Rich and hearty — these two words best describe what Italian cuisine is all about. The Italians know how to take simple ingredients and combine them to make a stellar dish.
Take for instance this Ciambotta (pronounced as Chom-BOAT-ah) or Italian vegetable stew. Considered to be a southern Italian tradition, it’s a celebration of the garden’s bounty that’s slowly cooked in a rich tomato sauce.
This recipe by Marisa Moon of My Longevity Kitchen is easy to follow and can be done in two ways: via stovetop or slow cooker. Regardless of what method you use, you’ll end up with a healthy veggie-filled stew that’s overflowing with delicious flavors.
Ciambotta Italian Vegetable Stew Recipe
Preparation Time: 20 minutes Serving Size: 3
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- Approx. 1 lb. of eggplant and/or organic zucchini, diced
- 24 oz. jarred organic tomatoes (quartered fresh tomatoes work too)
- Optional: 1 organic celery, finely chopped
- Optional: 1 organic carrot, finely chopped
- Optional: approx. 1 lb. of organic potatoes, peel and diced
- Optional: 1/2 lb. green beans and organic sweet peppers, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, oregano or thyme
- 1 tsp. dried oregano (skip this if you’re using fresh oregano
- Optional: 1 tsp. crushed pepper flakes
- 18 oz. bone broth, stock or water (just enough to cover the veggies)
- 2 tablespoons of avocado oil
- 1/4 cup of avocado oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: 1/4 cup organic, grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Using a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil over medium heat.
- Add the onions, carrots and celery (if using), and a pinch of salt. Stir and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and crushed chili pepper flakes, stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add all of your vegetables, tomatoes and ¼ cup of avocado oil. Stir and add enough broth or water to just cover the vegetables.
- Turn the heat to high, stir in the herbs, bay leaf, 2 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of pepper.
- Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover.
- Cook on low heat for 1 hour, stirring around every 15 minutes to prevent burning on the bottom.
- After 1 hour and all the veggies are super soft, you may leave off the cover to reduce the amount of liquid remaining. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until you reach the desired thickness.
- Serve the soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for the true Italian flavor if desired.
Slow Cooker Method
- Add all of the ingredients — except the grated cheese — to the slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours, until the veggies are super soft.
- If it’s too soupy, continue cooking uncovered on high or transfer to the stove uncovered and the liquid will evaporate as it simmers.
- Stir in the grated cheese and taste for salt. If something’s missing, add salt.
- Serve with fresh herbs, grated cheese and crushed pepper with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired.
This Veggie-Filled Ciambotta Is Vibrant and Full of Flavor
Using the best tomatoes for this Ciambotta is very important to provide flavor and positive health boosts. Aside from having no fat and cholesterol, tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C that can help prevent infections.
You can also get your fix of two potent antioxidants when you eat tomatoes: lycopene and zeaxanthin. Lycopene can help defend your cells and skin from UV damage and skin cancer, reduce oxidative stress and risk for osteoporosis, and preserve bone density. Meanwhile, zeaxanthin shields your eyes from macular degeneration and blocks out UV rays from your body.
Just make sure to buy organic tomatoes or those in jars instead of cans. Canned tomatoes have traces of a harmful chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA) that’s linked to reproductive abnormalities, neurological consequences and a higher risk for sicknesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and prostate and breast cancers.
Garlic is usually added to dishes to give it extra taste, but there are actually more reasons why you should eat it. For one, garlic is loaded with various minerals such as manganese, calcium, phosphorus and selenium. Plus, studies have shown that garlic can expel heavy metals from your body, inhibit sicknesses such as colds, help fight cancer and enhance immune system growth.
Did you know that there’s more to bone broth than just being a delicious soup base? It’s rich in minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, collagen, bone and bone marrow, silicon and trace minerals, and amino acids, to name a few. Bone broth is also easily digested and is known to inhibit infections, lessen joint pain and inflammation, and encourage the growth of strong bones and healthy hair and nails.
About the Author
Inspired by the ideas from the “Perfect Health Diet” and the Weston A. Price Foundation, Marisa Moon started her blog My Longevity Kitchen so she can share with other people her whole food and gluten-free recipes that maximize nutrition and minimize toxins. Her blog has been nominated for Paleo Magazine’s 2015 Best New Blog Award. All of her recipes are gluten free and compliant with a variety of ancestral diets and real food lifestyles.
Apart from managing her blog, Marisa also teaches nutritional lifestyle workshops and develops recipes for HI-VIBE, an organic superfood juicery, all in Chicago, Illinois.
Sources and References