Stews may be made with vegetables only or with vegetables and legumes. They taste great with grains like brown rice, barley or millet, or with a slice of good, whole grain bread. I usually make tomato-based stews. You may use tomatoes alone or, in a money-saving version, with a little bit of water. They are great leftover dishes – you may put anything you have left into a stew. Your imagination is the only limit.
Blend tomatoes, one medium tomato per person should be enough. Bring them to boil.
Add spices of your choice (see below), chopped onions and pressed or finely chopped garlic if you like. Salt is not necessary, stews have a reach flavor without it. If you add legumes or potatoes, they are already salted. You will be eating it with salted grains or bread anyway.
Add chopped raw vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, squashes, rutabaga, carrots, kale, collard greens, spinach, one or two at a time. Please remember that some vegetables (squashes, spinach, broccoli) cook faster than the others. When using two vegetables, you will need to put the slower cooking one first to avoid overcooking the other one. If you have leftover cooked vegetables you will add them at the end for just enough time to heat them up. Add pre-cooked or leftover legume: chickpeas, black, red kidney, or pinto beans, brown or green lentils, or green peas. I cook a large pot of legumes every now and then, when I have time, put them in small, one or two servings glass containers and freeze them. They come handy for the stews. You may add pre-cooked or leftover chopped potatoes (I cook more the day before). Let them heat up and serve.
My sauces are different than my stews in two ways:
- They are thickened with potato flour (most of the time), nut butter or nut or chickpea flour (I use about a tablespoon per medium or large tomato).
- I use only one vegetable at a time chopped into smaller pieces than for stews, or one legume at a time, preferably the tiny ones like lentils.
Spicing up stews and sauces
One herb at a time, fresh or dried: basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, or all together;
- Herbes de Provence (savory, thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon, lavender flowers);
- Fennel seeds;
- Ground: cumin, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves (very tiny amount!);
- Ground: cumin, coriander seeds, cardamom, fenugreek, turmeric, black pepper; whole mustard seeds (Indian style). Chopped fresh cilantro goes well with this mixture.
Feel free to add some hot peppers, fresh or dried, if you like. You may chop them finely or blend them together with the tomatoes.