This hearty, nutritious butternut chickpea stew is seasoned with Moroccan-inspired spices and has a kiss of sweetness from golden raisins. It comes together in a single pot and is easy to meal prep or freeze. Serve it over couscous, quinoa, millet, or another whole grain for a complete and flavorful meal!
Weeks ago, just as fall was beginning in earnest, I made this Moroccan-inspired butternut chickpea stew.
I had plans to go to a friend’s place for dinner and had offered to bring something with me. I wanted a recipe that would be one-pot and easy to make, yet likely to please me and her and her partner.
This is what I created. It was one of those rare recipes that I was able to make spontaneously, with what I had at home. (Cooking without a plan is not my specialty.)
But I had a template in my mind, at least. The recipe is sort of a hybrid between this dish, in which sweet curry is a predominant flavor, and my Moroccan-inspired chickpea tomato stew.
That latter recipe is not only a fan favorite here from this blog, but one of my personal favorites as well.
This butternut chickpea stew features similar seasonings, but butternut squash gives it more heartiness and texture.
The squash, along with a handful of golden raisins, also adds a savory and sweet component to the recipe.
And it gives you an excuse to put butternut squash, one of my favorite autumn ingredients, to very good use.
The joys of a one-pot meal
I welcome one-pot vegan meals at any time of year, but they’re especially welcome during the busy fall season.
One-pot meals include soups and stews, which are also especially appropriate for cold weather. They also include chili, which is a meal prep staple for me, braised beans, and a lot of my favorite, simple grain + legume skillet meals.
An advantage of this type of recipe is that it tends to yield a plentiful amount of food, which is true of the butternut chickpea stew. You’ll have leftover portions to enjoy as the week goes by, or to freeze for the future. (More tips on freezing and defrosting vegan meal prep dinners dinners here!)
The Vegan Week
Embrace the joy of eating homemade food every day with the hearty and wholesome recipes in The Vegan Week.
Whether you have three, two, or even just one hour of time to spare, The Vegan Week will show you how to batch cook varied, colorful, and comforting dishes over the weekend.
Finally, these bountiful soups and stew-like meals are also a great opportunity to use a lot of vegetables or legumes or both. Whenever a nutrition client who’s trying to cook or meal prep more often asks me where to start, I recommend one-pot suppers.
This is a good one.
Butternut chickpea stew ingredients
This recipe came together because I had most of what I needed for it. You may have a lot of the ingredients in your pantry right now, too.
You’ll need about 1 – 1 1/2 pounds (455-680g) peeled and cubed squash to make the recipe. This is about one medium small squash, seeded, peeled, and cut.
You could use fresh squash or frozen butternut squash in the recipe. If you use frozen, I recommend defrosting it according to package instructions first, draining it, and then adding it to the stew, so that it doesn’t add too much moisture.
Olive oil is used to sauté onion and garlic for the stew. It also helps to carry flavor and create some richness in the stew’s sauce.
If you like, you can sauté the onion and garlic in broth or water instead, though the stew may lose a little of that rich quality.
If you don’t have olive oil at home, then avocado oil, which is my other go-to for cooking, is a good substitute.
Ginger and garlic
Ginger and garlic help to add flavor and complexity to the butternut chickpea stew. You can use fresh cloves of ginger and fresh, minced or grated ginger root, of course.
If you have chopped garlic and minced ginger in a jar, that’s fine to use as well. In a pinch, you can use a quarter teaspoon garlic powder and a half teaspoon ground ginger.
Speaking of spices, the spice blend here is inspired by the spices that are commonly in ras el hanout. Ras el hanout, which in Arabic means “head of the shop,” is often used in Tunisian, Moroccan, and Algerian dishes.
It can include cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and allspice; this butternut chickpea stew includes all of those. Ras el hanout can also include nutmeg, dry ginger (I used fresh instead), cardamom, or clove.
I use canned, diced tomatoes in the stew, but it’s fine to use crushed tomatoes if that’s what you have.
If you only have whole, peeled tomatoes, you can use those as well. Use a back of the spoon to crush and break them apart when you add them to the dish.
You’ll need 14 1/2 ounces—one 14 1/2-ounce/415g can, or half of a 28-ounce/800g can.
Homemade vegetable stock will add depth and flavor to the stew, and it’s something that I wish I were more consistent in making from scratch!
However, store-bought vegetable broth and vegetable bouillon will both work well in the butternut chickpea stew.
If you don’t have either, you can even substitute water, but know that you may need to increase the salt in the recipe accordingly.
Chickpeas are probably my favorite legume, so it’s no surprise that a can of them is always to be found in my pantry.
You’ll need one 15-ounce/425g can of chickpeas for the recipe. If you cook legumes from scratch, then you’ll need 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas.
And if you don’t have chickpeas, never fear. Cooked white beans, lentils, cranberry beans, and kidney beans will all work well in the recipe.
Golden raisins, which are also sometimes called sultanas, increase the sweet and savory notes of this stew. I love what they add to the recipe, but if you prefer more savory than sweet, you can omit them.
You can also replace them with either regular raisins or with the same amount of currants.
How to make Moroccan-inspired butternut chickpea stew
The steps for this recipe are wonderfully straightforward, and there are only two of them.
Step 1: sauté
First things first, you’ll sauté onion till translucent and tender. You’ll add garlic, ginger, and spices, allow it to become very fragrant, and proceed with step two.
Step 2: make stew!
All that’s left to do now is add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot, bring them to a simmer, cover the pot, and let it do its thing.
You’ll simmer the stew for 10 minutes covered, another 10-15 uncovered, and then it’s ready to eat.
Right before serving, I recommend adding just a tiny splash of acid. Red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, or—my favorite—white balsamic vinegar will all work.
Serving suggestions and accompaniments
I like to serve the butternut chickpea stew over couscous, regular or pearl, or quinoa. But I think it would be nice over millet, rice, or even orzo.
If you don’t have any of those grains, but you do have some pita bread, that’s a great serving option.
Some fun things to garnish the stew with:
- Chopped, roasted pistachio nuts
- Chopped, fresh parsley
- Toasted pine nuts
- A drizzle of olive oil
- Pickled onions (I’m sharing my go-to recipe soon)
Meal prep & storage
The butternut chickpea stew is a great meal prep option: leftovers will be good in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. Like many stews, it will seem to deepen in flavor after a few days.
You can also freeze portions of the stew for up to six weeks.
A cold weather keeper
To be honest, right after I made this recipe I thought that it probably wasn’t something I should post, because it was reminiscent of some other recipes on the blog.
But the test of a recipe’s value, for me, is always how often I make it. And I’ve now made the stew not once, but twice more since I first brought it over to my friend’s apartment. And that occasion was only a month or so ago.
For the record, she and her boyfriend loved it, too.
There’s no point in not sharing something warming, nutrient-dense, crowd-pleasing, and easy-to-make. Those recipes are worth their weight in gold. And if you plan to have any low-key holiday gatherings this year, this one is filling enough to hold its own as a plant-based entrée.
So here it is—my favorite new stew of the fall season!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium or large red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh, grated or minced ginger (substitute 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 cups vegetable broth (950ml)
- 1 1/2 cups canned, diced tomatoes with their juices (1 14.5-ounce/415g can)
- 1 – 1 1/2 lb peeled and cubed butternut squash (455-680g; about one medium small squash)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (240g, or one 15-ounce/425g can, drained and rinsed)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins (40g; optional)
- 1-2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice (adjust to taste)
- 4 cups cooked couscous, quinoa, bulgur wheat, or another whole grain, for serving
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a pot or Dutch oven. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion. Sauté the onion for 5-7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring often. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and allspice. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the broth, tomatoes, squash, chickpeas, and raisins. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover the pot and cook for 10-15 minutes more, or until the squash is tender and the stew has thickened. Stir in vinegar and adjust salt to taste.
- Serve over cooked couscous, quinoa, or bulgur.
This has been a “clean-out-the-freezer” week for me. I can’t tell you how glad I was to find that I had three portions of the stew—and even some frozen, cooked couscous!—in there, amid all of the other random and assorted things.
Hope you’ll turn to the recipe many times this season, friends. I’ll be checking in on Sunday.