Moroccan Winter Vegetable Stew

Sweet savory Moroccan winter vegetable stew with chickpeas, dates, butternut squash, and kale 

Chickpeas are a good source of low-fat protein. Plus, chickpeas are high in fiber. A new study shows that the fiber benefits of chickpeas are better than the fiber benefits of other foods. Eating chickpeas gives you better blood fat regulation, including lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides, throughout the day than other foods high in fiber. And they taste really good, in hummus, in salads, and in this stew.

And butternut squash is no slouch in the health benefits department. Besides being delicious, this squash is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. Butternut squash, technically a fruit, is an anti-inflammatory food because of its high anti-oxidant content. Low in fat, high in fiber, it’s a heart-healthy food. It’s chock-full of potassium and vitamin B6, great for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. This squash is full of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. Butternut squash is full of high levels of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A.

Even the spices in this dish are anti-inflammatory. Dates also pack a nutritional punch. They’re high in fiber, and are good for muscle development. Dates are chock full of essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc; and dates contain plenty of vitamins, like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.

Moroccan Winter Vegetable Stew

Prep Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 13 hours 45 minutes
Servings 10
Author Tania Van Pelt


  • 3 cups dried chickpeas soaked overnight
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 big leeks, use the pale green and white parts only
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, finely diced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into large chunks
  • 4 large pitted Medjool dates, chopped
  • 6 large carrots, cut into chunks (no need to peel them)
  • 6 cups filtered water
  • 1 28 oz. can of whole peeled organic tomatoes, coarsely chopped, liquid reserved
  • 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of lacinato kale, cut in thin ribbons
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons preserved lemon, finely diced (sub lemon zest if no preserved lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped about 1 cup
  • 2 scallions, green and white parts, diced on the bias for garnish


  1. If using dried chickpeas: place the chickpeas in a bowl and cover by 3 inches of water. Let the chickpeas soak overnight with a teaspoon of baking soda, then drain.
  2. Cut the leeks lengthwise and rinse under cold water, wash them very well because they often have grit and sand hidden inside. Chop them, crosswise, into 1/2 inch pieces. (If you don’t have leeks, use 2 white onions instead of one.)
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot, then sauté onion and the leeks, cook until golden and almost translucent, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Sauté until garlic is cooked, about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, sumac, and bay leaves and cook, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the squash, carrots, dates, water, tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the lemon juice and preserved lemon.
  7. Stir in the chickpeas and kale and simmer the stew, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.
  8. Add the liquid from the can of tomatoes and the tomato paste. You can add more water as needed, depending on how thick you want your stew. Cook another 20 minutes.
  9. Season with tamari or soy sauce and a splash of vinegar. Stir in half the chopped cilantro.
  10. Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the cilantro and scallions serve.

Recipe Notes

This dish is a great reason to buy or make preserved lemon. You'll need about 3 tablespoons of lemon rind, diced. Once you start cooking with preserved lemon, you'll quickly become addicted to the taste of it. Sumac is another item worth buying. It's a gorgeous spice that adds a lovely depth to most dishes.

Adapted from Ian Knauer’s recipe for Meatless Mondays on