I will start this post with a confession. We didn't have any meat at our Shabbos lunch meal today. (GASP.) All Shabbos I was afraid we'd be discovered. Each time there was a knock at the door, I was SURE it was a neighbor coming to complain about the untraditional aromas coming from our home. "What is that delicious but distinctly pareve smell?" I imagined the balabusta next-door asking. "Mommy, why does the Lockers' house smell so WEIRD? It's like vegetable soup instead of chulent!" I imagined my neighbors' three-year-old asking in a too-loud-whisper. 

But thankfully, we made it through Shabbos undetected. At least I think we did. (I did get some odd stares from the neighbors' kids but I think that was just because of the obscene mess of toys in the living room. Don't anyone else's kids make a mess???)

Today's lunch consisted of eggs, salad, pareve chulent, fish, and Yemenite Jachnun bread which I tried for the first time and will blog about later in the week. 

For our first vegetarian chulent, I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, for inspiration, and we were not disappointed. I made some changes to the original recipe, but relied on good-old-Moosewood for the basic seasonings and main ingredients. It is slightly more labor-intensive than my traditional chulent, but I thought was well worth the effort. This one's definitely going on the favorites list. (Oh, and a word of warning - if you want a truly pareve chulent, be sure to use a pareve pot.)

Vegetarian Chulent
If you like the sound of this but are horrified by the thought of a meatless chulent, you can definitely add turkey or chicken to this recipe for a slightly richer and less scandalous version. I recommend making this chulent later in the day than you'd make a traditional one. The vegetables really don't need much time to cook through, and since the beans are pre-cooked, it does better with less simmering time. I made mine just two hours before Shabbos, which was more than enough time to make sure it was cooked through. 

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon paprika 
2 teaspoons salt
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 cups water
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 4 cups cooked chickpeas)

In a large, preferably cast iron, pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat and then add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin popping, stir in the onions and saute for about 10 minutes. 

Add all the spices and the salt to the onions. Mix well and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the potatoes, squash, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. 

Add the chickpeas, orange juice and lime juice and simmer for another few minutes. Put the pot on a blech or transfer it to a crockpot and leave on medium-low heat for up to 24 hours until you're ready to serve it. 

Ingredients for Vegetarian Chulent

Butternut squash, awaiting peeling

Butternut squash, peeled and cubed.
(My favorite photo because I HATE
dealing with butternut squash.)

I love my Le Creuset pot and was
just looking for an excuse to
photograph it.