I’m in the middle of a mid-Thanksgiving planning life crisis.

I almost bought six bags of cinnamon chips off Amazon yesterday.  (The red convertible of the Thanksgiving crisis world.  Obviously.)

This almost-spree was inspired by an unruly consumption of regular old chocolate chips that, in the middle of a chocolate-induced psychosis, seemed like they should really be the preamble to an unruly consumption of cinnamon chips.

Can we all breathe a huge sigh of relief that in my sugar stupor I somehow managed to grasp hold of my common sense and restrain myself?  We all know where those cinnamon chips would have ended up.  And, unfortunately, it would not be in a baked good of any sort and would totally be on my left hip.  My hips have enough issues as it is and they really don’t need “cinnamon chip overdose” to be added to that list. For realz.


Why the crisis?

Oh let me count the ways.


First, let’s recount the Thanksgiving fail of yesterday.

I had every intention of being a good food blogger and presenting you today with a healthy vegetable side dish to grace your table that would make every last one of your guests feel so virtuous about eating it that they would then feel compelled to have an extra six slices of pie.  Cause that’s what I do.  I’m all about balance.  Obvi.

Really, it was gonna be good.  There were gonna be concentrically arranged vegetables that were so carefully and artfully smushed into a 9-inch cake pan that you would think you were staring at an edible Jackson Pollack painting.

But there’s a time and a place for everything, I guess, even to be let down by all of your favorite roasted orange vegetables.

That was handful of chocolate chips numbers one through six.

Let’s go on, shall we?


Then, I spoke to my mother.

She said hello.

Handfuls seven through ten.  Pre-emptive stress-eating.  You understand.


After asking me six different times in six different ways when I was going to give her grandchildren and whether I ever really thought I was going to” meet someone” she then moved onto Thanksgiving.  At which point it became increasingly apparent that she and I have very different definitions of what a “vegetarian option” is.  To her…it involves chicken broth and pork.  To me it involves…none of the above.

Conclusion?  If I want to be eating anything next Thursday, I am going to have to make it myself.  And given just how successfully my last Thanksgiving planning attempt went…I should invest in Nestle.  (And close my Amazon account.)

Speaking of a balanced diet, stew anyone?  I think we’ll be needing it.


This dish may be the epitome of all things healthy, but it, unlike my disgusting side dish attempt, does not skimp on flavor.  It is tart and a bit sweet from the tamarind and tomatoes…and so good that you’ll actually find yourself wanting to eat your greens.  Fancy that.

Swiss Chard, Chickpea and Tamarind Stew
Serves 4, adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty


  • 1 lb swiss chard (stalks and leaves), cut into 3/8-inch slices
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 14 oz canned chopped plum tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked and boiled until tender
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste
  • salt and black pepper
  • cilantro
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups water


  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the chard for 2 minutes.  Drain in a colander.
  2. Put the onion, caraway seeds and olive oil in a large heavy pan and saute on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and golden.  Add the tomato paste and stir as you cook it for about a minute.  Add the canned tomatoes, water, sugar, chickpeas, ground coriander, chard and some salt and pepper.
  3. Add the tamarind.  Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes.  When ready, the dish should have the consistency of a thick soup.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  4. While the stew is cooking, put the quinoa , coconut oil and a bit of salt in a medium pan and set on a medium heat.  Stir to coat the quinoa with the oil.  Add the water and boil, then cover the pan with a tight fitting lit and leave to simmer on a low flame for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and leave covered for 5 minutes.
  5. When ready to serve, spoon the quinoa into shallow soup bowl, creating a crater in the center.  Ladle some of the soup stew into the middle of each quinoa hole.  Finish with cilantro.

I am submitting this to Souper Sunday hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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88 Responses to Swiss Chard, Chickpea and Tamarind Stew

  1. I adore cinnamon chips! Now I’m going to head on over to Amazon to check out the price… Thanks 😉 And this stew recipe looks fabulous – love that it’s served over a bed of quinoa!!

  2. Simply Life says:

    can’t wait to hear what you end up eating for the holiday! This looks like a side option I would be happy to fill up on!

  3. The flavors in this stew are fascinating to me…never used tamarind paste, I have to get some.

  4. ha ha ha…good restraint!! That dish sounds like it should’ve been awesome. 😉 I’d settle for a bowl of this goodness, though. I would feel like the picture of virtue after eating it.

  5. Joanne says:

    You’re more than welcome to deliver this side dish to my Thanksgiving table, wow. We’d all be giving thanks for it 🙂

  6. bellini says:

    I just wouldn’t have the same restraint as you and the chips would be gone “tout suite”, but then so would this lovely veggie stew.

  7. You and I both have the same bookmarked recipes… except you’ve made this and mine is still bookmarked! This sounds like a wonderful dish to share at Thanksgiving… I’d slurp it up with glee! 🙂

  8. I bought some tamarind paste a while ago and haven’t been sure what to do with it. This looks like a GREAT use. Thanks!

  9. SallyBR says:

    Your self control is an inspiration. I now intend to bookmark this post and open it every time I have “hip-endangering-issues”, that seem to happen more often this time of the year

    loved the recipe, I haven’t cooked with tamarind yet, although I do have a block of it since the Cenozoic age (or so it seems) in my pantry

  10. Tamarind is another one of those exotic-sounding things that I still haven’t gotten around to trying. It was interesting to read that it is used in Worcestershire sauce! This sounds great and glad you didn’t hit the Place Order button 😉

  11. Amy says:

    All those years not eating meat, Thanksgiving at my parent’s house was totally a drag. I would just fill up on stuffing and call it a day. I’m so glad I don’t deal with that anymore. I say start eat turkey again! Not an option? Okay. Then go with the cinnamon chips. Dessert is the best part, anyway.

  12. Good morning!

    I understand about the cinnamon chips, I never heard of them till this year and this week I bought a bag. The tempation of opening has been an issue, as it stands right now, there sitting in my cupboard waiting for me to take a handful!

    Your stew looks beautiful, but what is Tamarind paste? I never heard of it.

    Have a great weekend

  13. Eep! I hope my daughter doesn’t get that stressed when she calls me.
    Love the stew – tamarind is one of my fave ingredients.

  14. Jessica says:

    If I promise to do the dishes will you save me a bowl?!

  15. Aww. I totally think you should’ve bought the chips, hips be darned. Sounds like you’ll need them through Thanksgiving at least!

    Come here and I’ll make you some yeast rolls, girl.

    Also, awesome, awesome stew. Can’t wait to try this yumminess.

  16. preemptive stress eating is my new favorite phrase.

    thank you. <3

    xo Alison

  17. Elizabeth says:

    I could seriously use a bowl of this right now. I need to try cooking with tamarind

  18. Interesting combination of ingredients.Calling pork as vegetarian is new to me, it seems non-vegetarians are trying to widen the definition

  19. Mary says:

    I’ve been looking everywhere for the darn cinnamon chips this year! I refuse to buy them on Amazon. Well, for now, I refuse. Talk to me again in a couple weeks!

  20. This is very remniscent of some Mujadarah and Okra that I consumed last week. It made me salivate just a tiny bit, but i think that means you are doing it correctly.
    as you were.

  21. Gorgeous colors and flavors at play here. I’ve been trying to get into a healthier diet, and recently I just read how healthy swiss chard is!
    Your stew looks really delicious, Joanne! Healthy and comforting~


  22. That Girl says:

    I don’t think I’d even know what to do with cinnamon chips!

  23. Ranjani says:

    I’m pretty sure a recipe from Plenty trumps turkey any day. Can’t wait to try this.

  24. Delicious as usual! I had a run-in with cheesecake last night and am ready to make up for it with lots of veggies today. And the fact that you didn’t order cinnamon chips means you deserve a pat on the back!

  25. Shannon says:

    ooh, this sounds lovely! i’ve been wanting to experiment with tamarind a bit more 🙂 and i do have some KAF cinnamon chips hiding in my pantry… maybe they’ll wind up in my cookies!

  26. tori says:

    I say stuff it- can’t this be a side dish? Or put it inside little pumpkins? Looks gorgeous to me.

  27. Jenna says:

    I want a bowl too! Scrap the turkey–this is what I want to eat next Thursday!

  28. Mo 'Betta says:

    I haven’t thought about Amazon for cinnamon chips! They are NO.WHERE. to be found around here. See what you’ve started?!

  29. Kim says:

    Okay, after reading this post I’m feeling the need to go to Amazon and buy Ottolenghi’s book (which I really want anyway). I think this stew looks amazing! And, I really love the shot of the swiss chard in the bowl. Isn’t it gorgeous?

  30. Claudia says:

    Possibly the only reason that I’d consider moving to NY would be the restaurants, with Indian right up on top of the list. This sounds delish.

  31. MM says:

    Great post. Balancing a serving of a veg side dish w/ six slices of pie seems more than fair.

    Ever since starting Christmas shopping last weekend and inviting way more people than I can handle to TG, I find myself reaching for the bag of choc chips I stash at the tip-top of the pantry. God help ’em if I run out.

  32. jb says:

    Whenever I see a recipe calling for tamarind, I wish I would just be less lazy and get myself over to the asian market. This stew sounds so so delicious!

  33. Ooo I have an open package of tamarind in my fridge that I’ve been looking for a use for! And I love everything in this dish.

  34. This is making my mouth water. I sweet acidity of the tamarind sounds so fantastic here! I’ll have to look up Ottolenghi

  35. Geni says:

    I should start out by saying that i frequently laugh at your expense Joanne. There. I got THAT of my chest. I love that your mom thinks chicken broth and pork are vegetarian. See? Sorry. Anyhow, this stew looks so chunky, healthy and wonderful. I wish I could hire you for my personal chef. THen I would be so healthy and everything would still taste divine!

  36. Veronica says:

    I don’t know what tamarind paste is or where to get it! Maybe my spice store sells it. Bet they do. This looks SO good. Too bad you didn’t have this on hand for all the stress eating! But sometimes, a girl just needs chocolate. Or cinnamon. 😉

  37. Pam says:

    You never cease to make me smile. I now have a craving for cinnamon chips… and a bowl full of this tasty looking stew.

  38. Mary says:

    Joanne, this sounds delicious. I really love the tamarind you use in this recipe. Makes thing sreally interesting. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  39. I think out of all the different types of recipes you post, my favorites are always your healthy stews. They always have an explosive flavor combination and healthy satiating ingredients. Beautiful!

  40. Kristen says:

    I picked up a bag of cinnamon chips today…and two mini chocolate and one butterscotch. Baking season is definitely in the air.

  41. Debbie says:

    You had me laughing about the phone conversation you had with your mother! Too funny! Your stew looks delicious….something different is always nice!

  42. Kathy says:

    Ahh! Mothers and daughters! I just saw myself in your mother! Except I would happily add a vegetarian dish to my menu! Your stew looks gorgeous, I love chickpeas!

  43. Miriam says:

    This post made me laugh out loud. Awesome recipe too! Personally, my son ordered macaroni and cheese for Thanksgiving and I agreed to it (I’ll try to make it a special mac n’ cheese though :),
    Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  44. It’s funny, because my mom is pretty much the only thing/person that does NOT cause me to stress eat! LOL. Love the stew 🙂

  45. Ada says:

    Ah this sounds familiar… “but it has just a little bit of chicken in it!” doesn’t mean vegetarian. I’m sure you’ll figure out something completely delicious to have instead! (This looks like a tasty contender…)

  46. teresa says:

    your recipes honestly make me consider becoming a vegetarian. with dishes like this, i would never miss meat!

  47. Cara says:

    I’m really having trouble imagining how your orange veggie dish could turn out so bad because you know how I feel about orange veggies. And let me tell you, you can add me to the list of people cooking their own thanksgiving dinner… only I have to shlep mine 6 hours in the car to PA. Unless I want to eat only plain turkey and some roasted brussels sprouts. I kid you not there would be nothing else I could eat there. Fun times, huh?

  48. vianney says:

    I’m down for anything that involves tamraind, but all this color/flavor!! too much, love it…so amazon is the place to score cinnamon chips, interesting,,,,

  49. Jeanette says:

    I would totally eat this for Thanksgiving! Wish I saw this sooner, just cooked up my swiss chard tonight just as a side dish, but would have liked this a lot better!

  50. Reeni says:

    I do so love tamarind! I never know what to use it in aside from Pad Thai. The stew is delicious and comforting looking! I have had a ton of bombs lately – one last night involving sweet taters. Boo.

  51. Tessa says:

    This stew definitely has me craving my veggies. Looks so good! Never heard of tamarind. Any suggestions on where to find it?

  52. ilovecooking says:

    I’m always looking for great vegetarian recipes. Thanks for posting this stew. It looks so healthy and delicious. Can’t wait to try it!

  53. Beth says:

    I’m so sad about your other side dish, especially as it involved my favorite orange vegetables. But I know you’ll come up with something else and win everyone over at Thanksgiving! In the meantime this stew looks terrific.

    P.S. congratulations on the Amazon non-order. That takes a load of self-discipline.

  54. sofia says:

    you, messing up in the kitchen? i don’t believe such nonsense. this looks beautiful. and it’s from ottolenghi! kinda want that cookbook now…

  55. Lora says:

    Beautiful, healthy, feel good fall food but it would be even better with a few chocolate chips sprinkled on top 🙂

  56. Corina says:

    I love tamarind and this stew looks delicious – I think I’m going to have to get Plenty for Christmas!

  57. Lol cinnamon chip overdose…I think you may have discovered a new illness mydear ;p. I love love tamarind — it really livens up everything and anything it’s in. This is just my type of dish!

  58. Christine says:

    Love this post and your recipes! So inventive! Had no clue on tamarind! Thanks!

  59. Claudie says:

    The stew looks wonderful! I’m glad you added quinoa on the side because I do that all the time, and apparently, it’ll work well for this dish too.

    As for the Thanksgiving crisis.. I’m pretty sure you’ll come up with some dishes so tasty, everyone will end up eating from yours 😛

  60. Funny you can get tamarind locally but not cinnamon chips. I need to keep looking for tamarind, that stew looks amazing.

  61. Barbara says:

    Well, this is definitely NOT a Paula Deen recipe! 🙂 Way too healthy for her.
    The stew looks good, Joanne. Not that I’ll be making it for Thanksgiving, but it’s one of those recipes I’ll be glad to see AFTER the holiday.
    (I sure hope talking to me doesn’t stress MY daughter out. I hope she finds true love along the way, but I already have lots of grandkids, so I don’t harp on stuff like that to her!)

  62. and let the holiday stresses begin!!! and they wonder why people gain weight over the holidays…

  63. I love how much you cook with chickpeas! They are sort of a miracle food and I’m always psyched to find more recipes that use them. Yum!

  64. koshercorvid says:

    A friend of mine is having similar issues with her mother over Thanksgiving. She’s gluten-free and vegan, which is pretty hard for the American omnivore to handle, but her mother just doesn’t understand that chicken broth counts as meat, and uses breadcrumbs rather liberally. I’ve put together a few easy recipes for her to try to bring so there’s something she can eat–quinoa stuffed pumpkin, coconut-milk cornbread–but it’s a tough situation.

  65. sally says:

    Glad to have another recipe that uses tamarind paste. My jar has been sitting in the fridge for far too long.

  66. iscribbler says:

    I indulged this morning and last night in donuts. I did stop myself at having two last night, but the fact that we bought two boxes of them means that restraint is really just a lovely idea around here. Stress is a horrible thing, isn’t it?

    Hear you on the family gatherings. I usually put myself in charge of the veggies so that I can make something that I’ll actually get to eat! My family has the problem of putting bacon or pork in good veggies for “flavoring” thus rendering them void. Family, huh?

    This stew looks so good! I love that it’s paired with quinoa. Going to give this a go. 🙂

  67. Quinoa,chickpea,Swiss chard…this recipe has all my favourite ingredients…totally sold!

  68. Healthy combo and fantastic flavor with tomato and tamarind!

  69. I recently found out about cinnamon chips and succumbed after seeing some muffins on another blog. I made GF pumpkin muffins with them and they were good. Your stew looks really healthy. One pot meals are the best!

  70. Michele says:

    I’m sorry your first Thanksgiving idea didn’t work out. This stew looks awesome. I love stews. And chickpeas. 😉

  71. Lyndsey says:

    I think you are safe with this one…very healthy. It looks so good I want it right now…for breakfast. Any left?

  72. Chaya says:

    Are you sure your mother isn’t Jewish? I could teach her a few things.

    This dish looks spectacular to me. I didn’t see cinnamon chips though.

  73. Nice stew! Full of healthy vegetables, and looks so flavorful!

  74. Rona says:

    I am pretty sure that I stress eat after most conversations with my mother. I try to avoid them as much as possible.

    The stew looks so delicious and so healthy!

  75. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one getting hounded about having children. It’s getting really old, really fast. Ugg.

    Now, onto the stew. It looks really awesome! I have never cooked with tamarind but have seen it in the store before. I think I’m going to give this stew a try this week. Perfect for gearing up for Thanksgiving 🙂

  76. Carolyn Jung says:

    Online shopping can be soooo dangerous because it’s so easy. LOL
    I dunno, I think you’ve more than earned your chips with this healthful stew. 😉

  77. If it doesn’t work out with the other dish I would be more than happy to have this for Thanksgiving dinner. 😉 Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays.

  78. Oh this looks so perfect! After a killer hot weekend, its pretty chilly today. Will give this a go 🙂

  79. it’s perfect for any event! i wonder if i will celebrate thanksgiving at all…i should start to plan something 😀

  80. Johanna GGG says:

    wow that looks like a good hearty stew – far far better than cinnamon chips – though if you ever have too many please send some my way! Shame the vegetarian diet doesn’t distract your mum from the husband and kids – or lack of – am sure she will be pleasantly surprised one day even if it is just to find that you have a wonderful blog and that is an achievement to be proud of!

  81. marla says:

    Only you can go from cinnamon chips to stew in one post. This looks great & a very nice diversion from Thanksgiving food!

  82. This looking amazing Joanne! Its going on my dinner list this week 🙂

  83. Nicole, RD says:

    Haha, I think your mom and my mom would be great friends. If not for the concept of “vegetarian” (not that I am, but she wouldn’t have a clue), for the sake that they both want (and make very clear that want) grandkids. Patience, mothers.

  84. tigerfish says:

    The tang of the tamarind make the stew extra tantalizing and balanced!

  85. Ruth Daniels says:

    You are seriously hysterical! Is that an oxymoron? Not sure, but true. I love your stories and this dish… I think the best yet! Thanks for sharing and I do hope that Thanksgiving wasn’t too stressful after all.

  86. Nicole says:

    Mmmm… sometimes, not that i would admit this anywhere else – i take a spoonful of peanut butter and smoosh said chocolate chips onto the spoon, and mmmmm! (right to the thighs!)

    So anyway – tamarind paste – where does one get this – i have another recipe waiting for this mystery ingredient@

  87. Jennie says:

    One of my all time favorite cookbooks! This dish is amazing. For realz ; )

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