Well, it’s been a while, but I’ve finally got round to writing another food blog! I was inspired by one of our lovely clients who had logged on to the Hog Class this week and had cooked what sounded like a lovely chickpea stew. Stuck for a lunch idea I decided to rustle one up, as it ticked a number of boxes:
- We needed some slow release carbs for our classes that evening, and chickpeas have a really low Glycaemic Index rating, meaning they release energy slowly over a long period of time and help you feel fuller for longer.
- We had lots of veg left over from the weekend that needed eating
- The weather was terrible and I needed to feel all warm and cosy inside!
As it turned out, it was so simple and delicious I thought I’d share it with you all.
Emma is doing a fascinating training course about the Menopause, and a huge element of it has been about gut health. Everyone is familiar with the phrase “you are what you eat”, but actually, you are what you absorb. And this is where gut health comes into its own. This is a fascinating area of science, and one that we still don’t fully understand, but it is clear that we should take it seriously. A healthy gut not only makes you feel better, it also means that we can properly break down food into energy that we can use and extract all the lovely nutrients that our bodies need. A healthy gut boosts your immune system, which is so important right now, and a number of studies are increasingly showing that gut health is linked to our mood and general feeling of well-being.
So where does good gut health start? Well, naturally, it starts with the food we put into our bodies. The single biggest contributor to a healthy gut is to eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. So in this blog I’m going to give you a simple recipe that contains… (wait for it)… 14 different types of plant! Now some of these are present only in very small amounts, but actually as far as your gut is concerned that doesn’t matter too much, it’s the variety that counts. By packing this recipe out with easy to find, starchy vegetables and those oh-so slow-release chickpeas it will also help you feel fuller for longer – what’s not to love!? The recipe is based on the veg that I had hanging around the fridge, but feel free to substitute whatever is around. The method and principle remains the same. Also, I haven’t included any onion or garlic as Emma can’t eat them, but if you want to add half an onion and a crushed clove of garlic to the pan at the beginning it won’t hurt at all, and your gut will thank you for it 😊
A Simple Plant-based Lunch Dish (Serves 2 hungry people or 4 as a side dish)
1 tin Chickpeas, drained
½ Bulb of Fennel
2-3 medium sized carrots, scrubbed and trimmed
1 decent sized parsnip
2 sticks of celery
1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
Good handful of spinach
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
Sprig each of Thyme and Rosemary, leaves removed from Stalks
1 pint of Vegetable stock
Small handful of chopped parsley
Feta Cheese (for sprinkling, Optional)
Start by dicing all of the vegetables into similar sized 1-2cm pieces (about the same size as a chickpea actually, just to keep things simple). Add a splash of olive oil to a deep sided stock pan over a medium heat, then add the diced veg, Herbs de Provence and sprinkle of salt, and sweat everything down for 6-7 minutes until it starts to catch and caramelise on the bottom of the pan.
Once you start to see the veg browning, add the chopped tomatoes, stock, rosemary and thyme and turn up the heat so that the mixture starts to boil and reduce down.
After about 8-10 minutes, add the chickpeas, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes until the chickpeas soften.
Finally, reduce the heat and stir through the spinach and chopped parsley. Season to perfection and serve in warmed bowls with a crumbling of feta cheese if you like 😊
The whole process takes about half an hour from start to finish, so dust down that can of chickpeas in the back of the store cupboard and give it a go!
Thanks for reading!