Saturday, April 13, 2013

On My Hearth: Moroccan Slow Cooker Stew & White Bread

Moroccan Bread

One of the highlights of the Holistic Holiday at Sea was the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest health & nutrition experts in the county. Our favorite, Dr. Neal Barnard, presented an especially interesting and informative lecture on the "brainy" benefits of a plant-based diet.  During the discussion he mentioned the Okinawan people and the link between their longevity and their diet which consists of, among other things, an abundance of sweet potatoes. Chip shuddered and proclaimed his distaste for the poor little spud but I assured him that the mushy, sugar-laden yams served on Thanksgiving bear little resemblance to a true sweet potato, and vowed to prepare them in a way he'd enjoy.

At the Farmers Market this week, the organic veggie vendor was offering lovely sweet potatoes at a good price, so I scooped them up and started researching recipes. Knowing how much Chip loves soups & stews, I decided to go that route, incorporating them into a dish instead of served on their own.  I remembered a favorite Weight Watchers recipe which I included in the last Virtual Vegan Potluck, Moroccan Slow Cooker Stew.  While it calls for butternut squash, I was confident that I could easily substitute another similar vegetable. I decided to try my hand at baking Moroccan bread as well, thinking that would round out the meal nicely.

                         Moroccan Slow Cooker Stew

--------  ------------  --------------------------------
                  cooking spray (or vegetable broth, for
  1              small  onion -- chopped
  1              clove  garlic -- minced
  4              sweet potatoes, about 2 pounds
  1                cup  carrots, roughly chopped
  1                cup  canned crushed tomatoes
                   cup  vegetable broth
     1/4           tsp  ground cinnamon
     1/2           tsp  cumin seeds
     1/2           tsp  red pepper flakes
  15                oz  canned chickpeas -- drained and rinsed
     1/2           tsp  table salt

Coat a small pot with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes.

Place sweet potatoes in a 3-quart or larger slow cooker (crockpot). Add onion and garlic, carrots, tomatoes, broth, cinnamon, cumin and red pepper flakes. Cover and turn on to high heat; simmer for a few hours, then turn to low when the vegetables begin to soften. Mine took about 6 hours on high, but crock-pot temperatures differ so be sure to keep an eye on yours.

Add chickpeas and salt. Stir, cover and heat for 5 minutes.

                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Yields 6 Servings; approx 1- 1/3 cups per serving. 5 Weight Watchers
PointsPlus for those who are counting. 

So, what do you think? He looks like a happy guy, right? Yep, he thoroughly enjoyed the stew, so much that he heated up leftovers for lunch the next day! I trust that this new found appreciation for sweet taters will help him live a longer life. 

Today I'll be planning/preparing for a visit from two of my children, so looking forward to hanging out with them. As always when we get together, there will be some vegan cooking & eating, yum! 

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Love Moroccan food... AND sweet potatoes. I eat them in favor of white potatoes often. Sounds like a great meal, and wish I could have seen Dr. Barnard. Have read his writing for years. Have you checked out the Blue Zones website? Lots of information on the healthy, long-lived people of the world - including Okinawa.

  2. I haven't specifically had Moroccan food but that looks very good and I'd be eager to try. We have an Ethiopian restaurant here that serves a lot of vegetarian dishes I'm eager to try soon.

    We had a similar issue here with sweet potatoes and Brad. Like Chip, he associated them with the goopy marshmallow-y nastiness of childhood Thanksgivings. When he finally had them roasted in olive oil and garlic or as a baked sweet potato with just butter, salt and pepper he loved them. Go figure!

  3. Aisling, I've never heard of the Blue Zones! Off to research, thank you! :)

  4. Karla, lol, how funny that Brad had the same original impression as Chip! Let me know if you try the stew! :)

  5. My dear friend Aisling left a comment for me and when I went to approve it, I somehow hit the wrong button and poof! It's gone! Ugh! Fortunately I still had the email asking for approval so here we go:

    From Aisling: Here is the page specifically about Okinawa, in case you didn't find it.

    I don't see them on the blog still, but there were some fantastic videos about some "elders" in some of the locations around the world that are deemed "blue zones." It is not a vegan website, but one discovers that the diet in almost all of these blue zones is heavily plant based.

  6. Thanks for going the extra mile to get that posted here. Just more support for the idea of "going veg." :)