When Fall's first chill settles in, take solace in this chickpea and wild rice stew. Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and aromatics, along with thyme, tomato paste, and spices, are all simmered to perfection to create a hearty broth. Smoked paprika gives it a smoky undertone that compliments sweeter veggies like corn and carrots. Hearty chickpeas and nutty wild rice finally join the show to make this vegan soup super filling, highly nutritious, and addictively delicious. Made in one Pot with whole-food plant-based ingredients, this vegan wild rice soup is completely oil-free and can be refrigerated for up to 5 days!
What is Wild Rice
Scientifically known as Zizania, wild rice is not actually rice. Rather, it's the seeds of a grass species native to North America and hand-harvested for consumption. This unique gluten-free grain has a distinct appearance, featuring long, slender grains that range in color from dark brown to black. Wild rice is highly regarded for its nutritional benefits, including a good source of protein, fiber, and essential minerals.
Known for its nutty flavor and chewy texture, wild rice adds a depth of flavor to a variety of culinary creations, from soups and stews to salads and pilafs. The best part is that it doesn't break down and get mushy like white rice.
According to WebMD, wild rice is a potent source of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) that may boost the body's ability to produce insulin. It may help reduce diabetic nerve damage symptoms, making it beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. Thanks to its low-calorie count and high fiber content, wild rice keeps you full for longer and may aid in weight loss.
Chickpea and Wild Rice Stew Ingredients
Wild Rice – A nutty whole grain that adds chewy texture and heartiness to the stew.
Fresh Thyme Leaves – Thyme is a fragrant herb that imparts an earthy and herby aroma to the stew, enhancing its flavor profile.
Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes contribute natural sweetness and rich, creamy texture to the stew, balancing the earthiness of the wild rice.
Butternut Squash – Adding butternut squash to the stew not only enhances its sweetness and nutty flavor but also provides essential vitamins and minerals.
Frozen Corn – Corn adds sweetness and vibrant color to the stew, contributing flavor and visual appeal.
Carrots – Carrots offer natural sweetness and crunch, enhancing the texture and nutritional content of the stew.
Celery – Celery provides a refreshing and crisp element to the stew, balancing the heartiness of the other ingredients.
Chickpeas – Also known as garbanzo beans, are a protein-packed and fiber-filled legume, that adds a hearty and satisfying element to the stew.
Tomato Paste – Tomato paste adds subtle tanginess and acidity to the stew, balancing the flavors.
Black Pepper – Black pepper adds mild heat, allowing you to customize the spice level according to your preference.
Seasonings – Made with a flavorful combo of onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, and bay leaves. Fresh thyme lends an earthy and floral aroma, while smoked paprika adds smokiness. Oregano brings warmth and herbaceous notes, complemented by the subtle fragrance of bay leaves.
How to Make Chickpea and Wild Rice Stew
This oil-free stew is easy to make. I skipped the sauté step of making this stew because all the veggies, spices, and aromatics cook together with the wild rice until it is tender.
Boil the Rice and Thyme
In a large pot on high heat, bring water, wild rice, and fresh thyme leaves to a boil.
Prepare and add the Vegetables to the Pot
While the rice boils, peel and chop sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and celery. Introduce the chopped vegetables into the boiling soup, creating a colorful and nutritious mix.
Season and Simmer
Add chickpeas, corn, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, bay leaves, and tomato paste to the Pot. Allow the stew to simmer until the rice and vegetables are tender, typically 45-60 minutes.
Adjust Seasoning and Serve
Taste the stew, adjust the seasoning if needed, and serve flavorful Chickpea and Wild Rice Stew in bowls.
Recipe Tips for Chickpea and Wild Rice Stew
- Rinse the Rice: Before boiling, rinse the wild rice under cold water to remove excess starch, resulting in a fluffier texture.
- Spice it Up: Adjust the level of smoked paprika and black pepper to suit your spice preference.
- Use Pre-cut Vegetables: Save time by purchasing pre-cut sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and carrots.
- Protein Boost: Add tofu cubes or seitan for extra protein.
- Grain Swap: Experiment with different grains like quinoa or barley for a unique twist.
Other Delicious Vegan Soups
Chickpea and Wild Rice Stew
- 1 cup wild rice uncooked
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 10 cups water
- 2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
- 1 cup butternut squash, fresh or frozen cubed
- ½ cup frozen corn
- 3 carrots peeled and chopped in rounds
- 1 stalk celery cut thin
- 15 oz chickpeas canned, drained
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- black pepper to taste
- In a large pot on high heat, bring wild rice, fresh thyme and water to a boil.
- Meanwhile chop the sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, and celery. Add to the boiling soup.
- Add the chickpeas, corn, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, bay leaves, and tomato paste. Continue to boil until rice and vegetables are tender. This will take 45- 60 minutes from start to finish.
- Enjoy within 5 days when cooled and stored properly in the refrigerator. It will last up to 3 months in the freezer.