Moroccan Stew is a feisty, spicy collection of all things good for you-protein, legumes, peppers and more!
This Moroccan Stew recipe packs a punch of heat and nutrients into one easy dish! The basis for it’s heat is a North African condiment called Harissa, which is Tunisia’s main condiment and export. This spicy paste is a staple in the Maghrebian cuisine (North African cuisine) that includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania which are located along the Mediterranean Sea.
A mixture of red hot chile peppers and seasonings–cumin, caraway, coriander and garlic–it ranks 40-50,000 SHU (Scoville heat units). For comparison, a jalapeno ranks 2,500-4,000 SHU. Chile peppers contain an alkaloid compound, capsaicin, which gives peppers their bold character. Studies have shown that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-diabetic and analgesic properties. Surprisingly, peppers provide a good amount of vitamin C, which is essential for collagen synthesis. Collagen is necessary to maintain skin, bone, blood vessels and organs.
Trace Mineral Trio
Additional ingredients balance out the heat in this recipe and provide a good amount of protein and trace minerals. Chickpeas, a legume known as garbanzo beans in Spain and cece beans in Italy, provide protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates. They provide a significant RDA percentage of the trace mineral trio (copper 29%, iron 26%, and zinc 17%), as well as manganese, 84%. Manganese, also a trace mineral, assists in metabolism, bone density and the prevention of oxidative damage from free radicals
Another power-punch of protein, fiber and vitamin C comes from the inclusion of the soybean, or edamame. One-half cup of edamame has 11 g of protein and 9 g fiber. Additionally, soybeans contain a phytoestrogen called isoflavones which work with certain proteins in protecting from osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer.
Edamame is an excellent source of protein and is often served in restaurants as an appetizer, lightly blanched and prepared with only sea salt. It’s a perfect way to add protein to a soup, stew, or casserole. Some grocers now carry individual “single snack size” pouches of edamame, perfect to toss in the microwave for a healthy mid-afternoon snack.