Three days till Christmas and I’m already done with rich foods. Enter this simple meat-free stew that’s quick, low in points and best of all, delicious. After eating this for dinner Champ made coffee, went straight to the Christmas cookies and dug in with impunity. I sipped my coffee with just one of the whole-grain cookies I recently posted, feeling slightly less guilty about recent indulgences.
The recipe comes from Melissa Clark, New York Times cooking maven. She makes her stew with mustard greens, but spinach works well and is readily available. She also calls for fresh rosemary; instead I added a rounded teaspoonful of dried Italian seasoning. You work with what you have.
Since there are only two of us, we ate this two nights in a row. Second night I grilled chicken tenders and served them alongside and it tasted like a whole new dish. (OK, so we used our imaginations just a tiny bit.) Champ wanted me to add that leftovers were even better.
Whew. I’m feeling more virtuous now. Hang the mistletoe and bring on Christmas. I’m ready!
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 small fennel bulb (or 2 celery stalks) chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced (optional)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup whole-wheat or regular uncooked orzo
5 oz. baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped scallions for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, fennel or celery, and onion. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary and cook another 2 minutes. Pour in broth plus 2 additional cups water and bring to a boil.
Once the mixture is boiling, add the chickpeas, tomatoes and orzo. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer 10 minutes or until orzo is tender. Uncover and stir in spinach and simmer until spinach is soft, about 2 minutes.
Add more water if you want the mixture to be more souplike, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped scallions (if desired) and grated cheese.
Serves 4 (each serving with 1 Tbsp. Parmesan)
WW SmartPoints per serving: 6