This hearty vegetable stew is made with an assortment of mixed vegetables and nicely flavored with tomato paste, cumin, and paprika.
My mother in law introduced me to guvetch many years ago. The hearty stew, made with an assortment of fleshy veggies and simply flavored with tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a little sugar, was surprisingly good.
The starting point: my mother in law’s recipe
Every time my parents in law visited us, they started their visit with a trip to the supermarket. Back in my kitchen, grocery bags heaping with vegetables, my mother in law would start peeling and chopping.
My mother in law is perpetually on a diet. The bowls of cooked vegetables and rich chicken broth help her stay happy and full even on a limited caloric budget.
But even though my husband and I are not on a low-calorie diet, we love this stew. It’s flavorful, warming and satisfying. Almost meaty, thanks to the eggplant.
My mother in law taught me her wonderful recipe. Over the years, I made a few changes to her original recipe. My own version is a little more seasoned. I skip the sugar and add cumin and paprika. But other than that it’s very similar to her wonderful basic recipe.
The ingredients you’ll need
The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
Tomato paste: I use one (6 oz) can in this recipe.
Fresh lemon juice: Use freshly squeezed juice for the best results.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the stew could end up too salty.
Spices: Cumin and paprika. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. But if you’d rather use an oil with a higher smoke point, you can use avocado oil instead.
Vegetables: Onion, garlic, eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers.
Can I use different vegetables?
Yes! You can use whatever veggies you like and change up the ratio, as long as the volume of veggies remains about the same.
Also, make sure you use sturdy vegetables that can withstand slow cooking. So cauliflower works, but lettuce does not.
How to make a vegetable stew
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Start by whisking together the tomato paste, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and the spices.
2. Cook the vegetables in olive oil in the order listed, then add the sauce and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce the heat and simmer the stew for 30 minutes.
How to serve this vegetable stew
It’s a wonderful, filling side dish. Sometimes I simply serve it topped with a couple of poached eggs for a wonderful, satiating meatless dinner. Other times, I bake tiny cocktail meatballs and mix them into the stew.
What about leftovers?
Leftovers keep beautifully in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. In fact, like most stews, this one actually tastes better the second day, after the flavors have had some time to meld.
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Hearty Vegetable Stew
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (not table salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large eggplant, unpeeled, cubed into 1-inch cubes
- 6 medium zucchinis, unpeeled, cubed into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 large bell peppers, chopped
- In a large bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, water, lemon juice, kosher salt, black pepper, cumin and paprika. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook 3-4 minutes, until translucent.
- Add the eggplant, zucchinis and garlic. Cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the bell peppers and the tomato mixture. Gently mix with a wooden spoon to blend everything together. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, 30 minutes, stirring gently every 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
- Remove from heat, stir one more time, and allow to slightly cool before serving, about 10 minutes.