How to "eat the rainbow" in one simple recipe

Today I have a guest blog post from chef extraordinaire, Richard Sparks. Rich is a long time client of mine who's a genius in the kitchen. I get many of my cooking tips from him (and have had the honor of having many delicious meals from his kitchen). 

The best part is, while Rich is a food junkie, he's also extremely busy, and has found some great shortcuts to quality meals that taste AWESOME and don't require a ton of time in the kitchen.

Today, Rich shares with you on of his go-to recipes that will meet all of your vegetables needs.

Without further ado, Richard.

By: Richard Sparks

I found and modified this veggie stew recipe, and played with it for a couple weeks. This is a really tasty and satisfying way to load up on those missing vegetables. It also helps clean out all of those veg odds and ends sitting in your fridge. Seriously, just throw it in the pot!

This recipe is Vegan, but it easily covers all diets with only a few additions or subtractions. This is important to me since we often have guests over from different eating philosophies.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Stew

10 Cups Veg, sliced and chopped (include roots and lots of carrots, cruciferous bits especially cabbage and kale)
Lg onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
14 oz can tomatoes with juice
1 C vegetable broth
½ tsp Cumin
1 tsp kosher Salt
¼ tsp crushed red pepper

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and cook for 3 hours high or 6 hours low.

1 zucchini, sliced into ¼-1/2 inch rounds
16 oz can chickpeas, drained

Add the additional ingredients and cook for another hour on low.

The original recipe is for use in the crock pot, which is awesome for all of us busy peeps. Once you get through the substantial chopping task, this is pretty much a “dump and stir” cooking method, and leaves plenty of time for workouts or whatever you need to get done.

My crockpot needed more time on the initial 3 hours of cooking on high. Probably could have made it another hour. Or, after adding the zucchini, I could have cooked on low for perhaps two hours instead of one.

I find the stove-top results are far better, creating a silky, creamy broth, but you are more active in the kitchen. Since I am a kitchen geek, I don’t mind the time, but for many of you, sticking to the slow cooker may be best. To make this on the stove, may I suggest the following adjustments:

1. Chop the onion, garlic, two stalks of celery and two carrots. Fry these in about two tablespoons of olive oil, coconut oil, butter, or a combo until tender and the onions are translucent. 

2. If you are adding mushrooms, I would add those next and cook until sweated out and a bit browned, as it adds a lot of savory flavor. Add a splash more oil as needed.

3. Add an additional can of tomatoes, one of those with green chilis or some other spice load is a bonus to your broth. Dump in all the rest of the ingredients at this point, including the zucchini and garbanzos (if using). Be sure to add in enough additional broth to just cover the vegetables as in the pic.

4. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a solid simmer, and let it all cook for about 30 minutes. Stir regularly and check on occasion for tenderness and salt load. My batch was done in about 45 minutes.

For serving, may I suggest throwing on some chopped parsley or cilantro, a drizzle of hazelnut, or some other finishing oil, or perhaps grated parmesan. 

For a brilliant breakfast, heat enough of the stew in a fry pan, then add eggs and cover and “poach” until the eggs are cooked through. It is fabulous! For those of you who can, get your toast out!

For Paleo eaters (or those who plain need their meat fix), remove the garbanzo beans and throw in some fried sausage, or some lean, grass-fed ground beef. Beef stock makes the sauce really rich!


Rich is a regular contributor to the Powerful Body, Power Live: Live a life worth training for Facebook group. To grab more healthy eating tips from him (and the other 100+ members), request to join the community today!