I’m continuing this year with my effort to practice ‘Meatless Mondays,’ mostly because I think it sounds cute.  And really, why not?  Going meatless once a week is a nice way to explore new foods and flavors, keep food costs down, reduce our carbon footprint (at least in the meat department) and limit saturated fat intake.  Really, it’s a win-win-win-win, no matter what. (Unless, of course, you hate beans like my husband…)

Moving on.

I found I had two different (meatless) recipes for North African Stews and decided to give them both a try in succession.  I like to do ‘taste-tests’ at home to figure out which recipe of some particular item we prefer.  (We’re currently on the third iteration of monkey bread on Saturday mornings, but that’s not in the least bit healthy.)


Below are the recipes and our ‘verdict.’  Try them for yourself and see!

Stew #1: North African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans

A friend gave me this recipe awhile ago and I just recently made it.  I loved how easy it was, the sweetness of the sweet potato, mildness and soft texture of the red beans, and the peanut flavor.  Andrew really liked it, despite the beans.  Top with lime and peanuts. I served it with an Algerian Flatbread called ‘Msemmen,’ which was excellent.  Recipe for that came from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  Read more about it here.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil $
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion $
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked small red beans
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper $
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter $
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts $
  • 6 lime wedges $


  1. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender.
  2. Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Add sweet potato and next 10 ingredients (through chiles). Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Spoon 1 cup cooking liquid into a small bowl. Add peanut butter; stir well with a whisk. Stir peanut butter mixture into stew. Top with peanuts; serve with lime wedges.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 308
  • Calories from fat: 26%
  • Fat: 8.8g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.2g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 2.3g
  • Protein: 11.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 49.9g
  • Fiber: 10.2g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
  • Iron: 2.7mg
  • Sodium: 574mg
  • Calcium: 64mg

Robin Robertson, Cooking Light

Stew #2: North African Squash and Chickpea Stew


Click the above link to find the recipe; it’s in a PDF file as part of a special ‘Seven Simple Ways to Become a Better Cook’ from the Nov. 2013 issue of Cooking Light.  The recipes are mostly vegetarian and come from various top-notch cookbooks.  I served the stew with homemade wheat pita bread and a citrus fruit salad with mint.  Read about it here.

The verdict:  Andrew and I both preferred the first one.  While he didn’t seem to mind the red beans in the first recipe, he did suggest swapping them for chickpeas (featured in the second recipe) the next time I make it.  Hey, I’ll take that kind of suggestion!  Both had great flavor and were very easy to make.



Holly R. Layer

Holly R. Layer

Holly is a registered dietician and a freelance writer. She works as a clinical dietitian at DeGraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda, teaches fitness classes at the Southtowns Family Branch YMCA and shares her love of food through her blog www.thefrozenpineapple.com (new website coming soon), as well as Buffalo News (Refresh), and the East Aurora Co-op Market (the "Eat This" blog series you see here). She lives in East Aurora with her husband Andrew, an East Aurora native and East Aurora Co-op Market board member.