Last week was CIK (that would be Crazy In the Kitchen). This week is CIK². I have a cake to make tomorrow, an event on Thursday, and we are hosting our supper club on Saturday. Add into the mix that we are going away New Year’s Eve and Day and I’m a little frantic. When my kitchen is this busy, I get easily overwhelmed by such simple decisions as what to make for a weeknight dinner. And when I find myself in that place, I often turn to this dish. For me, it’s a no-brainer – healthy, easy, tasty, and no fussy ingredients.
My mom made this for me many years ago, just after I got my own apartment and started cooking for myself. I loved everything about it and asked her for the recipe. I don’t know where she got it but she wrote it out for me on a piece of paper in her script, familiar from so many letters addressed to me over the years. These days, I would like to think she would email it to me or send me the link. Or at the very least photocopy it. But I’m glad I have it in her “looks like a lefty” writing (she is not a lefty).
Over the 23 years that I have been a vegetarian (19 of those without fish), I have had many things like this dish. Look at the ingredient list and it may not seem all that special – it’s basically a bean stew. I have made countless things like it. Of all of them, I like this one the best. Lentils and chickpeas are some of my very favorite things in the world but I’m guessing it’s the caraway seeds and the healthy dose of coriander that makes it taste to special to me. And the squeeze of lemon at the end just makes the whole thing pop. I haven’t messed with it too much, but I’m sure that you could add cubed new potatoes or sliced cabbage to this dish to make it even more hearty. You can serve it to almost anyone seeing as it is gluten-free and vegan.
Chickpea, Lentil, and Vegetable Stew
Adapted from Bon Appétit (most likely)
I served this with brown rice but it is also good with white rice (I would use basmati) and also with steamed quinoa. If you are going to make this ahead of time, wait to add the spinach until you reheat it so it retains the lovely green color.
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. caraway seeds
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup dried lentils
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 cup frozen lima beans or edamame
½ cup chopped parsley
10 oz. fresh baby spinach
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom and then add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic. Cook another 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and all the spices; stir 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, and lentils. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Add chickpeas, carrots, lima beans, and half the parsley. Cover; simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. (Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to a simmer before continuing. Refrigerate remaining parsley for garnish.)
Stir spinach into stew in batches until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls with rice. Garnish each bowl with remaining parsley and serve with lemon wedges.