeling like decadent comfort food.  Also – mung beans are dirt cheap. (Articles on the subject are linked at the bottom of this post).  This recipe makes about 7 quarts which is a fuckton so – unless you are feeding a lot of people or want to freeze some – consider reducing the recipe.

I used an Instant Pot to make mine but this can be done in a slow cooker or stove top.  I really recommend Instant Pots, though, because they steam, pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, cook cakes, saute, cook eggs & clean windows.  I got my huge one HERE for just over $100 & I am VERY happy with it.  I can now get rid of several other appliances.

***NOTE – I soaked my beans on the counter overnight & in the fridge a second night but this is not necessary.  If you want to move more quickly – boil some water, add your beans & let them soak for an hour.

Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew

Caters a party so be ready for a lot

INGREDIENTS

3 cups mung beans (I used half whole green & half split green – as seen above) – soaked (see ***NOTE above)

1-2 TBS coconut oil or olive oil

1 onion – chopped

6 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS (or more – to taste) salt (I used pink Himalayan)

1 TBS ground mustard

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS ground pepper

1 TBS ground fenugreek (optional)

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 (15 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

6 TBS minced ginger

1 cup cilantro

Vegetables are optional.  Use any you prefer but I added:

5 small turnips – diced

5 small golden beets – diced

1 large sweet potato – diced

5 oz baby kale

1 tomato – diced

6 cups water

2 cups basmati (or other long grain white rice)

(If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add a tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.)

GARNISH – coconut butter, cilantro, crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS

Quick soak your beans (see note above) if you did not soak them overnight or for 2 days, as I did.)

Traditionally, the rice is cooked in the same pot with everything else.  My Instant Pot was not large enough so I cooked it separately.  This is your call – or maybe your pot size will determine your choice but it does not matter much either way.

Rinse the rice.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large pot (or your Instant Pot – my pot is 8 Quarts) and soften.  Add the garlic & spices & stir to combine.

If you are using a slow cooker, transfer the onions & spices to it.  Everything else is the same no matter whether you are slow cooking, Instant Pot cooking or going stove top.  Only the cooking time will vary.

Now, add everything else to the pot.  If your pot is easily deep enough to hold the rice, too, add that.  If you are cooking the rice in the same pot – add 4 additional cups of water to the 6 cups used if you are cooking the rice separately (assuming your rice directions ask for 2 cups water per 1 cup rice.  Adjust accordingly if your rice has different directions).  Or – just cook the rice separately as the package directs.  If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add 1 tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.

Slow cooker – cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Stove top – bring to a boil uncovered for 5 minutes.  Reduced heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or more or until everything is tender.

Instant Pot – seal & cook manually for 10 minutes.

If it is to thick, thin it with extra water.  If it is too thin, let is simmer, uncovered, for a while longer.

Serve with rice (if you cooked it separately) and garnish with coconut butter (burns fat & lowers cholesterol) and lots of cilantro & maybe some crushed red pepper.

Here are some articles for more info on kitchari & using it to detox:

What is kitchari? – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/blog-the-banyan-insight/details/what-is-kitchari-why-we-eat-it-for-cleansing

3-Day Cleanse – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/cleansing/a-very-simple-three-day-cleanse/

How to do a kitchari cleanse – http://www.krissyruddy.com/how-to-do-a-kitchari-cleanse/

DDD #72 – Vegan New Year’s Day Hoppin’ John & Collard Greens for Instant Pot or Not

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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Hoppin’ John is a traditional southern dish, typically served on New Years Day to bring a prosperous new year.  Here is WIKIPEDIA’S explanation.  I didn’t add peas to mine but you certainly can & I love the idea of serving each bowl with a coin beneath it to ramp up the good fortune.

This is CRAZY easy to make & tastier than you might guess.  I made these in my Instant Pot with dried beans but these can be done very quickly on your stove top with canned beans or with dry beans in a slow cooker.


Click the image above to watch the video.

Vegan New Years Day Spicy Hoppin’ John 

Serves 4 very well

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dried black eyed peas (or 2 lbs canned – drained & rinsed – if you are going stove top)

1 medium onion – diced

3-6 garlic cloves – diced

4 celery stalks – diced

1 red bell pepper – diced

1 4oz can diced green chilies or jalapenos (optional)

2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo – diced (more or less – to your taste)

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS olive oil

4 cups vegetable stock

S&P to taste

GARNISH OPTIONS:

Diced tomatoes

Scallions – sliced

Fresh Italian parsley – chopped

Fresh cilantro – chopped

Red onion – diced

Avocado – sliced

Tabasco, Crystal (or other hot sauce)

COINS (Pennies – silver dollars?  Your call) – for placement under each serving dish

Cooked rice

DIRECTIONS

Cook your rice according to the package instructions.

INSTANT POT:  Using the saute setting, heat 1 TBS olive oil & saute the onion, celery & bell pepper until soft.  Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add the rest of the ingredients & cook, sealed, on the manual setting for 45 minutes.

SLOW COOKER: If you are using dried black eyed peas – bring a pot of water to a rapid boil.  Add the black eyed peas & boil for ten minutes.  Turn off heat, cover & let stand for an hour. Drain & RINSE WELL.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil & saute the garlic, onion, red pepper and celery until the vegetable are soft.

Once your vegetables are sauteed, you simply combine the already partly cooked beans with the vegetables, chipotle, green chilies, cumin, and S&P with 4 cups of veggie stock to your slow cooker.    Heat on high for 5 hours.

STOVE TOP:

Use canned beans.  Heat 1 TBS olive oil & saute the onion, celery & bell pepper until soft.  Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add a cup of vegetable stock and the rest of the ingredients & simmer until heated through & al the flavors meld.   Add more stock if the get too dry.  Cook on high if they are too watery.

Folded Money Collard Greens

INGREDIENTS

24 oz collard greens – trimmed, chopped & washed

1-2 TBS olive oil

1 large onion – diced

6 (or more) celery stalks – diced

6 garlic cloves – diced

1 TBS crushed red pepper

3 cups veggie stock

1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

1/4 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

2 tomatoes – diced

Hot sauce as garnish (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in a pan.  Saute the onions & celery until they soften.  Add the chopped garlic & crushed red pepper.  Saute another 1-2 minutes.

Add the stock and collard greens & smoked paprika, stock.  Bring to a boil & then reduce heat to low, cover & simmer – covered – for about 20- 30 minutes.  Add chopped tomatoes & liquid smoke.  Stir in & let sit on low heat – or removed from heat – for about 30 minutes.  Don’t add salt…unless you really like being dehydrated & being unable to remove your rings.  Somehow – this is QUITE salty just from the stock.

And – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

Leftover Hoppin’ John Fritters with Heirloom Tomato & Avocado Salsa

Collard Green Burrito Wrap with Hoppin’ John Leftovers

Hoppin’ John – Revisited ~ SoCal-Style

 

Spicy Vegan Roasted Cauliflower & Carrot & Turmeric Stew

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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So – my last post was a month ago.  It was my Clean Cooking & a 21-day Arbonne Healthy Eating Detox – Vegan or Vegetarian Style post describing a 21-day detox/cleanse I was launching on.  I never posted about it again for a few reasons: the fact that the recipes from the Arbonne site made GINORMOUS quantities & I ate the same thing for days & because I just had no passion for cooking while on it.  I ended it two days earlier than my 21 day goal because – Superbowl party.  After nearly 3 weeks of deprivation – I lost 4 pounds.  4 miserable pounds.  I should not complain because one friend of mine lost nothing & another gained 4 pounds.  So – that cleanse is what you make of it but it was a great jump start to shock me out of deeply-entrenched habits.  Now – I am obsessed with TEA and pay way more attention to what I eat & where calories are coming from.  Which brings me to my day yesterday.

I was at the mall exchanging a birthday gift & realized it was lunch time & that I was hungry.  My choices were mainly a sushi spot & the Cheesecake Factory.  Since I no longer eat fish, I Googled the Cheesecake Factory’s menu to see if they had any HEALTHY (reading – low in calories) options.  The Cheesecake Factory is notorious for shockingly caloric options (see HERE) and I did not want to eat a 2000 calorie lunch – as I am still trying to keep my daily calorie intake to about 1200.  I was pleased to see a skinny cocktail menu and a super food menu.   So – I went in and I ordered a skinny margarita & the vegan Cobb salad.  I got the Cobb because I did not want to eat any of their 490 calorie “skinny” menu items.  I thought I would be really good & get a salad with proteins (garbanzos &  quinoa) and the healthy fat avocado.

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The drink was small but tasty & only clocked in at 150 calories.   Very happy with that.  The salad was not gargantuan, not over-dressed & was quite good.  Looks good, right?  Looks healthy.  Proud of myself, I considered ordering a second cocktail as I entered the stuff I had just consumed in My Fitness Pal.  It was then that my world came shattering down around me.  That fucker of a salad had 1210 calories!!!!!  1210!!!!  I could go to McDonald’s and get a Big Mac, medium fries & a medium NON-DIET Coke for under 1100.  Don’t believe me?  Look HERE on McDonald’s own site.  How the FUCK is THAT possible???  A salad?  Without a creamy dressing or any cheese or meat or bacon or croutons or fried wontons or ANYTHING naughty?   Avocado is fatty but it is not cheese & bacon fatty!  It is not BIG MAC fatty!  And that photo shows the salad with dressing on it.  It really was NOT soaked in dressing.  I was SO freaked out!  I felt SO cheated!  For 1200 calories I could have gotten pizza & wine.  Or almost anything on the menu.  Seriously.  What the fuck?  So – almonds & sunflower seeds in addition to avocado & boom!  An ass like Kim Kardashian.  I felt like I had undone 3 weeks of deprivation with one Goddamn SALAD!  Ugh.  I complained about it all fucking day.  And I am complaining now.  I will never EVER enter the CottageCheesecake AssFactory again.  I swear it.

So – driven to compensate for that outrageous lunch – I made this VERY healthy stew today.  I used a bunch of sketchy veggies cresting their use-by dates & it came out delicious.  You can add or remove produce to suit your tastes.   I only used bit of olive oil to roast the veggies & that was it.  You could eliminate even that by NOT roasting them & just throwing them in the pot to boil.  Your call.

I served myself a hearty portion of this stew today over a very carefully measured 1/4 cup of mixed ancient grains.  Truth be told – this stew does not need a grain to make it satisfying so – serve it naked or over the grain of your choice.

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Turmeric is a very healthy spice.  Here are some of the benefits of turmeric.  Look at that list or THIS one.  It will make you want to use vibrant turmeric as often as possible.

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Spicy Vegan Roasted Cauliflower & Carrot & Turmeric Stew

Makes a LOT – enough to feed 6-8 (even without a grain)

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower – cut into bite-sized florets

10-15 carrots – chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 large onion – chopped

1 red bell pepper – cut into matchsticks

2 jalapenos – chopped (optional)

2 (15 oz) cans of garbanzo beans (drained)

2 (28 oz) cans of diced tomatoes

10 garlic cloves – chopped

10 oz broccoli (VERY optional – I only used the broccoli rabe I had because it was wilting)

1-2 TBS turmeric (start with one & add more if you like)

1 BS ground cumin

1 TBS ground coriander

2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground cardamom (LOVELY but can be omitted if you cannot find it)

4 cups vegetable stock (or water)

Olive oil

S&P

Chopped parsley or cilantro as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

If roasting the vegetables:

Heat the oven to 475.

Toss the cauliflower, carrots, bell pepper, onion & jalapenos in a light coating of olive oil & some S&P.  Roast for 20-30 minutes or until just beginning to brown.  Add them to a large stock pot with the remaining ingredients & cook until the veggies are all tender & the stew thickens a bit.

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If not roasting them – just throw them in with the remaining ingredients & cook until the veggies are all tender & the stew thickens a bit.  Add water to thin it if it gets too thick.  Cook it down if it is too watery.  Season with S&P & garnish with parsley or cilantro.

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Vegan Spicy Green Coconut Curry with Vegetables & Split Lentils for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Slow cooker recipes.  Is anything better than just dumping a bunch of ingredients into a slow cooker, going away for hours and then coming home to dinner – warm & waiting?  I think not!

I used yellow split lentils or urad dal – but any variety of lentils will work just fine.  I added a ton of random vegetables – because I had them.  You can add or omit any veggies you like.

I had a big bag of English peas & some fresh spinach that were going to spoil before I could cook them – so – I froze them.

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It was about 2 cups of peas & make 4 cups of spinach but the spinach wilted in the freezer – down to about 4 cups.  If you use frozen veggies in yours – add them at the very end or they will just disintegrate.

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Vegan Spicy Green Coconut Curry with Vegetables & Split Lentils for the Slow Cooker

Makes a lot – likely enough to feed 6 well if served with rice

INGREDIENTS (very flexible)

2 cups lentils

2 potatoes – cubed

1 small onion – diced

1-4 cloves garlic – minced

1 small head cauliflower – cut into small florets

1-5 jalapenos – seeded & diced (use less or omit – if you do not like heat)

3-5 carrots – sliced

3 TBS ginger – minced

1 (5.5 oz) can coconut milk (use more for a richer curry)

3 TBS green curry paste

1 TBS garam masala

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp turmeric

6 cups vegetable stock

4 cups fresh spinach or 2 cups frozen

2 cups peas

S&P

GARNISH – hot sauce (like sriracha), cilantro & cooked rice (I used basmati)

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 DIRECTIONS

Put everything except peas, spinach & any frozen vegetables you might be using into the slow cooker.  If using anything frozen – all them to thaw.  Ignore my photos showing the spinach & peas being added with the other ingredients at the start.  They disintegrated & I had to add more of each at the end.  I also added the cauliflower after the curry had been cooking for hours – hence the different-looking imagery below.

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Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.  If it is too thick, add stock or water.  If it is too thin – cook a bit longer with the lid off – or mash some of the curry with a masher or immersion blender to create a thicker gravy.

15 minutes before serving – add peas, spinach & any frozen vegetables you selected.  Season with S&P.

Serve with rice & garnish with cilantro & hot sauce.

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Vegan Sticky, Sweet & Spicy Chinese Five Spice Pork for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Nothing is easier than a slow cooker dish.  You could make this stove-top by simply simmering it until the sauce is as thick as you like it to be.  Not much more to say about this except that it is damned tasty & crazy easy.

Vegan Sticky, Sweet & Spicy Chinese Five Spice Pork for the Slow Cooker

Serves 2 very well when served with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 (10.5 oz) packages Gardein Porkless Bites (or other vegan pork, beef or chicken) – I threw the sauce packets away

1/4 cup Shao Xing rice wine

2 TBS minced ginger (I used the squeezable kind pictured)

2 TBS minced garlic (I used jarred)

1 TBS tomato paste or ketchup

2 TBS sesame oil

2 TBS vegan hoisin sauce

2 TBS vegan oyster or mushroom-flavored sauce

2 TBS sambal oelek (less if you do nott like a lot of spiciness)

2 TBS sweet Thai chili sauce

2 TBS dark soy sauce

1 – 3 tsp Chinese 5-spice (I used 3 but I think that was heavy-handed.  Maybe start with one & increase it as it cooks – if you think it needs more)

Cooked rice for 2

Garnish – cilantro and/or sliced hot peppers (I used red jalapenos)

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything except the rice & garnish in a slow cooker & leave on high for 4 hours.  Mine was still too thin at that point – so I cooked it a bit longer with the lid off.  If you are going to leave this on low for 8 hours – maybe add a cup of water – so it doesn’t burn – and then cook off excess moisture at the end by taking the lid off.  If it gets too thick – add water.

Serve with rice & garnish as you desire.

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Hearty Vegan Beef & Vegetable Stew for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I have posted a beef stew before – my Easy Vegetarian (Vegan) Irish Stew for a Slow Cooker – from almost exactly three years ago but this current one is superior.  It is superior due to my just getting better at vegan stews & a higher quality vegan meat.  I am all about Beyond Meat – and I think it is the best on the market – but they don’t offer certain things.  In this case – I wanted cubes of beef – and Beyond Meat only offers a ground beef.  So – I decided to use both Beyond Meat’s Beefy Crumbles and Gardein’s Beefless Tips – which were wonderful in my Vegan Spicy Ginger-Garlic Red Pepper Beef Steak with Vegetable Fried Cauliflower Rice – seen just below.  I used one bag of each in this stew.  If you really want to ratchet up the presence of the beef – double up on one or both of these – or use your own favorite faux beef.

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There are about an infinity of ingredients in this stew – most of which can be eliminated without a negative impact on this dish.  I happened to have all but mushrooms, an onion & carrots on hand.  If you are missing an ingredient or two (or three) – I think you will still like the results.

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I used those vegetarian bouillon cubes above but I am going to stop buying them.  They contain palm oil & an obscene sodium content so – I will be moving on to Better Than Bouillon, when my supply of these runs out.

I served my stew over mashed cauliflower.   When I was done eating – I mixed the leftover mashed cauliflower directly into the stew.  This had the effect of making it seem thicker & denser – but it is just cauliflower – so it actually lightens the dish up.

**NOTE – I made this in a slow cooker (on high) while I hiked.  It was pretty much done when I returned 2 1/2 hours later.  You could make this just as easily stove top – maybe in less time.  Just bring to a boil & simmer until the veggies are cooked.  To thicken it – return it to a boil.  Whisk 1/4 cup cornstarch into some hot water & add to the boiling stew.  It should thicken nicely.  If not – do it again.  Add water if it gets too thick.

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Hearty Vegan Beef & Vegetable Stew for the Slow Cooker

Serves 6 or more

INGREDIENTS (VERY flexible – both in what you use & quantity)

Olive oil (or the cooking oil of your choice)

1 (9 oz) vegan ground beef (or more) – I recommend Beyond Meat

1 package (or more) of Gardein Beefless Tips (or your favorite vegan cubed steak)

1 onion – diced

2 Portobello mushroom – cut up (or whatever mushrooms you prefer)

4 carrots – sliced

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1-2 cups cubed white-fleshed potato of any variety (I don’t peel my potatoes)

1 small sweet potato – cubed (I don’t peel my potatoes)

2 celery stalks – chopped

4 radishes – cubed (I only used them because I had them so they are very optional)

2 tomatoes – diced (or a cup of canned diced tomatoes)

2-6 garlic cloves – minced

5 cups vegetable stock

1 cup dry red wine (optional) – or another cup of stock

6 oz lima beans (I used frozen)

1-2 cups peas (I used frozen)

1 cup corn (I used frozen)

1/4 cup pasta sauce (I used Rao’s but you can use your favorite or omit it)

1 TBS Bragg’s liquid aminos OR soy sauce OR tamari

1 TBS dry mustard

1 TBS vegan Worcestershire sauce

1 TBS Kitchen Bouquet (seasoning available in the spice aisle or near gravy ingredients)

Few squirts Maggi  (seasoning available in the spice aisle or near gravy ingredients)

1 tsp smoked (or regular) paprika

2 bay leaves

6 whole coves

1 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)

1/4 cup corn starch (or more)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

I really prefer slow cooker recipes that require ZERO prep.  Recipes where you just dump the shit into the cooker & go away.  But – I really wanted a stew-like flavor here so – I thought cooking the onions & bringing their flavor – & the flavor of the sauteed mushrooms were important.  Also – browning the steak cubes assists in the visual presentation.  You could certainly just dump it all in & would probably be just as happy with the result.  Your call.

So – heat 2 TBS or so of oil & saute the onions & the beef cubes.  When the onions start to brown.  Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add the wine (or stock) and quickly deglaze the pan.  Put this into the slow cooker.

In the same pan, add another TBS or so of oil & saute the mushrooms until they begin to sear.  Deglaze the pan with a tiny bit of water & add the mushrooms to the slow cooker.

If you are going stove top – do the steps above & then put those things & the rest of the ingredients (EXCEPT THE CORNSTARCH) into a huge stock pot, bring to a boil & simmer until the vegetables are tender – not more than 1/2 hour.  To thicken it – return it to a boil.  Whisk 1/4 cup cornstarch into some hot water & add to the boiling stew.  It should thicken nicely.  If not – do it again.  Add water if it gets too thick.  Season with S&P.

If you are slow cooking it – dump the rest of the ingredients (EXCEPT THE CORNSTARCH) into the slow cooker & leave it covered & on high for 3 hours or so.   To thicken it – remove the lid. Whisk 1/4 cup cornstarch into some hot water & add to the boiling stew.  It should thicken nicely.  If not – do it again.  Leave the top off until it thickens.  Add water if it gets too thick.  Season with S&P.

Serve over rice or mashed potatoes or – as I did – over mashed cauliflower.   When I was done eating – I mixed the leftover mashed cauliflower directly into the stew.  This had the effect of making it seem thicker & denser – but it is just cauliflower – so it actually lightens the dish up.

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Vegan Moroccan Chicken, Chickpeas & Butternut Squash with Preserved Lemons for the Slow Cooker (or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK – in order to make this recipe – you really will need two important ingredients – seen above – preserved lemons & ras el hanout.  The preserved lemons will give the dish its distinctive Moroccan flair and the ras el hanout will keep this stew from tasting like a curry.   You can make the ras el hanout – as it is just a blend of other spices – but buying it will be so much cheaper & easier.  See the package below – list the spices involved in that particular brand.

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I used saffron – because I had it – but saffron can be very expensive so – if you don’t have any & don’t want to shell out the funds – blow the saffron off.  Same with the harissa (a hot sauce).  The two things I really suggest you not blow off are the preserved lemons & the ras el hanout – both of which can be purchased on Amazon.

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Preserved lemons come in a jar (see above) & are simply lemons pickled in brine.  They maintain all their sharp lemon flavor but are quite salty & very soft.   The flavor they give this dish is critical – so – be patient – and get some before making this.

Other than that – this is a straight-forward slow cooker dish (which could be made by simmering on the stove, too) with ingredients that are easy to come by.  I served mine with this Trader Joe’s blend of grains but couscous is more traditional.  I like this stuff from Trader Joe’s because it is pretty & offers lots of textures.  You can serve yours with whatever grain you prefer.

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I used Beyond Meat chicken because I think it is the best on the market.  I thawed & shredded it because it breaks down in stews better that way & because – visually – it really looks like shredded chicken.   I am convinced you could slip this by meat-eaters with no complaints.

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Vegan Moroccan Chicken, Chickpeas & Butternut Squash with Preserved Lemons for the Slow Cooker (or Not)

Serves 4-6 with couscous or rice

INGREDIENTS

9-12 oz vegan chicken

1 onion – diced

2-4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas – drained

4 cups vegetable stock

1 TBS ras el hanout

1/4 – 1 preserved lemon (depending on hpw large it is) – diced small (start with less & add more as you go – just so that this flavor doesn’t get to overpowering for you) – I used the entire 1/2 lemon using all parts

Saffron (a large pinch or more) – optional

Green and/or black olives – I used half Kalamata & half large martini olives – in a quantity to suit your taste for olives – optional

1 TBS harissa (or other hot sauce) – optional

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 carrots – chopped

1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

1/2 – 1 red bell pepper – diced

1 lemon – peeled & sliced

1 handful cilantro

GARNISH – chopped cilantro or parsley, lemon wedges/slices

Cooked couscous or other grain

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8.  If you started light with the preserved lemon – taste occasionally & add more – if you like the flavor.  Overall – it should have a strong lemon flavor.  It should not need salt – because the preserved lemons, olives & stock should have that covered.

Stove top – just bring to a boil & simmer everything until the vegetables are soft – likely less than an hour.  If you started light with the preserved lemon – taste occasionally & add more – if you like the flavor.  Overall – it should have a strong lemon flavor.  It should not need salt – because the preserved lemons, olives & stock should have that covered.

In both cases – add water if it gets too thick.

Serve with whatever grain you chose & garnish with cilantro or parsley & lemon wedges.

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