On rainy days I always gravitate towards soup or stew. Which is how I came up with a stew recipe for you in the middle of the summer. But it is a wonderfully warming and hearty recipe that brings some color and a whole lot of flavor into dreary days. The stew is vegetarian in nature although chicken or shrimp could provide some protein. A pinch of saffron adds fresh, fragrant seasoning to the vegetables.
For the base of the stew I decided to use cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and some zucchini. But what is great about the recipe is that these veggies can be substituted for any of your favorites, and it will still have the same delicious taste. Butternut squash can be included instead of the sweet potato. Kale or spinach can be stirred in to add more nutrients. Carrots, mushrooms, pumpkin, and green beans would all nicely soak up the spices of the stew.
A bit of preserved lemon and green olives are stirred in at the end of the recipe to round out the dish. Preserved lemons are often used in North African and Middle Eastern recipes. The rinds can be added to many different dishes, from stew to couscous to salads. Preserving the lemons makes their flavor more mellow, so you are able to still achieve a lemony taste without overpowering the recipe.
If you like spicy dishes, add a dash of hot sauce to your plate on top of the stew. Hot sauce is one of my favorite condiments for stews and soups. Stir in as much or as little as you like. And although there is already cauliflower in this version of the stew, I like to serve it over cauliflower rice because it soaks up all of the delicious, delicate flavors. Enjoy it served hot or even freeze for later, when another rainy day comes around.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 1 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
- 2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Slivered almonds, for garnish
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5-6 minutes or until the onion is soft. Stir in the sweet potatoes and cauliflower and cook for 3 minutes more.
- Pour the vegetable broth and diced tomatoes into the pot. Add the zucchini and a large pinch of saffron threads and stir. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Remove from heat and stir in the preserved lemon and olives. Garnish with parsley and almonds to serve.
- Servings: 4-6
- Difficulty: Medium
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