Lately I've been thinking a lot about adapting favorite recipes for changing dietary needs (newly gluten-free, pre-diabetic, vegetarian). When Jared, a local filmmaker who just happens to be vegan, and Jessica, an old friend of my husband Ted's, came to lunch a few weeks ago, I decided to take the West African chicken mafé recipe in my previous post, and veganize it. Out with the chicken, in with chickpeas. Potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms: the combination of firm and soft vegetables really worked, and with the rich peanut, tomato and coconut sauce, nobody missed the meat at all. Reaching for a tube of tomato paste in the refrigerator, I grabbed an identical-shaped tube of harissa instead, and added it to the dish before I realized my error. Wow! Great flavor, just a hint of smoky heat, that elevated the vegetable stew to another level; that's one error I'll make again and again.
West African vegetable stew in peanut sauce
From the pantry, you'll need: onion, garlic, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, jalapeño, harissa, peanut butter, coconut milk, canned chopped tomato, ginger root, canned chickpeas.
1 medium onion, quartered
2 large red-skinned new potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks (use any colors)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
8 oz sliced mushrooms, any type (I like cremini)
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tbsp harissa
1/4 cup drained canned chopped tomato
1 tsp peeled, grated fresh ginger root
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
Place the onion, potatoes, zucchini and bell peppers in a large mixing bowl, and add the salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, and cayenne. Use your hands to mix everything together, making sure the spices are distributed all over the vegetables.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the vegetables from the mixing bowl, all at once. Sauté 4-5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and there are bits of browning on the vegetables.
Add the jalapeño pepper and mushrooms, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
Then, stir in the chickpeas, peanut butter, harissa, chopped tomatoes, ginger, and coconut milk.
Add 2 cups of water.
Bring to a simmer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve hot, over rice.
More vegan stew options:
Vegan butternut squash and chickpea stew, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker vegan black bean and sweet potato stew, from The Perfect Pantry
Spicy vegan zucchini and tomato stew with garlic and mint, from The Perfect Pantry
Vegan "sancocho" (root and vegetable stew), from Dominican Cooking
Slow cooker vegan white bean stew, from Cafe Johnsonia
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