Nourish your gut – Curried Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

A bowl containing sweet potato and chick peas stew. it is orange tinged and garnished with spinach.

This comforting Curried Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew contains 15 different types of plants – perfect if you’re aiming for plant variety to feed your friendly gut bacteria. Even better, 9 of those plants are store cupboard ingredients.

The American Gut Project (2018) found that people consuming more than 30 different types of plants a week had a much healthier range of gut bacteria compared with those who ate 10 or fewer. Although research on human gut bacteria is still in its infancy, it’s quite clear that greater diversity of gut bacteria correlates with a better immune system and better overall health.

30 different plants each week might seem like a lot, but it includes different grains and pulses, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices. And the good news is that this Curried Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew gets you half way there!

The stew is also high in fibre and packed full of vitamin A from the sweet potatoes, folate from the broccoli and iron from the chick peas.

Swaps can easily be made to use up what you have at home – you could swap the chick peas for lentils or other pulses; swap the broccoli or courgette for kale, red pepper or cauliflower, swap the spices for curry paste, swap the quinoa for rice, or swap the fresh coriander for dried coriander leaf (and spinach like I did here!)

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed, olive oil or coconut oil
  • 3 garlic gloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1-2 tsp chilli
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 50g quinoa
  • 1 tin of chick peas
  • 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 600ml water or 200ml if using coconut milk
  • 1 tin of coconut milk (Optional – if using reduce the water)
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 courgette, sliced
  • 30g Toasted sesame seeds
  • Fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 small warmed pita bread per person


1. In a large saucepan fry the onion in the oil over a medium heat until soft and translucent

2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two

3. Add the spices and move the mixture around the pan to prevent sticking. Add a little water if needed

4. After 30 seconds add the tomatoes, sweet potato, quinoa and chick peas. Stir the mixture to coat it

5. Add the stock, and coconut milk if using. Allow the mixture to come to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are softening.

6. Add the broccoli and courgette to the pan and simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and thickened.

7. Season to taste

8. Serve and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and fresh coriander, along with the warmed pita bread

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