What is the difference between stew and soup? Stews are thicker and chunkier and could, if you want, be described as really thick soups. Stews often are thickened with potatoes and most always served hot. The liquid in a stew is minimal to the point of being more a gravy than a broth. In reality, a stew is usually considered a main dish and soup a first course.
Make this vegan stew first thing in the morning and it will be thick, chunky and ready for dinner that night. Squeezing a little lemon juice into the stew just before eating gives this stew a unique flavor that I think you will like.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion (sliced thin)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 pound uncooked butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1½-inch cubes)
1 teaspoons salt
7 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base
6 to 8 ounces baby spinach leaves
Lemon wedges (to squeeze on the stew when served)
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft – about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more. Stir in ½ cup broth and scrape the bottom to deglaze the pan. Transfer the contents to a slow cooker.
Add the chickpeas, squash, salt, broth, and bouillon to the slow cooker. Gently stir, cover, and cook on high for 4 hours.
Just before serving, lift the lid and stir in the spinach leaves. Cover and continue cooking 10 more minutes. Spoon the stew into bowls and serve with a plate of lemon wedges on the side.