Although I love hummus, I don't actually love chickpeas. However, when added to soups and stews, chickpeas plump up with the flavors of whatever liquid they're swimming in, and when they've absorbed a rich mix of spices and sauces, that's when I start to fall in love. Chickpeas, which add great texture to stews like this Tunisian vegetable ragout with quinoa from FatFree Vegan Kitchen, also pack a lot of nutritional punch; they're full of fiber, and might help to control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. And the good news is that convenient canned chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are the way to go, as very little nutritional value is lost in the canning process, and cooking chickpeas from scratch can take a long time.
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I love dishes that accommodate almost any vegetables you find at the farmers market, and now that it's market season here in Rhode Island, I'm hungry for recipes like this North African vegetable stew from No Recipes. Bring warm spices like cumin, coriander and ginger together with a tiny bit of harissa, the fiery North African chile paste; add tomatoes, eggplant, squash, or whatever the market offers. A few green olives add another layer of distinctive flavor to this irresistible stew for all seasons.
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I love cooking lentils in the slow cooker. You can let them go until they absolutely fall apart, or stop the cooking when the lentils are soft but still holding together. This Moroccan lentil stew, from Taste and Tell, cooks lentils, potatoes and butternut squash at the same time, allowing them to meld into a uniformly creamy stew, and adds green beans at the end to keep the beans just a bit crunchy. The seasoning comes from curry powder, which I don't usually think of as particularly Moroccan; you could substitute a Syrian or Arabic spice blend for a nice effect.
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