Zesty Veggie Stew over Brown Rice

A medley of vegetables characterizes this tasty and zesty dish. From the chickpeas and zucchini to the carrots, all add texture, flavor and nutritional value.

Central and South Americans have been eating zucchini for several thousand years. Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing zucchini seeds to the Mediterranean region. The variety that Americans enjoy is from the Italian zucchino, meaning small squash, which in turn is from the Indian word skutasquash, meaning "green thing eaten green." Zucchini is actually a member of the cucumber and melon family.

Zucchini’s mild taste blends well with the sweeter carrots, which are believed to have originated in Afghanistan some 5000 years ago. Interestingly, the first carrots were mainly purple, white or black. Today, we know them as brilliant orange colored roots with the succulent taste. Cooking softens their crispy texture and allows them to absorb the flavors of other ingredients.

The chickpeas are a staple of Middle Eastern, African and Indian dishes. They come in two main groups, called desi and kabuli, the former most likely being the oldest. Often called garbanzos, they have a rich nutty quality and taste.

Add the pungent red pepper and tomatoes for a fresh yet hearty mixture. When served over a bed of steaming brown rice, the juice from the tomatoes permeates the kernels and infuses them with the stew flavors.

Be sure to make some extra and enjoy it all over again in a day or two. This meatless stew will add color, taste, nutrition and heat to your home menu as the season turns from warm to cool.

Zesty Veggie Stew over Brown Rice - Makes 6 servings.

1 tsp. olive oil

1/3 cup thinly sliced onion

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz.) can no salt added diced tomatoes

1 (15 oz.) can no salt added stewed tomatoes

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp. ground red pepper, or to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups hot cooked brown rice

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Pre-heat oil in large saucepan over high heat. Add onion, carrots and bell pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, until they soften, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add zucchini, garlic and vegetable broth and continue cooking, stirring frequently for 3 minutes.

Stir in drained chickpeas and un-drained diced and stewed tomatoes, sugar, red pepper and salt and ground black pepper to taste. Leave uncovered and bring to a boil, stirring gently. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes; add 2 more minutes if you desire thicker consistency.

Serve over hot brown rice and garnish with parsley, if desired.

Per serving: 220 calories, 2g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 42 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 8 g dietary fiber, 95 mg sodium.

The Author:

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $91 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is part of the global network of charities that are dedicated to the prevention of cancer. The WCRF global network is led and unified by WCRF International, a membership association which operates as the umbrella organization for the network .The other charities in the WCRF network are World Cancer Research Fund in the UK (www.wcrf-uk.org); Wereld Kanker Onderzoek Fonds in the Netherlands (www.wcrf-nl.org); World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong (www.wcrf-hk.org); and Fonds Mondial de Recherche contre le Cancer in France (www.fmrc.fr).

Article Posted: November 28, 2010

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