Eat Your Veggies (And Know It)!

FBS is excited to welcome our friend Nancy Cavillones - home cook and mom extraordinaire - as a Contributing Editor to this blog. Nancy will focus on whole food recipes that are nutritious and easy on the wallet. If you have any particular questions or ideas for her, please let us know!

This week, Nancy has come up with a wonderful stew featuring chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). These legumes are tasty, easy to work with, budget-friendly and amazingly healthful. They are rich in fiber, protein and folate; they're also a good source of calcium, iron and magnesium. Chickpeas are a great addition to your diet if you are pregnant or breastfeeding; kids tend to love beans and legumes, so they're great for family meals, too. 

Check out Nancy's post:

Oh, you know, this was supposed to be a blog post about feeding your family healthful, whole foods on a budget but I've got other things on my mind. Like what is all this business about "hiding vegetables" and "sneaking vegetables into your kid's food"? 

Make no bones about it. My two-year-old is just as picky as the next kid. She doesn't always eat her vegetables, or anything else for that matter. She has her favorites that she'll always go for, and then there are other vegetables with which she has a fair-weather friendship. 

But tricking your kid into eating vegetables seems counterintuitive to me. I want my kid to LOVE vegetables, I want her to identify vegetables and know what they taste like. If she doesn't like this vegetable or that, whatever. I'm amazed at all the vegetables I enjoy now that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole when I was a kid. 

When it comes to vegetable love, it's important to start early and often. Since we practice baby-led weaning in our house, my kids have always enjoyed their vegetables whole, not pureed or mashed (except for potatoes, you know!). Nearly every dish I offer to my family has a vegetable or vegetables in it. They aren't hidden, even if they are hard to see. It's just part of the dish. 

Here is one of my favorite recipes that make it really easy to include vegetables. They are versatile and you can use whatever it is in season or on sale. If the vegetable you want is not in season locally, go for the frozen version instead of the imported "fresh" version. The frozen ones will be fresher. 

Chickpea Stew
(Feeds two hungry adults, one picky toddler and an experimenting 9-month-old)

  • Medium onion, chopped. 
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced. 
  • 2 carrots, chopped small. 
  • 2 small potatoes (or one big one), chopped small. 
  • Any other veggie you like. (I often add frozen peas or spinach.)
  • Ginger, curry powder, cumin. Amounts vary to personal taste but about a teaspoon of each spice. (Feel free to omit the ginger and/or cumin but the curry powder makes the dish!)
  • 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed. 
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce. 
  • 1-2 cups of water (Depending on the depth of your pan-- you want your stew to be just covered with water.)
  • Half a lemon. 
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Salt and pepper. 

1. In a large pan over medium-low heat,  heat the olive oil. 
2. Add the onions and saute until softened, then add the garlic. 
3. When the garlic is fragrant, add the potatoes and carrots. Stir to coat. 
4. Add the spices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
5. Add the chickpeas and stir to combine, then add the sauce, stirring again.
6. Add salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon over it. Stir. 
7. Add the water, stir and cover. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes. 
8. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes more, to reduce and thicken the liquid in the pan. If you find the stew is already thick, skip this step. 

Serve with rice or pita bread, sour cream or greek yogurt. 


  1. Yum! I can't wait to try this out on my family. It sounds right up our alley, and simple to make. Thanks for sharing.

  2. That's great, Jen - let us know what you think!

  3. Jen, I love it. I can pull it together in under 30 minutes, even with babies climbing my leg. :D

  4. Love this recipe!!!! It's easy to make, delicious and myself, my hubby and my two year old loved it  :) Can't get better than that. I used all the spices and doubled the curry. YUMMY!!

  5. Thanks so much for trying it and for taking the time to post such a great review!


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