Rustic Chickpea Stew with Apricots & Turnip {slow-cooker recipe}

It’s not in my nature to switch tracks on the eve of a new year, jumping from the long, sugar-coated holiday cookie train over to the one piled with beans and greens like so many do. I’m not a maker of quickly-broken resolutions, choosing instead to jot down my intentional food-related goals for the year and work them in as part of our lifestyle.

My transition from sweets to stew for this post was not for health reasons (although I am not oblivious to the wisdom of this change in diet) but more of a practical step. We first took a look at the monthly budget, then I stood in front of my well-stocked pantry, eying up the jars of staples.

Couscous, chickpeas, canned tomatoes, dried fruit, spices, a carton of apple juice. Dinner, however disguised, was almost fully contained here; it just needed a little coaxing, a hit of garlic, and six or so hours in the slow cooker.

Jessica over at Good Cheap Eats is running a series this month called ‘Eat Down the Pantry‘, pretty practical for those of us who are feeling the scourge of the holiday spending, do keep a stocked pantry — and detest going out in -22C weather to shop for food. (I suspect I am not alone in the latter point.)

Of course it’s not just pantry items that we are using to build our menu plans; now is the best time to benefit from your stock of vegetables in the freezer, and raid the preserves pantry for chutney.

Today’s vegetarian stew has encouraged me to delve deeper into my pantry and see what creations I can come up with.  I often run through the selling points of a dish when I am pulling it together in my kitchen, and this slow-cooker supper has a lot going for it, according to my notes.

Let’s see:

  • it clears out pantry staples that perhaps are in need of refreshing
  • it uses ingredients on hand, so there’s no need to venture out to shop
  • offers a hot bowl of comfort food for a cold January day
  • it’s vegetarian, yet hearty enough for a main meal
  • it’s baby/kid friendly – 9 month-old Clara ate an entire bowl. Loved it.
  • it is cheap to make (most meatless mains are)
  • putting it together was easy as pie

I’ll admit it, I tested two chocolate-coconut cookie recipes just yesterday, and enjoyed a sliver of dark chocolate with my afternoon coffee. The baking isn’t going to stop and we’re not going to nibble salads all month, even though just about every food magazine cover boasts greenery. But we are going to practice common sense seasonal eating, starting with this rustic chickpea stew.

This stew comes together in an unceremonious chop ‘n dump kind of way, but the leisurely simmering in the slow-cooker transforms it into something quite nice indeed. The apple juice and dried apricots lend a sweetness to the sauce that balances out the acidity of the tomatoes, and cubes of turnip turn into buttery morsels alongside the tender chickpeas.

Serve over whole wheat couscous or a baked brown rice pilaf, and garnish with your choice of chopped parsley or cilantro.

Rustic Chickpea Stew with Apricots & Turnip {slow-cooker recipe}
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Recipe type: Dinner
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 6
Make use of the slow-cooker and clear out the pantry with this simple and rustic vegetarian stew. Serve over whole wheat couscous or brown rice pilaf.
Ingredients
  • 19 oz (540ml) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes or 3 1/2 cups homemade tomato sauce
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup/150g medium diced turnip
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots (about 12)
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a slow-cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours, or on high for four hours.
  3. Check turnip for tenderness and taste stew for seasoning. Adjust salt if necessary and serve.

 

What is your favorite rustic meal for a cold winter day?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. This sounds delicious! We tend to move towards soups in the winter mainly because it is easy to grab veggies and stock from the freezer and throw them together with some beans or bread. But, we still have a lot of heavy foods on the weekends – at least until the Superbowl is over :-)
    Heather’s last post: what i am eating #10

  2. Looks delish, Aimee! And it’s my kind of slow cooker recipe – a dumper. Dump it all in with nothing to prep on the stove.
    Robin from Frugal Family Times’s last post: Cuisinart Griddler Review (and our First Giveaway!)

  3. I love nearly anything in the slow cooker as a hearty meal. However this soup is a family favorite and it’s fast. http://bit.ly/W1SEax (Sausage, Bean and Spinach soup)
    I’m so curious~ why time of day do you shoot your pictures? Evening when dinner is ready or do you prep it so it’s ready while you still have daylight hours?
    Emily @Random Recycling’s last post: Why do kids love food served on skewers?

    • Hi Emily, it varies from recipe to recipe, but yes, I often shoot around 3 pm when the baby is napping and I still have some daylight. It means I’ll reheat later for supper, but for most dishes, this doesn’t matter a bit.

  4. This looks FANTASTIC, Aimee! I’ve been needing more easy, healthy vegetarian recipes in my life so this is just perfect. Yum!
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough’s last post: bread & butter

  5. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Perfect for a cold day!
    Maria’s last post: Spaghetti with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Spinach {Giveaway}

  6. I like the sweet and savoury combos going on here!
    Kevin @ Closet Cooking’s last post: Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oatmeal

  7. Stephanie says:

    Hi Aimée,
    Thank for sharing – it sounds delicious. And smells amazing! Yes, it’s cooking right now, along with the brown rice pilaf with cinnamon, nutmeg & black pepper to take the Moroccan tajine style all the way through. Your recipe totally caught my imagination and usurped my planned cooking for the day. I didn’t have turnip, but I’m sure sweet potato will serve as well. We’ll be dining on it tonight with some other friends of yours – the Reding-Robichauds :)

  8. This looks phenomenal — healthy and delicious!
    Megan’s last post: Easy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

  9. This looks soooo good and comforting! It’s going on the menu for this weekend!
    Gaby’s last post: Healthy Recipes to Kick Start 2013

  10. I love this! I use my slow cooker A LOT and this is just another great recipe to add to my arsenal :)
    Julie @ Table for Two’s last post: Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

  11. I love a well-stocked pantry! Thanks for the nod to my series, too. :)
    Jessica’s last post: Pantry Challenge Day 3: Breakfast Freezer Cooking

  12. That is one gorgeous stew! I love slow-cooker meals this time of year, they make the house smell like heaven.
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective’s last post: Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta + 8k Giveaways

  13. This is gorgeous Aimee! I want it for dinner right now :) xoxo
    Jenny Flake’s last post: Vegetable Party Spaghetti with Warm Garlic Thyme Olive Oil

  14. I normally don’t like apricots. But I like everything else in this… wonder if I’d be able to sneak them past myself? :)
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm’s last post: 2013 Reading Goals

  15. I just recently got myself a slow cooker and I love that I can make hearty meals like this in advance. I don’t know why I waited so long to get one!
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen’s last post: 2012 A Year in Food | A Year of Seasonal Gluten Free Recipes

  16. This looks amazing! We have a tomato sensitivity in our family, however. Could you recommend a way to make this dish without tomatoes? Thanks!

  17. I love a good pantry meal! Especially a healthy one (I’ll admit that my most common one is very unhealthy thai peanut noodles). I believe that I have the ingredients for this very meal living in my pantry right now.
    Stephanie’s last post: Happy New Year! {2013}

  18. Mmmmm, so healthy and delish looking! Perfect for those chilly days :)
    marla’s last post: Hello from Grand Cayman!

  19. This looks amazing! It is definitely on my Things to Cook list!
    Thanks Aimée!
    M.

  20. Such beautiful pictures and recipe… I want some now!
    Amanda’s last post: Homemade Fruit Rollups

  21. This sounds like my kind of meal – slow-cooked and a great use of a well-stocked pantry, especially now when all I want to do is hibernate for the winter. Can’t wait to give it a go!
    Tracy’s last post: Cardamom Snickerdoodles and Food-Related Goals for 2013

  22. This looks really easy and yummy. But! I’ve never had a turnip! What does it taste like? Do you peel it? I’m going to give this a try so I can introduce a new veggie in my house.
    Mel@TheDizzyMom’s last post: Photo Gallery Wall

  23. Do you think you can substitute the dried apricots for fresh (chopped up) apricots? We got a whole bunch from our local CSA and I’m not sure what to do with them….most recipes seem to call for the dried version of them!

  24. Do you think you could sub stock for the apple juice or does it need that sweetness?

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