Vegetarian stew seems like an oxymoron.

Vegetables generally are not lumped in the same hardy food category as stews.

But the following recipe is a filling, satisfying meal that has staying power long after the last lick of the spoon.

That’s because the stew is packed with protein from chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Pureed garbanzo beans are the foundation for traditional hummus.

According to nutritiondata.self.com, 1 cup of those round, pale-colored beans cooked has 14.5 grams protein, 269 calories and 12.5 grams fiber.

I found the recipe for the veggie stew in the 96-page, spiral-bound cookbook “El Paso’s Restaurants Recipes” (undated) published to benefit Reach for a Star. The nonprofit grants wishes to critically ill children in the El Paso area. Based on the typography and price ($2.50), I think the cookbook is from the mid- to late-1980s.

The recipe is credited to Como’s, an Italian restaurant open in the border city since 1958. That explains why the dish had no cumin or chilies.

My changes to the recipe include replacing the stewed tomatoes with tomato paste and extra water because my youngest does not like tomatoes. I also added some extra seasonings for spicy zest.

Those changes made the dish a winner in my house, even with the carnivore husband who did not complain about the lack of meat.

Locally grown vegetables, decorative pumpkins and gourds, beef, pork and homemade jams, jellies and baked goods continue to be available at the local farmers markets.

The Abilene Farmers Market is open 7 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at the Frontier Texas! parking lot at North First and Mesquite streets. The Wylie Farmers Market operates Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon at Wylie Methodist Church parking lot, 3430 Antilley Road.

MINDING YOUR PEAS

Peas are running with a bold gang in the following salad recipe from Kitty Cox in “Heavenly Temptations” (1995) by Stephanie Ambrose May. Proceeds of the book went to the Timberlawn Psychiatric Research Foundation in Dallas.

This cold salad called for two boxes of thawed frozen peas to be blended with bacon, celery, sour cream, smoked almonds and 2 cups of green onions. That is a lot of green onions, even for a hermit who has no concern of offending people with his breath.

In addition to reducing the green onions, I replaced the smoked almonds with almond slices and added paprika – because that is what I had on hand. I also cut the measurements in half for a smaller batch.

The salad is a nice, crunchy alternative to a green salad.

Share your own old recipes or food-related historical recollections by emailing Laura Gutschke at lgutschke@gmail.com.

VEGETARIAN STEW

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 medium zucchini, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)

2 medium yellow squash, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)

2 medium Mexican squash (a grayish-green summer squash), sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Salt and pepper to taste

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), rinsed

4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups water

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1 teaspoon Adobo All-Purpose seasoning

Dash Cholula or other hot sauce

Directions

1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and sauté for about 2 more minutes.

2. Add all the squash and let cook for about 10 minutes, reducing heat to medium if necessary to avoid burning. Add bell pepper and eggplant and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. During cooking, season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add chickpeas, tomato paste, water, remaining seasonings and hot sauce. Stir well, reduce heat to simmer and cover with lid. Cook for about 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving. Yields about 6 servings.

PEA SALAD

Ingredients

1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed

5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup celery (1 large or two small stalks), diced

1-2 green onions, sliced thin (including tops), depending on ptaste preference

1/3 cup sliced almonds

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

Salt to taste

1/3 to 1/2 sour cream

Directions

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine peas, bacon, celery, green onion and almonds. Season with paprika and salt.

2. Add 1/3 cup sour cream and stir until ingredients are moistened. Add more sour cream if necessary.

3. Chill for several hours before serving. Yields about 4 to 6 servings.

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