Vegetarian Chorizo with spicy cabbage & chickpea stew

Veggie chorizo

Happy Columbus day, everybody!! Of all the holidays that make you go, “Really? We’re celebrating that?” this might be the most questionable. He wasn’t even the first European; he didn’t actually discover anything, because people already lived in his “new world”; he wasn’t in North America. And, by all accounts (including his) he was horribly brutal and cruel. But we’ve heard about all of that, so I won’t go on and on. In this present day that we presently live in day-to-day, I feel perplexed many-a-time by the things that we, as a society, value and reward, and this holiday suggests that we have a history of curiously misplaced admiration.

And yet, I like to think about a world – that day to this – in which we celebrate the things we discover that are different from the things we know. We share the things we love, and the things that sustain us. We don’t feel superior or try to change people, or make them speak our language or eat our food, or celebrate our god. We share our knowledge, our art, our music, our food. I’ve said it before…I’m fascinated by the way that foods have traveled the world. The Spanish brought empanadas and various spices and stews everywhere they went, but they adjusted the recipes according to the ingredients available in their new home. This meal is actually a testament to that. Some version of spicy sausage to go with a stew of beans and vegetables exists everywhere that people eat sausage. I wanted to try to make a vegetarian version of chorizo. And I thought of this vegetable chorizo as a sort of dumpling – the kind people traditionally cook in their stew. So I cooked the “sausage” in a spicy broth, and then I used that broth to make the stew, and then I cooked the “sausage” in butter. A strange meal, but I liked it. Full of flavors and weird ideas!

Here’s Burning Spear with Christopher Columbus

Veggie chorizo

1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic – minced
2 T white wine
1 can small red beans, rinsed and drained
1 piece whole wheat bread
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
2 eggs
1/2 t baking powder
2 t smoked paprika
1 t coriander
1/2 t cumin
pinch each, cayenne & allspice
lots of black pepper

butter for frying


1 T olive oil
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 t pepper corns
2 bay leaves
1 t rosemary
1 t oregano

First make the broth. Warm the olive oil in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add everything else. Warm till sizzly and starting to brown. Add about 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer while you make the rest of the sausages.

In a small frying pan, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, just as it starts to brown, add the wine, and cook for a few minutes till it’s slightly reduced. Pour the garlic wine mixture into a food processor, and add all of the other ingredients. Process for several minutes, till you have a sticky cohesive ball of dough. With wet hands, break off golf-ball sized pieces, and roll them to be about 1/2 inch thick and 4 or 5 inches long. Set on a plate.

Bring the broth to a boil. Drop 3 or 4 sausages in at a time. After a few minutes they should rise to the surface.Remove them with a slotted spoon, and transfer to paper towels to dry completely. When all the sausages are done, preheat the oven to 350.

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt a knob of butter. When it’s bubbling, add as many sausages as you can comfortably fit in a single layer. Fry on all sides till brown and crispy. Place in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest, and bake for about fifteen minutes. If the butter burns between batches, rinse and dry the pan and add new butter.


1 T olive oil
1 shallot – minced
1 clove garlic – minced
1 t rosemary
1 t oregano
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 or 5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 t smoked paprika
1 t cumin
pinch cayenne
1 T butter
1 t lemon
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and herbs. Cook until the garlic starts to brown, in about a minute. Add the cabbage, stir to coat with herbs and wilt slightly. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and spices. Stir, and then immediately add the broth left from cooking the sausages. Start with about two cups, but as more as you cook, to keep it brothy. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the cabbage is just as cooked as you like it. Add butter and lemon juice, and season. Serve with the chorizo.


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