Healthy Recipe, Stewed Chickpeas with Spinach and Goat Cheese

This warm and fortifying vegetarian stew is adapted from one shared by Nadia Ghulam, an Afghan cook now based in Madrid, to serve to refugees for a project featured in “The World Central Kitchen Cookbook” by the humanitarian organization’s founder, chef Jose Andres. It’s quick and easy and loaded with flavor and goodness. The creamy, tangy goat cheese sauce adds an extra boost of protein and richness. Serves 4-6. RECIPE HERE – Susan Puckett

Goat Cheese Sauce:
½ cup whole milk or cream
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste Stew:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
1 cup tomato puree
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces spinach leaves, roughly chopped
2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, undrained
1 ½ cups vegetable stock or water
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish 1. Make the goat cheese sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the milk, goat cheese, and cumin. Bring to a simmer over low heat (do not let it boil) and cook, stirring regularly, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature while you make the stew.
2. Make the stew: In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add the red and green bell peppers and continue cooking until they soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the tomato puree, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and salt and mix well.
4. Add the spinach in batches, stirring so that the leaves wilt into the mixture. Add the chickpeas and their liquid and the stock and increase the heat to medium-high. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the stew is thickened to desired consistency. Taste and season with pepper and more salt, if desired.
5. Ladle the stew into bowls. Stir the goat cheese sauce well — it should be thick and creamy. Add a dollop of the sauce to each serving and sprinkle with parsley or cilantro. Serve warm. Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at

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