African Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew

African Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew

FAIRFAX — Jacquie Schwartz became a vegan 45 years ago for ethical reasons. Schwartz and her husband are innkeepers of The Inn at Buck Hollow Farm, a four bedroom bed and breakfast in Fairfax.

She recently told the Messenger that she has been serving breakfast to guests for over 30 years. In that time, she has been asked many questions about a vegan diet, from how she gets protein to how she can live without cheese.

“Those who choose the path of veganism are varied in their motivation,” she said. “For some it’s health related, for others it is gradual, beginning with a vegetarian diet, which still allows them to consume dairy and eggs.”

She added that “dietary choices are as personal as political leanings and religion, so I only share my knowledge with those who are curious.”

Schwartz said that it’s easier today to maintain a plant-based diet than it has been in the past.

“There is plenty of protein to meet anyone’s needs,” she said. “There are great fermented non-dairy nut ‘cheezes’ that are easy and delicious and can be made at home.”

Most recipes can be “veganized,” she said. “From Mac and Cheese, to pate from walnuts, and breakfast omelets from chickpea flour, it’s all about flavor.”

Here, Schwartz shares one of her favorite recipes — African Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew.

“This stew is flavorful, hearty and combines all the elements for a nutrient-dense, fiber-filled, protein-rich meal that is inexpensive to make,” she said. “It can be served alongside steamed rice, quinoa or a loaf of bread.”

Next year, the Messenger will be sharing more recipes — both vegan and non-vegan — that Jacquie uses at her bed and breakfast ( If you have any questions for Jacquie, you can send them to

African Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion diced

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp garlic minced

1 tbsp minced ginger

3 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoon paprika

6 oz can tomato paste

2 ½ cups vegetable stock(I like “Better Than Bouillon”)

13 oz can coconut milk

½ cup almond butter

2 cups or a 15 ounce can chickpeas

2 cups or a 15 ounce can diced tomatoes

3 cups sweet potato, diced

2 cups kale stems removed and coarsely chopped

½ cup fresh cilantro chopped

Cooked brown rice or quinoa optional, for serving

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and salt, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. It should be fragrant and golden.

Add garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and tomato paste to the pot and stir everything together. Cook for about 1 minute, until the mixture is fragrant.

In the meantime, whisk together the vegetable stock, coconut milk and almond butter. Add the mixture to the pot along with the chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and sweet potato. Turn the heat up to medium-high.

Bring the stew up to a quick boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Give it a good stir every so often.

The stew is done when the sweet potatoes are tender and the liquid has thickened. Add the chopped kale when done.

Serve over brown rice, if desired, and garnish with the chopped cilantro.

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