This week’s recipe contains a medley of spices and vegetables for a summer stew that’s loaded with taste and nutritional benefits. Starting with the ground clove – its uniquely warm, sweet and aromatic quality complements the chili powder’s heat – the mixture of spices create a distinctly Mediterranean flavor.
Cloves are dried flower buds of an evergreen with red and while blossoms. It takes four to seven thousand buds to make one pound of cloves. The English name is derived from the Latin word clavus, which means nail – not surprising given their shape. Cloves are often associated with ginger bread and pumpkin pie, but they also make a wonderful addition to soups and stews.
The cardamom, another ancient herb, popular from India to Scandinavia, provides a pungent and aromatic quality. Combine this with sweet raisins, the nutty flavor of the butternut squash and garbanzo beans, and garden vegetable favorites for a rich, satisfying meatless dish that fits the season.
It’s a stew that makes great leftovers. Serve with hearty brown rice or whole-wheat couscous for the energy you need without a lot of extra calories and fat.
Mediterranean Vegetable Stew
– Makes 6 servings (about 1 cup stew per serving).
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth (low-sodium chicken broth may be substituted for a non-vegetarian dish)
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (or substitute 1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder for spices from chili powder through cardamom)
- 1 lb. (2 cups diced) small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into ½ cubes
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 (15-oz) can garbanzos, drained
- 1/4 cup pitted black olives, halved
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. white or black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups cooked brown rice (whole-wheat couscous may be substituted)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.
While broth is simmering, combine spices in a mixing bowl then stir them into pot. Add butternut squash, raisins, carrots and garlic. Cover and continue simmering until vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Add in zucchini, garbanzos, olives, salt and pepper. Re-cover and continue to simmer until zucchini is tender, an additional 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and lemon juice.
Place warm rice uniformly on large serving platter (or individual plates). Spoon the stew over bed of rice. Garnish with remaining parsley and serve.
Per serving: 300 calories, 6 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 54 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein,9 g dietary fiber, 464 mg sodium.
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. www.aicr.org.