Hearty and filling, you’ll enjoy the thick and creamy curry-spiced peanut sauce and vegetable goodness of this vegetarian Chickpea Peanut Stew. (It’s vegan and dairy-free!)
Of all the legumes that warm my heart, the chickpea holds the #1 spot. Putting aside that it’s the star of one of my favorite dips — hummus, natch — I think it does a bang up job standing in for meat in thick, saucy stews, like this one.
Not that I’m trying to replace the flavor or texture of meat with this Chickpea Peanut Stew — that’s not the case at all. No, I created this vegetarian recipe specifically with chickpeas in mind.
I do a lot of vegetarian cooking, but very little of it is about replacing chicken or beef in a recipe. That’s how you slip-slide into the trap of relying on meat replacements, like fake chicken strips, or beefy crumbles.
I have nothing against those ingredients, mind you — and they can be, in fact, very helpful in creating meatless meals for omnivores who crave the texture of beef and chicken. But there’s a beauty to vegetarian cooking that shines when you use real ingredients and whole foods, and season them with care and thoughtfulness.
Those “naturally vegetarian” meals are the ones that omnivores don’t even notice are meat-free, because they’re just plain cravably delicious, no matter your meat-eating status. And this Chickpea Peanut Stew is one of those meals. It’s vegan, even (shhhh! lol), but there are no weird, brow-furrowing ingredient substitutes. Just veggies and spices, and an amazing homemade peanut sauce with rich and creamy coconut milk.
And, of course, those cheek-pinchable little chickpeas.
Based loosely on my West African Peanut Soup, it’s delish and hearty served over rice. Use your family’s favorite: white, brown, a wild rice blend, or even cauliflower rice.
What? Cauliflower rice? Yessirree. I think this saucy dish is the perfect topping for cauliflower rice. But, I also acknowledge that embracing cauliflower rice is a big ask for some people. Maybe that’s even true for members of your own family!
And that’s why I’m also sharing this cauliflower-jasmine rice blend (above), punched up with cilantro and lime juice. Jasmine rice is a beautifully scented white rice that goes so well with stews and curries. When you replace a portion of it with cauliflower rice, it slips unnoticeably into the jasmine rice: All the flavor benefits of jasmine rice in a healthier package! Read more about my cauliflower rice blend here.
Sometimes winter meals can be heavy and carby and, while cozy for sure, make us feel a bit sluggish and weighed down. But veggie-strong meals like Chickpea Peanut Stew are healthy and energizing, and are the perfect transition meals as we eagerly look forward to spring’s fresh produce and lighter, warm-weather fare!
Chickpea Peanut Stew
for the stew:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1 green chile minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup peanut butter*
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 15 ounce can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
- 1 cup spinach sliced chiffonade
- cilantro minced, for garnish
- peanuts chopped, for garnish
for the white rice blend:
- 1 cup uncooked jasmine white rice
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup riced cauliflower raw or frozen (thawed)
- cilantro minced
- 1 lime
- kosher salt
for the stew:
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan over medium until shimmering. Add the onions and peppers and cook until soft. Scootch the veggies to one side and add the remaining oil to the cleared side.
- Add the tomato paste, paprika, curry, garlic powder and salt to the oil and stir to create a thick, fragrant paste. Stir into the onion mixture.
- Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and pour in a splash of vegetable broth to loosen. Cook for a minute or two, until the mixture is thick.
for the peanut sauce:
- Add the peanut butter, 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth, and 1/2 of the can of tomatoes to a deep bowl or tall, large jar, and use an immersion blender to create a thin sauce (you can also use a regular blender - pour in the ingredients and blend until smooth)
- Add the peanut sauce, and the remaining broth and tomatoes to vegetables and mix well. Raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low, stir in the coconut milk, chickpeas, and spinach, and warm through for 5 minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Taste, and add more salt if needed. Hold on low heat until ready to serve.
for the cauliflower rice blend:
- While the stew simmers, add the jasmine rice and water to a 2 qt pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook undisturbed for 15 minutes.
- As quickly as you can, lift the lid, pour in the cauliflower rice on top of the white rice, and replace the lid (do not stir). Let steam for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid, and stir the cauliflower into the white rice. Mix in pinches of salt, followed by the cilantro, and a big squeeze of lime juice.
- Serve the chickpea peanut stew with the cauliflower rice blend. Top with garnishes.
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