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Photo by Lisa Chiarini

Photo by Lisa Chiarini

Another great vegan recipe from our guest blogger Lisa Chiarini;

This North African recipe, embrace all the cultural heritage of this place, pool of many colonizations… Arabs, Ottomans and French…. I could not literally wait to make you discover this great mix of flavors!

It is one of my “regulars” on the dinner table and it gets my hubby’s taste buds go nuts!.. and when (not IF) I open my own green organic cafe’ you can be sure, the chalk board with the “Specials of the day” will often host this dish!

Let’s start with some info:
every single ingredient oozes health and freshness….

Except a tiny bit of coconut oil to lightly fry at the very beginning, there is no other oil! Lots of good spices to make sure your blood pressure, antioxidants and immune system stay healthy and strong!Did you know that Cumin is present on the moroccan table along with Salt and Pepper, such is the importance for the locals? Anyway… I stop digressing.Here is the recipe!

  • 400g organic chickpeas (cooked and drained)
  • 400 g aubergine chopped (1/2 inch pieces if you are one of those precise cook who want everything same size… otherwise…. leave it to your imagination)
  • 2 big knob of coconut oil (E.V. cold pressed)
  • 1 teaspoon of Himalayan unrefined salt
  • 500 g potatoes, (sweet potatoes for paleo) peeled and chopped (1/2 inch pieces )
  • 2 carrots, chopped (as above)
  • 1 onion, small  dice
  • 1 red capsicum chopped (1/2 inch pieces.. read above)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (great spice with so many health properties….)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional but highly recommended… by my husband… who is pulling my sleeve to remind me to write his advice!)
  • 400 g organic tomato “passata”
  • 1 courgette chopped (1/2 inch pieces…)

Optional: 50/80g of cooked Cous Cous per person.

Stage 1
Boil the potatoes until soften in salt water, set aside.
In the same water boil the carrots until soft, then set aside.

TIP: Don’t just throw away the water you cooked them in, it serves as a sort of basic stock later.

In the meantime cook the aubergine in the oven with the coconut oil and salt, until soft and well cooked.
Now you are ready to start to create your Stew!

Stage 2
In a large pot set over medium heat, melt the coconut oil.
Add the onion and cook until soft.
Add the chopped capsicum and cook for 7-8 minutes.
Stir in the turmeric, garam masala, curry powder, cumin, salt and .. the chilly flakes (if you like) and cook, stirring often until the mixture is fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
Add the stock (from cooking the carrots and potatoes), the tomato “passata” and the chopped courgette.
Cook and stir for about 10 minutes.
Stir in the chickpeas, the cooked potatoes, carrots and the aubergine.
Cook for about 30 minutes on a low heat … Making sure the water and the sauce become a unique thick blend of flavors!
If you chose (as I always do) to use the Cous Cous, then place it on the plate as “bed” upon which you will lay the desired quantity of stew!

Bon appetit!
let me know how it goes and feel free to share it with your friends and family!

Written & photographed by Lisa Chiarini

The Antiageing benefits of this dish:

Tumeric contains a phytonutrient called curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory effects similar to hydrocortisone without all the nasty side-effects. It is extremely useful in irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease (so much for not using spices!) Tumeric also contains 17% manganese and 10% iron.

Used together with onions it may prevent colon cancer. Research published in the August 2006 issue of Clinical Gasteroenterology and Hepatology showed that curcumin together with the extremely powerful anti-oxidant quercitin, found in onions, significantly reduced the incidence of bowel cancer in families with a genetic predisposition.

Cumin benefits the digestive system by stimulating the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, compounds necessary for proper digestion and nutrient assimilation. Cumin also enhances the liver’s detoxification enzymes.

Carrots contain a diverse mix of antioxidants, that protect bowel health, and carotenoids – important for eye health. Carrots contain a huge amount of beta-carotene and vitamin A. They also contain a phytonutrient that protects against cardiovascular disease – polyacetylenes. Polyacetylenes are unique phytonutrients made from metabolism of particular fatty acids (often involving crepenynic acid, stearolic acid and tariric acid). The two best-researched polyacetylenes in carrot are falcarinol and falcarindiol which have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-aggregatory properties (that help prevent excessive clumping together of red blood cells).

Sweet potatoes contain glycosides – batatins and batatosides – that have been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. They are extremely high in Vitamin A & C, manganese, pottasium and all the B vitamins. Anthocyanin and other color-related pigments in sweet potato have a strong anti-inflammatory action. Recent research has shown that extracts from sweet potatoes can significantly increase blood levels of adiponectin in persons with type 2 diabetes. Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced by our fat cells, and it serves as an important modifier of insulin metabolism. Persons with poorly-regulated insulin metabolism and insulin insensitivity tend to have lower levels of adiponectin, and persons with healthier insulin metabolism tend to have higher levels.