This root vegetable stew is spicy, tangy and packed with cauliflower and butternut squash. It cooks in 20 minutes and makes the perfect vegan dinner over brown rice or couscous. P.S. Keep reading for tips on adding meat to this!
While it’s still technically summer, this dreary, rainy weather has made me want to curl up with a bowl of something warm and slow cooked. After a long day at work though, a slow cooked soup isn’t really option. Can you relate? Also I’m kinda spooked by slow cookers; leaving it on all day when we aren’t home feels risky. I know that’s the whole point of them but I guess I need to work on my slow cooker anxiety. In the meantime, making a quick hearty vegetable stew like this one will have to suffice : )
In my Easy Sheet Pan Lemon Harissa Baked Shrimp post I talk about how Tim and I have “Ashley and Tim” dinner nights. What that means for us is that we each eat separate meals on the same night. It’s a great opportunity for us to savor our favorites. Tim usually stocks up on Trader Joe’s sweet potato gnocchi and pizza bites and I go for seafood or veggies. I actually like to eat a vegan or vegetarian meal at least twice a week. I don’t have plans to go vegan or anything, but it’s just nice to give your belly a break from heavier foods. The vegetarian meal nights are great because it’s like a big RESET button for your eating week. And I don’t know about you but having a hearty meal that doesn’t weigh me down feels like a real win.
The basis of this hearty root vegetable stew is cauliflower and butternut squash but you can really use any root vegetables you like. If you want to make swaps there are a couple other delicious options, that could easily go in this vegetable stew.
Other GREAT root vegetables you can use in this stew:
- Delicatta Squash
- These babies only show up in the Fall and they’re so sweet and delicious. Added bonus: No peeling necessary!
- Sweet Potato
- FYI: These will need 5-7 extra minutes of cooking time so that they’re fully cooked
The best thing about this vegetable stew though is how fast it cooks! With a couple of simple tricks you can really speed up the stew process. I’ve always told myself that I’d be one of those super put together ladies who does all the meal prep on Sundays. But what I realized is that it’s important to know yourself. And what I know is that I barely plan enough time in the morning to put on makeup and I keep my earrings in my purse so that I can put them on while walking into work from my car. So my tips for meal prep are small things you can do the night before or in the morning before work. We only have one bathroom in our apartment so some mornings when Tim takes his shower, I use that time to chop up onions or grate cheese or cut up herbs for dinner.
Dinner prep tips for super fast weeknight meals:
- Buy pre-cut vegetables for the ones that are hard to prepare
- Really helpful for veggies that require difficult peeling and chopping (like butternut squash)
- Pre-cook certain ingredients the night before
- You can roast or steam your meats or veggies (respectively) the night before and then just add them to your sauce the next day for dinner
- Chop up the flavor enhancers in advance
- I like to chop up garlic, onions, herbs and small things the night before so that I can just throw them in when the time comes
- Use ingredients that pack a lot of flavor
- Stews usually need to well…stew for a long time for the flavor to soak in. For this quick cooking vegetable stew, I used harissa and preserved lemons because they pack a punch without the need to cook for a super long time
Cooking Tip: If you want to add meat to this stew, you definitely can. I made it with quickly sauteed chicken tenderloins and it was great! It’d also be a great vessel for shredded rotisserie chicken or some sauteed lamb. P.S. Lamb and harissa are BFF’S! Just add your cooked meats in when you add in the root vegetable and let everything simmer together.
Are you looking for your new favorite Fall dish that you can make in a flash? Try this out and let me know how you like it!
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 cup butternut squash, cut in cubes I buy the pre-cubed version
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 7-8 dried apricots, finely chopped
- 1 tbs preserved lemons, finely chopped
- 1 cup tomato sauce, canned and unflavored
- 1/2 cup almond milk, unflavored and unsweetened I like the sweet nutty flavor of almond milk, but you can use any milk you like
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp harissa
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a pot with warm water and turn the stove top on to medium high heat. Add cauliflower, butternut squash and a dash of salt to it. Let the vegetables steam 5-7 minutes (they can still have a little crunch to them, because they'll simmer some more in the stew sauce). Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- In a deep saucepan, dutch oven or wok on medium high heat add olive oil, garlic, apricots and preserved lemon. Stir and cook until fragrant for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, water, almond milk, harissa, salt and pepper to the pot. Stir and simmer for 5-8 minutes.
- Add cooked cauliflower and butternut squash to the stew. Stir and simmer for 3-5 more minutes. Serve over rice or couscous. Enjoy!
- Preserved lemons really do add something special to this stew. If you can't find them though, I'd suggest adding 1 tbs of lemon juice and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar to the stew instead. Note: Add the milk after the lemon and vinegar have had a minute to soak into the stew, to keep the milk from curdling.