This fragrant, buttery stew is hearty enough to work as a vegetarian main dish. Serve with a green salad and naan (Indian flatbread) or fresh pita. Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes. Notes: If you can't find serrano chiles, substitute 2 fresh jalapeños. You can also use less common varieties of basil, such as Thai or lemon (double the number of leaves in the recipe if they're very small).
1 cup yellow split peas, rinsed and sorted for debris
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-in. cubes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 whole star anise
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 piece ginger (2 in.), peeled and grated
2 serrano chiles, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
12 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
How to Make It
In a large pot, bring split peas, turmeric, and 4 cups water to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook 15 minutes.
Add squash, salt, sugar, and star anise. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
In a small frying pan, melt butter. When melted butter stops foaming on top, turn heat to high, add cumin seeds, and cook, stirring, until browned and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add ginger and chiles and cook, stirring constantly, another 2 minutes. Add basil. Stir to combine and cook until basil is wilted, about 30 seconds.
Serve stew hot, with the spiced butter poured over each serving. Or stir all the spiced butter into the pot of stew before serving.
I'm always looking for healthy vegetarian comfort food. This stew is hearty and warm with a blend of flavorful, unique and interesting spices. Whole Foods had all the spices needed for this dish. Modifications: reduce the butter to 2 tbsp. (I reduced it to 4 T and it was still too much). If using salted butter reduce added salt. I normally don't like cumin but followed the recipe and was amazed at how good it was using the cumin seed. Will make this again soon! Great dish.
I hate to get expectations up but this is in my top 5 favorite dishes of all time. It is hearty and warm but not unhealthy, its exotic but not overwhelming, spicy and sweet and absolutely perfect. Mine never comes out as pretty as the photo, but it tastes amazing. I've even halved the butter and the serrano and still come out with an excellent, lighter dish. My favorite.
I made this for a vegetarian potluck. It was easy to make! The contrast between the soft butternut squash and the slightly chewy yellow split peas was delightful. I made a few changes: less salt, more turmeric, no sugar, olive oil instead of butter, added a chopped tomato to the squash, added a chopped poblano chile to the serranos, fennel seeds instead of star anise, and dried basil and ground ginger instead of fresh. My friends were impressed with all of the great flavors!
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