Modeled on North African stews, this aromatic vegetarian main course can be served over brown rice or steamed spinach. Source: EatingWell Magazine, February/March 2006

EatingWell Test Kitchen
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Soak chickpeas in enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches for 6 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, use the quick-soak method: Place beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.) Drain when ready to use.

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  • Combine the soaked chickpeas, squash, carrots, onion, lentils, broth, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, salt, saffron and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker.

  • Put on the lid and cook on low until the chickpeas are tender and the lentils have begun to break down, 5 to 6 1/2 hours.

  • Stir in lime juice. Serve sprinkled with peanuts and cilantro.

Tips

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Tips: Kabocha is a squash with a green-streaked rind and tender, sweet orange flesh. An average kabocha weighs two to three pounds.

Considered the world's most expensive spice, saffron contributes a pungent flavor and intense yellow color. It is sold in threads and powdered form.

For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.

Nutrition Facts

283 calories; 6.3 g total fat; 0.9 g saturated fat; 667 mg sodium. 870 mg potassium; 46.4 g carbohydrates; 12.8 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 14.4 g protein; 16559 IU vitamin a iu; 25 mg vitamin c; 107 mcg folate; 100 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 77 mg magnesium; 1 g added sugar;

Reviews (54)

Read More Reviews
54 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 32
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 8
  • 1 star values: 4
Rating: 1 stars
10/07/2019
I roasted the squash and increased the spices, and the kitchen smelled good. However, I ended up with a gloppy mush. I thinned it down from mashed potato consistency but still it was not appealing. I’m sure it was nutritious and glad to have a vegan recipe but it wasn’t very good. Doesn’t work well as a crock pot recipe. Perhaps if I had added the squash in the last few minutes, and maybe something else with texture such as cauliflower ... Read More
Rating: 4 stars
07/07/2019
I really enjoyed this recipe and I didn't make any changes. Would definitely make it again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
06/28/2017
low calorie and very good. I used turmeric instead of Saffron because I'm cheap but it was still good. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
02/06/2017
I usually modify recipes. In the case of this recipe I used squash that was already cooked canned chick peas and cooked the lentils from scratch. I added coconut yogurt and peanut butter to the broth and upped the quantity of spices and it was delicious! Read More
Rating: 1 stars
11/04/2016
I cooked this for eight hours but the chickpeas and squash never cooked; I should have cooked the chickpeas and squash ahead of time. This is why I have not made a slow-cooker recipe in quite a long time. Will not make again. Chickpeas take two hours to cook under normal conditions in order to attain a creamy texture. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
12/12/2015
Bland but easy to improve I like the idea but the taste is quite bland - Have modified it by roasting the butternut squash beforehand (just cut in chunks season with olive oil and a good amount of spices chilli and salt and roast in hot oven until cooked) Pros: MAkes a one dish meal Cons: not enough spices red lentils per se are quite flavourless so they do benefit from strong hot flavo Read More
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Rating: 4 stars
10/20/2015
Fall Delight Amazing fall prep dish great to add chicken breast to it Pros: Filling Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/03/2015
Tasty when spiced up Just made this tonight and am very happy with it. I tripled the ginger doubled the cumin and tomato paste added three cloves of garlic two tsp smoked paprika one tsp turmeric a chicken boullion cube and about a cup of coconut milk (the kind you drink from the refrigerator section not the canned condensed stuff). Cooked it in a dutch oven on low heat for about 3.5 hours (adding the canned garbanzo beans about 2 hours in) and it's perfect very flavorful. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
01/27/2015
You want to nail this stew saute crushed garlic 1 large red and 1 medium white chopped onions in 1 cooking spoon Olive oil for 3 to 5 mins; add the tomato paste or sauce leave on the stove medium heat and keep stirring to prevent burning or sticking for another 5 mins. then add your broth or stock cover and allow to boil for 3 to 5 mins then add other ingredients. I used curry and turmeric a pinch or 2 of cummin instead of saffron. Forget the ginger and lime. Chicken stock cube and a little hot pepper and you're done. The whole house smells exotic. I also used chickpeas from can. I know I am from north Africa. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
08/25/2014
not as expected i added more spices as others suggested but even then this dish had very little flavor or depth. really boring dish Pros: healthy Cons: bland and mushy Read More
Rating: 3 stars
07/31/2014
Good when adding flavor I actually read a previous suggestion wrong and used pumpkin instead of the squash. The flavor and consistency probably wasn't the same but it is still good. I also used green lentil and canned chick peas. I add waay more spice then called for: sage a little chili powder twice the salt and pepper. If I were to do it again I'd broil the pumpkin first to get some carmalizing from it. Can't wait to taste it tomorrow! PS- the peanuts are ok but I think hey take away from the natural flavors of the vegetables. Pros: Easy Healthy Adaptable Cons: Why settle for LESS spice?! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
12/13/2013
Gets better with Age Like the previous reviewer I found this very flavorful and the left overs were even better. I was short on time so made it on the cooktop used canned garbanzo beans and added an extra spoonful of tomato paste. The cilantro peanuts & even some extra lime juice are musts in order to make it flavorful- I wouldn't make it without them. Pros: Healthy flavorful Cons: It took a long time to cut up the squash Read More
Rating: 4 stars
12/08/2013
Easy flavorful unusual stew Read the reviews saying flavorless and upped the amount of ginger and lime--viola. Very flavorful indeed. I thought this was a great simple interesting dish. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
11/02/2013
Substantial Tasty Vegan This was the first time I used my crock pot and really enjoyed the result. I used dried chickpeas and did everything else as the recipe indicated. The flavors were more pronounced on the second day and the cilantro and peanuts really add to the dish. I also made Whole Grain Cornmeal muffins which were a terrific complement. Pros: Nice Flavors Mild Comfort Food when not feeling well Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/22/2013
Delicious and easy! I wasn't sure how much I was going to like this recipe but the combination of flavors was amazing! I put it in the crockpot before work and came home to savory smells and a delicious meal! Even my non-veggie husband loved it! I made it with the kabocha squash but couldn't find any saffron and it was so good! Read More
Rating: 2 stars
10/20/2013
Pass on this one Followed it to the letter even did the saffron bored to tears after the first spoon full. I could not imagine eating twice. Cons: Boring Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/16/2013
Awesome with Parmesan Cheese! i added a boatload of parm to mine at the table which added a really nice salty nutty flavor. really rounded things out. overall i think this is a great dish to have in your winter weeknight repertoire. Pros: easy veg good texture Cons: needs salt badly Read More
Rating: 2 stars
10/06/2013
Meh! It's just a one pot meal.... No definitive flavours. I would make it again on a cold day when as a vegetarian I am looking for a bit of comfort food but not that regularly Pros: Easy Cons: Nothing spectacular Read More
Rating: 4 stars
06/27/2013
This is a great recipe! I don't know how I'm going to get my husband to eat because he's very picky about how his food looks. I loved it! If he doesn't like it I'll be happy to keep it for packed lunches. More for me. I'm trying to eat less meat and this is a perfect alternative for protein. Very filling! Pros: I didn't have saffron to use but it still turned out to be very tasty. Well balanced in flavors. Cons: The only con is that it could be visually more appealing. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
03/07/2013
My new fave Absolutely loved this recipe. I made this in my cast iron on stove top. Came out amazing. I am always on a look out for good vegetarian recipes to introduce to my carnivores and this was a hit. An added bonus was that the dish tasted even better the next day. Pros: easy filling great the next day Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/21/2012
Delicious and Fragrant! I made this on the stove top w/ canned chick peas. Didn't take very long to cook. The soup is beautifully fragrant and flavorful! amazing! i did go heavier on the ginger. Enjoy!! Pros: easy to make Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/21/2012
Great filling healthy stew After reading some of the other reviews I made this with a few adaptions and it turned out great! Because my crockpot was already occupied I made this in a big stockpot. I sauteed the squash onions garlic and carrots on medium for about ten minutes and then added the other ingredients (i also used dried chickpeas and lentils pre-soaked the chickpeas). I cooked it all on low for about two hours and the texture turned out perfect. My husband did say it would prefer it with some meat but that is his response to any vegetarian dish. Pros: Cheap Ingredients I love butternut squash. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/17/2012
YUM! I LOVED this! I did this on the stovetop and then served over baby spinach (it wilts pretty quickly). Some variations: I pre-roasted the cubed butternut squash and diced onion with some salt pepper and olive oil at 400F for about 25 minutes stirring once. Used canned chickpeas split red lentils added a clove of garlic veggie broth and I don't have saffron. Those are really only slight variations but this recipe was amazing:-) Pros: Flavourful healthy easy Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/08/2012
This dish didn't come out Mushy for me. When making a stew or soup you first need to sweat your mirepoix or aromatics which usually are onion carrot celery and garlic. Even in the crock pot you need to do this in order to attain optimal flavor; with all dishes. By doing so you increase the flavor instead of boiling it out which this recipe does by adding everything together first. I couldn't find the squash so instead I bought butternut squash soup fresh chopped pumpkin and canned chickpeas. I cooked this for a total of about 6 hours on low and it wasn't mushy at all. My husband asked for me to keep this as a staple in his diet so being a picky eater I think this is worth a try. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
09/21/2012
Delicious! I didn't have any saffron and I hate cilantro but the recipe came out great anyway! Other than that I made it exactly according to the recipe. Served it over quinoa cooked with lots of garlic. The lime juice is a must! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
06/28/2012
Substituted squash with pumpkin... Absolutely AWESOME! I can image that the squash version may be a little bland and as I am not a fan of it myself I decided to use pumpkin instead. My goodness it was Devine! Everyone went back for seconds and I will definitely be adding this recipe to the favourites list. I didn't use Saffron either and I did add a bit of salt and garlic for extra flavour. One of the most wonderful things I have cooked... Yum! Pros: Pumpkin instead of squash works a treat Read More
Rating: 2 stars
05/08/2012
Needs Modifications I doubled the cumin and added hot sauce and black pepper to give this dish a little more kick. Pros: I love squash lentils and chick peas. Cons: Bland. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
03/15/2012
Not good Chick peas were hard.....butternut squash mushy. Perhaps that was the point mushy crunchy soup. Had to throw it out after 15 worth of saffron....all down the drain. Literally Pros: Healty ingredients Cons: 1inch cubes of butternut squash takes time and muscle Read More
Rating: 4 stars
02/25/2012
Nice Vegetarian Dish This is overall a pretty good dish although it does not have as much flavor as I would like. In the future I would probably double some of the spices to achieve a stronger flavor. Is good accompanied with Indian food. Pros: hearty Cons: could use more flavor Read More
Rating: 3 stars
02/01/2012
Overall this has a nice flavor. I do feel the peanuts are a must to balance and bring the stew together. I do not like cilantro so I substituted chives and they were nice in it. Some of the past reviews mention that everything ended up with the same consistency I believe they overcooked it. I did use my slow cooker and my chickpeas and lentils still had a nice little bite to them. Also the carrots I chopped large enough to not turn to mush. The recipe also reheats nicely I have been eating it for lunch all week. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
01/31/2012
Modify This Recipe I did not do this as a slow cooker recipe and I thought the taste was great. Kabocha and lentils both become soft pretty quickly so I am guessing that part of the reason so many reviews say that flavor is lacking is because all of the ingredients kinda' break down in the slow cooker. Mine was GREAT and here were the modifications I made: 1. cooked on stovetop instead of in slow cooker 2. canned chickpeas 3. did not peel kabocha squash - one of the GREAT things about this squash is that you don't have to peel it - when you cook it the peel becomes soft and edible 4. cooked onions and carrots together in coconut oil (instead of olive oil) and then added spices tomato paste and broth. 5. added squash chickpeas and lentils all at the same time and cooked until squash was soft. 5. added lime juice just before serving so that the citrus flavor would be bright It was really good! Pros: Good combination of ingredients easy to prepare delicious Read More
Rating: 2 stars
01/30/2012
nice flavors terrible consistancy Despite how nice this recipe might taste - and it does taste nice (I echo those below who added more ginger I doubled the ginger and still can't really taste it) the consistency is terrible it is baby food I would never cook this dish for anybody. Pros: it's pretty delicious Cons: I feel like I'm eating baby food Read More
Rating: 5 stars
11/10/2011
I thought this was very tasty. I think that next time I will add precooked chick peas to this recipe other than that I thought this was a very tasty vegetarian dish. Pros: Great blend of flavors and I love how low calorie it is. Cons: The chick peas had a hard time softening. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
I wanted to introduce my favorite kabocha to my squash-hating BF so I took this recipe reduced the broth and served it in the guise of "sweet potato casserole". Everyone liked it and The Squash Hater loved it; then the big reveal that it was really Japanese Pumpkin! No more SHs in my life. Thanks for a delish and very healthful way to use my favorite winter vegs. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
I've made this twice so far and I've gotten great reviews. I'm kind of cheap so I didn't use saffron. I added a bit of chili powder instead for a little heat and more flavor and I'm always generous with other spices in this case cumin pepper and fresh ginger. I also add two minced garlic cloves and I skip the peanuts. This is a very filling and nutritious stew and a great way to use my abundance of butternut squash. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
What a wonderful recipe! I loved the combination of flavors. Since I did not have any saffron I substituted some spicy curry powder and I was very pleased with the results. I will be making this again...and again. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Taking an earlier suggestion I added a couple cloves of minced garlic increased the fresh ginger and saffron. This is the second time I have made this and the squash and garbanzo beans took longer to cook than the lentils so I cooked each one separately for 20 minutes in water. Then added everything in the slow cooker. To me this turned out perfect and took about 4 hours to cook instead of 8 and the lentils still retained their shape. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
I should have read these comments and increased the ginger because I didn't really taste it in the finished product. I did have the saffron on hand but I actually found the saffron taste a little overpowering - so be stingy when you add the saffron! I actually served this tonight in pita sandwiches stuffed with spinach leaves cilantro leaves and the stew. It made a great little pocket! As for this recipe with some "tweaking " I would definitely make it again. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Fabulous recipe. I skipped the saffron too and never missed it. I made it in a regular pot instead of the slow cooker and only took couple of hours including cooking the chickpeas. It gets better the longer you keep in fridge/freezer. I eat it plain with some corn tortillas. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Very easy to make in a slow cooker and tasty. I think next time I'll add garlic cloves. I skipped the peanuts but this will definitely be a new winter staple food for us! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
I added garlic (as suggested) and a little cayenne and made a non-slow-cooker version by using canned garbanzos. I gave the lentils a head start cooking separately sauteed the onion added the spices and the squash and carrot and sauteed a few more minutes before combining the lentils and letting everything simmer til the squash and carrot were tender. The drained rinsed canned beans can be added close to the end and just cooked enough to get hot. Great served over layers of brown rice and baby spinach leaves. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Really tasty! I used canned garbanzos as I don't have a slowcooker and it came out great a perfect filling lunch to take to the office. I skipped the saffron upped the ginger and added garlic and little extra heat with red pepper. My only complaint is that its a bit mushy but the peanuts give a much needed crunch. I sauteed all the veggies before adding the broth and seasonings and just let it simmer for 20-30 min before adding the beans and lime juice and I'm quite pleased with the results. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Dive in! This was my first time to cook butternut squash and the result was wonderful. I threw everything together in the morning (the only chore was cutting up the squash) and came home to a real treat. Even my eight-year-old son was impressed. My family ate it for two nights in a row and I can't wait to share it with guests. Yummmmm. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
This recipe was absolutely delicious!!! I substituted a few things: I used canned chickpeas instead of dried. I used tumeric instead of saffron because it's too expensive. I used garlic and parsley instead of ginger and cilantro. I added garlic and hot sauce and it was very tasty! I used the slow cooker 7 hours on low and served it with naan bread and a salad. Don't skimp on the lime and peanuts at the end - this made it even better. Its's nice to see a crock pot recipe that isn't loaded with salt and canned soup ingredients. My meat-loving husband loved it too! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
This is fantastic! I made it with canned chickpeas garlic (as suggested by several people) and sriracha. Otherwise I followed the recipe. The lime cilantro and peanuts add so much flavor and texture and take it to the next level. I will definitely be making this again! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
My husband and I are trying to eat at least a couple meat-free meals a week and decided to try this recipe. We were a bit skeptical because this is very different than the meals we usually make but we absolutely loved it! Delicious! It's a great meal to come home to on a cold fall or winter night! I didn't use the saffron because I didn't realize how expensive it is! I made similar substitutes as the other people who commented! Don't knock it till you try it! It's great! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
This recipe was good but not great. The peanuts and the cilantro were needed to give it more flavor. We served it over barley the first night and brown rice the second. I think serving it over spinach or swiss chard would add more flavor. It froze well so we are still eating it but won't make again. There was nothing wrong with it. It just didn't inspire us to want to eat more. I did add two cloves of garlic based on previous reviews. My husband felt that a few drops of hot sauce greatly improved it. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
this turned out really well- we ate it by itself and it was delicious! made it w/o substitutions Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
It wasn't bad but we definitely won't be making it again. Not very much flavor (and I did use the garlic parsley & hot sauce). If you're going to try this recipe anyway I would suggest making pumpkin bread as well. It's very quick & easy to make and if you break pieces of the pumpkin bread off and put it into this 'stew ' it does make it a little bit better. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Very flavorful This is really good! I used brown lentils instead of red butternut squash and skipped the saffron and it tasted just wonderful. The squash adds a sweet taste and the rest of the flavors meld together. I agree that it's even better the second day and freezes well. This one is on heavy lunch rotation for me - just the soup (4 servings) no rice or other sides. However my calorie count comes up the same for 4 servings as Eating Well has for 8... Read More
Rating: 1 stars
10/29/2011
Awful This was AWFUL and I'll never make it again. It cooked down to a mushy revolting mess. The peanuts and cilantro made it edible. I had one serving but threw out the rest (and I hate throwing out food)! Pros: Cheap to prepare. Easy to preparee Cons: Basically vegetarian mush Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Stovetop version We enjoyed this tonight. Used ingredients on hand = 1# canned chickpeas precooked squash along with dried lentils and other ingredients except for saffron. I cooked all on stovetop in 1 hr so it was a winner as far as cooking time with minimal prep. Will stretch leftovers by serving over rice or other tasty whole grain. Pros: quick easy tasty Cons: saffron expensive and hard to find Read More
Rating: 2 stars
10/29/2011
Nasty This is sadly lacking in good flavor. The chickpeas lentils and squash all end up tasting like the same mush. Eliminate the chickpeas or lentils - both just make it too mushy. Also I'd use a can of diced tomatoes (even Ro-Tel) rather than the tomato past to lighten up this heavy dish. I will not be making this again. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
10/29/2011
Not very good - mushy The ingredients all looked great but the end result was just not that good. I ended up putting the mush into a blender and added more seasoning. Edible now. Won't make this again. Pros: Healthy ingredients Cons: Mushy mess Read More