Lebanese Inspired Pea Stew

Let’s talk about spicy food. No-  let’s listen to me talk about how much I just don’t get it. Does it feel good to have your mouth on fire? Does it really enhance the flavor of food? And I know what you’re thinking, “yes, Mia, it tastes good and enhances the flavor of food and you just have weak taste buds” and well, maybe that’s true. Regardless, I’ll continue to question the sanity of people like my boyfriend who eagerly consume ghost pepper sauce, I recognize that we live in a spicy world and I’m the minority when it comes to spice-opinions. Dishes like this, which can be spiced or unspiced to your heart’s desire, is my compromise.

This Lebanese inspired pea stew is a cross between a curry and a vegetable stew. It’s spiced but not spicy (a couple thai chilis can change that if you so desire), it’s a melodious combination of savory broth with sweet vegetables, and it’s super cheap, healthy, and easy to make to boot. I made it for the first time over the summer, and have been craving it since. It’s definitely going to be a winter staple of mine.

This stew uses TVP as its source of protein. Bob’s red mill sells it at most stores near their “alternative flours”, but if you can’t find it, any veggie crumbles should work just as well. This stew also freezes wonderfully. I like to portion it out on parchment paper into blobs which I freeze and then store in a large ziplock bag. When I’m feeling lazy, which seems to be most of the time nowadays, I can just microwave a blob of the stew with rice for a super easy meal. At the minimum it stops me from eating cereal and granola bars for dinner (which has already happened a few times this past month…oops). Try out this recipe and let me know what you think!

Lebanese Inspired Pea Stew

  1. In a bowl, combine the TVP with 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Cover and set aside.
  2. Dice the onions and mince the garlic. Peel the potatoes and carrot and cut into small cubes.
  3. Add the oil and butter substitute to a large pan (I used a medium-sized pot) at medium high heat.
  4. Once the butter is beginning to sizzle, add the onion and garlic and continue sauteing until the onion is glassy and beginning to brown at the edges.
  5. Stir in the vegetable bouillon, black pepper, pumpkin pie spice, cumin, and coriander, and TVP.
  6. Once the TVP starts browning, add the potatoes and carrots and cook for a few minutes more.
  7. Add the crushed tomatoes and continue cooking until the sauce is reduced.
  8. Add enough water to the pan that the vegetables are just barely submerged.
  9. Continue cooking the stew for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender but not soft, and the sauce is thick.
  10. Add the fresh or frozen peas, and salt to taste.
  11. Serve with rice, naan, or romaine lettuce. Ideally a mixture of the three. Enjoy!

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