Cusine - Environmentally friendly eating

By: Nicole Wilson

A plant-based diet is very on trend at the moment, with its claims of reducing your carbon footprint and improving your health. These are achieved by increasing your vegetable intake and reducing your meat consumption. As regular readers will know, I am all for increasing vegetable intake, especially from a health perspective. Vegetables are full of important vitamins and minerals as well as that digestive health powerhouse – fibre. And if it has a positive impact on the environment at the same time, well, it’s a win-win all round.

However, when reducing meat consumption, consider also your recommended dietary intake of essential nutrients that are more easily obtained from meat, such as iron. Iron comes in two forms: haem iron (found only in animal products) and non-haem (found in both animal and plant products). Haem iron is easier for us to absorb but, with a small hack, we can boost absorption of non-haem iron from plants by including vitamin C-rich foods. Good plant-based iron sources include chickpeas, dark leafy greens, molasses and dried apricots. This recipe includes all of these ingredients, and by serving it with a lemon-dressed side salad you’ll get the benefit of vitamin C as well.

Spiced Chickpea Stew

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp fresh ginger, crushed
2 large carrots, diced (1.5 cm cubes)
Dash of Kaitaia Fire or Tabasco sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sumac
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp paprika
Black pepper, a good grind
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup white wine or water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp dried apricots, chopped
2-3 cups shredded silverbeet and/or spinach
Parsley and mint (optional)

In a large pot over a moderate heat, fry the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot and Kaitaia Fire in the olive oil. When the onion has softened and gone translucent, add the mustard, sumac, cumin, paprikas and pepper. Cook for two minutes. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato paste, wine/water, soy sauce and molasses. Stir well to combine. Turn down the heat and simmer gently until the liquid reduces and the sauce thickens. Stir through the apricots and spinach. Cook for a further three minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and mint. Serve with rice or couscous, and a side salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

Nicole Wilson, Nutritionist


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