am having a “Crockpot” Renaissance. I
wake up in the morning, scheming about what to plop in the pot so we can have
dinner together at a decent hour during the week, (not to mention eating really deliciously and well.) So here’s one of my latest
creations, one that I served up at a recent class of appreciative eaters! Not
only is it gorgeous with brilliant colors of orange, yellow and red, it’s a
great way to make a meatless meal that is so hearty no one even misses the
meat. The leftovers freeze great, and a pita pocket stuffed full with the stew
and a little shredded Napa cabbage makes a super lunch the next day.
it as spicy as you like. The recipe is redolent with the warm aroma of Garam
Masala, an Indian spice blend including coriander, turmeric, pepper, nutmeg and
cinnamon, but you can add more!  We are
“pepperheads” in my family, so I add additional Garam Masala and a ½ Tsp of
Cayenne to the big pot.
South Indian Butternut and
Squash Stew
            1 Cup Dried Chickpeas, soaked overnight*
            2 ½ LBs Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
            2 Large Carrots, peeled and chopped
            1 Large Red Onion, chopped
            1 Cup Red Lentils**
            4 Cups Vegetable Broth
            2 TB Tomato Paste
            1 TB Grated Fresh Ginger
            1 Tsp Cumin
            1 Tsp Garam Masala
            1  Tsp Sea Salt
            ½ Tsp Turmeric
            1/4 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
            1/4 Cup Lime Juice
            6 Cups Cooked Basmati Brown Rice
            1/2 Cup Chopped Roasted Cashews
            1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
Combine the soaked chickpeas
through the black pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low until the
chickpeas are tender and the lentils have begun to break down, 5 to 6 hours.  Stir in the lime juice. (Why lime juice? I
don’t have to add as much salt. Citrus juice is a great substitute for salt!) Sprinkle
with cashews and cilantro and serve over the basmati brown rice.
soak method:
beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil
over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Drain when ready to
find red lentils? Red lentils are a traditional “dal”, used in Indian cooking.
“Dal” is the word used to describe lentils, peas and beans in India. I like
them in this recipe, because they not only add golden color, (they turn from
red to yellow when cooked), but they also break down easily, so the flavor
incorporates beautifully into the dish. If you can’t find the reds – just use
ordinary brown lentils from the grocery store. Your stew will still taste

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