In college my roommate and I moved to a dorm that was connected to a vegan dining hall (she was a vegetarian and I was a quick convert) which is where I really began to eat a plant-based diet. It is also where I learned the art of eating alone. I feel like when you’re totally comfortable eating a meal by yourself in a public space there is a huge feeling of empowerment that comes with that. I’m also really into the art of just plain eating, and not always having to make conversation. This is also where I learned what a pot plant looks like when my boyfriend at the time told me to “babysit his strawberry plant for the weekend.”
I’ve been eating mostly veggies since then, and I feel good about it. I’m not going to start preaching to you about how a plant-based diet is the way to go, because if you’re reading this you probably already know that.
This stew is a perfect example of something I would make on a weeknight during the winter. It is super hearty and has the most delicious broth from being simmered with a leftover parmesan rind, which I always have a good stock of in my freezer (and so should you). The kale wilts down nicely and the chickpeas are super creamy. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with plenty of fresh ground black pepper, this stew is a perfect winter bowl.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow or white onion, chopped fine
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stems, chopped fine
- 3 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash (about one small squash, or 1/2 of a large one)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups good chicken or veggie stock
- 4-6 cups water
- 3-4 inch piece of parmesan rind
- 4-6 cups chopped tuscan kale
- Fresh ground black pepper
- kosher salt
- olive oil and fresh basil to serve
- Heat a large stockpot over medium heat and add olive oil.
- When oil is hot, add onion, celery, carrots and celery. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring often.
- Add squash, oregano, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook, stirring often for 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
- Add tomatoes and cook for about 2-3 more minutes until the juice reduces and a bit and the tomatoes break up a bit. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add stock, water, parmesan rind and chickpeas to the pot. Bring to a boil. Add just 4 cups water to begin with, and add more if soup becomes too thick.
- Simmer soup for about 30 minutes and season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Add kale and remove from heat.
- Serve when kale is wilted a bit, topped with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.
- The parmesan rind will disintegrate a bit when it cooks in the stock, but if you can find it then fish it out at the end.