I see a lot of Jews talk shit about cholent. I don’t get why. It’s a stew where you get to pick what goes in it. So if you don’t like your cholent, here’s a novel idea, try putting things you like into the pot! Just an idea.
Anywho, cholent is a traditional Ashkenazi meal. The story goes that observant Jews would start cooking this on Friday afternoon before the start of the Sabbath and let it simmer overnight so it would be ready for lunch the next day without any prep. The word “cholent” also supposedly comes from French Jews, a collision of chaude (hot) and lent (slow).
Cholent is usually a meaty dish. My deal these days is that I’ll eat meat if I’m a guest somewhere and it’s being served. (I don’t want to make a fuss or be an ungracious guest.) Otherwise, I don’t cook meat. That’s my deal. I haven’t missed meat, so I haven’t gone back, and that’s partly how I developed this recipe. The spicy bit came in because, well, I like spice, It’s traditionally not spicy. Proceed as you wish.
What’s also great about this recipe is you’re bound to be overloaded with leftovers and there is no shortage of ways to reuse cholent. I’ve used it in burritos, tacos, and shakshuka. Go nuts!
Spicy Vegetarian Cholent (Vegan Easy)
- 2 tbsp olive oil to sautée the onions, garlic, spinach
- 2 tbsp olive oil into the cholent pot
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- spinach to preference
- 6 small potatoes
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp cumin
- cayenne to spice preference
- 2-3 bay leaves
- vegetable broth
- Heat up a skillet and put two tbsp of olive oil. Sautée onions, garlic, and spinach with salt and pepper seasoning.
- In a large pot, dump in the black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, barley, skinned potatoes, diced tomatoes, bay leaves. Season with paprika and cumin. I usually do a layer of each and then mix it around. You'll likely have to adjust to taste throughout the simmering process. The same goes for the cayenne. Put in as much in as you like for your spice preference.
- Once your onions, garlic, and spinach are ready, dump them into the pot.
- Pour in enough vegetable broth so everything is covered. Turn to medium-high heat, covered. Once you see a boil, turn it down to a low heat to simmer for several hours. I usually start cholent in the morning to simmer throughout the day or the night before so it simmers overnight, which is the traditional method. You'll want to occasionally monitor things and stir to make sure your cholent isn't burning on the bottom.
- When you're about ready to eat, move the pot away from the heat so the cholent settles even more. Use a ladle to serve and throw some avocado slices on top with a pinch of parsley. If you want to keep it vegan, just don't put any grated cheese on top. Serve with some bread. Then eat!