Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

New York City, and the surrounding area are about to get dumped on by a massive snow storm.  People are flocking to the store, raiding the aisles, and stocking up on supplies to last them until Spring. Me? I cooked up this delicious pot of stew, and plan on holing up in my apartment and eating leftovers while the storm blankets the city’s sidewalks with snow.  I can’t think of a better home-cooked meal to welcome the storm than this satisfying and healthy Italian Stew. 

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

This dish is every bit as comforting as some of it’s meatier, culinary cousins, but is incredibly healthy and accidentally vegan! I say accidentally because I never purposely set out to make vegan meals. Being a vegetarian I tend to use a lot of cheese in my cooking, especially for comfort food, but this stew is so vibrant with flavors you definitely won’t miss the cheese.

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

This dish is really simple to make, and I can bet that most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry.  Feel free to be creative as well if you don’t have certain ingredients. Frozen spinach can be swapped in for the fresh kale; sweet or regular potatoes, or any other type of winter squash can be subbed in for the butternut squash.  Can we also talk about how healthy this dish is? Every ingredient in this stew is nutritious – potassium, iron, calcium, fiber…this list goes on. So many positives in this stew I can’t think of a reason not to make it. It can be time consuming to chop all these veggies, however, so if you have a friend, partner or family member that you can enlist to help chop, I strongly encourage it!

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Hope everyone in the Northeast stays safe, and eats lots of delicious comfort food during the storm!

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Note: Bunches of kale vary in weight and in the amount of wilted leaves or large stems.  You’ll probably need ~1 pound of kale to yield 5 cups (after sorting, stemming and chopping). Kale cooks down significantly so don’t be alarmed by the large amounts of greens.
Adapted from The Moosewoods Restaurant Cooking for Health


  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup) – optional
  • 5 cups kale, stemmed and chopped (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups cooked whole-wheat couscous, brown rice or quinoa for serving


  1. In a large soup pot on medium-high heat, cook the onions and salt in the olive oil, stirring often, until very soft and starting to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, coriander, thyme, black pepper and red pepper flakes and stir for amount a minute.  Add the water, butternut squash, chickpeas, tomatoes, carrots and bell pepper.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the vegetables until very tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the kale, cover, and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the greens are tender but still bright in color.  Stir in the basil and vinegar, and add additional spices and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve over couscous, brown rice or quinoa.

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