There’s a certain joy that comes with eating seasonally—not only are in-season veggies more nutrient-dense, they’re also bursting with flavor. You can make simple recipes with a short list of ingredients, knowing they’ll shine. Now that we’re solidly in the fall, it’s as good a time as any to have a pot of cozy stew on the stove as frequently as possible. And since many of us are on the hunt for meatless mains that are hearty enough for cold-weather cooking, it feels like the perfect time to share this incredibly satisfying one-pot vegetarian stew.
Don’t get me wrong, our family loves a classic beef stew—often it’s made with slow-simmered meat, mushrooms, onions, and carrots, served with corn bread to sop up all those flavors. And though I’ll never not love such a comforting dish, I wanted to challenge myself to create a vegetarian stew that tastes just as hearty and comes together in one pot so that its simple enough for quick weeknight cooking. I think you’ll love it as much as we do—and in addition to being packed with fiber, it’s vegan and gluten-free, too. Scroll on to see how this healthy vegetable stew comes together.
How To Give a Vegetarian Stew Tons of Flavor
If you’re already asking, “Where’s the beef?” let me set the record straight: this is no bland stew we’re talking about. You absolutely do not need stew meat, bacon, or any other animal-based ingredients to add tons of flavor to a vegetarian or vegan stew recipe. Here are the elements I rely on in this recipe to spice our stew right up:
Garlic. I sautéed a generous 5 cloves of garlic to infuse the entire broth with tons of flavor.
Spices. A Moroccan-inspired melange of spices—cumin, turmeric, ginger, a pinch red pepper flakes—ensures this stew has layers of flavor and a little heat. Plus, don’t skimp on salt.
Herbs. Here, a generous hit of fresh cilantro at the end adds fresh herbal flavor to counterbalance the rich broth—and it looks beautiful, too. My vegetable soups often feature woody herbs like rosemary and thyme to amp up the flavor of the broth.
Vegetables. A variety of vegetables—potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and cauliflower—provide sweetness and earthy flavor.
Lemon. A big squeeze of lemon adds just the hit of acidity that this stew needs to brighten it all up.
How To Make a Vegetarian Stew (It’s Easy!)
One of the benefits of a vegetarian stew? It comes together incredibly fast all in one pot—no need to sear the meat, thicken with a cornstarch slurry, or do any of the extra steps that traditional stew usually requires. This stew follows a general formula that can be adapted to whatever spices and vegetables you have on hand. Here are the steps—make it your own!
- Sauté all your aromatics (garlic, onions) and vegetables in olive oil until they get a little caramelized.
- Toast your spices and tomato paste to release max flavor.
- Add the liquid (broth, crushed tomatoes), a bean (here I used chickpeas) stir it all together, and simmer until tender.
- Top with fresh herbs and a hit of something acidic.
That’s it! Couldn’t be easier, and once you’ve got the process down, you’ll be making cozy soups on the fly all the time.
How to Freeze, Store, and Reheat Your Leftover Stew
One of the beautiful things about stew (and soup) is that there’s often leftovers—especially when you double the batch, as I often do, to ensure you have lots left over! It’s called cooking smarter not harder, my friends, and if you haven’t yet jumped on the train, now’s the time.
This stew will keep well in the fridge for a week, but I usually transfer my leftovers straight into a gallon-sized ziploc bag, scrawl “Vegetarian Stew with Chickpeas” with a sharpee on the front, and lay it flat on a shelf in my freezer. Once it’s frozen solid, I line it up with other frozen soups like a little soup library I can pull from whenever I need a delicious dinner in a flash.
When you’re ready to reheat your leftovers, the best option is to let it thaw in the fridge overnight, then gently warm over low heat on the stove. If you really can’t wait that long, run your ziploc of soup under warm water in your kitchen sink, then put it in a big bowl and zap that baby in the microwave.
More Vegetarian Stew and Soup Recipes You’ll Love…
‘Cause it’s soup szn! Get into it:
Scroll on for the recipe for this one-pot vegetarian soup. If you make it, be sure to leave a rating and a comment, and tag us on Instagram so we can see your version!
dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, vegetarian
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 5 carrots, sliced
- 1 potato, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds pepper
- for serving: fresh cilantro, lemon wedges, and flatbread/naan/cornbread (optional)
- Warm olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower, and cook for 10 min, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften.
- Add cumin, turmeric, ginger, a pinch red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. Stir around until the spices get toasty and fragrant.
- Add tomatoes, broth, chickpeas, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes until everything's tender and cooked through.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with lemon wedges and flatbread.
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