Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Moroccan inspired flavor comes together in this hearty and healthy winter stew. The addition of dried apricots — which might not be something we add to stew everyday — add a wonderful texture and flavor, so don’t leave them out. It is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy; for more of a kick, add the extra cayenne pepper. Serve alongside fragrant brown basmati rice, about 1/4 cup (60mL) uncooked rice per person.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 to 4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon  ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon sorghum flour
1 (14oz/414mL) can organic, no-salt added chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I use Eden Foods)
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes (I use unsalted)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon  agave nectar
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 5 cups)
5 oz chopped, dried unsulphured apricots (I use Nature’s Best)
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 to 1 cup  fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium head. Add the onion and carrot. Cook about 5 minutes, until beginning to soften.Add the ginger and garlic. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes more, until fragrant.

Stir in the turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, and a 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper.

Sprinkle with sea salt and flour, and add the chickpeas. Cook until the vegetables and chickpeas are coated with the spices and the mixture smells spicy, about 30 seconds.

Add the diced tomatoes, water, tomato paste, and agave nectar. Mix well. Add the red pepper, cauliflower, and apricots. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender but still firm.

Remove the lid and stir in the zest and cilantro. Cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until thickened and cauliflower is cooked all the way through.

Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Like most stews, this becomes more flavorful as it stands. I recommend making it in the morning and serving it in the evening.

Serve with brown basmati rice. (If you have a rice cooker, this is my favorite way to make it)