This recipe is quintessential fall. It’s loaded with curried root vegetables like beets, radishes, turnips, winter squash, and sweet potatoes. The broth is infused with loads of earthy and spicy curry powder which is the perfect warming-up spice for the cool weather that’s coming in, albeit slowly here in New Orleans! Nonetheless, fall is fall and I was ready for some stew. So that’s precisely why this recipe came to fruition. I’m keeping things super simple by throwing most of the ingredients in at once in the beginning. No need to fuss. Once things are nice and tender, I introduce some garlic, ginger, vinegar, sweet mirin (a cooking wine), nutritional yeast, and tamari. All of these combined, results in a super flavorful, savory, and delicious broth that becomes infused in the tender and succulent root vegetables. To be resourceful and fun, I like to throw in some of the green tops from the beets and turnips. They provide a nice body to the stew and they’re delicious! The only thing that could make this recipe any better is a fluffy grain to go on top with some toasted nuts. I chose quinoa and pecans because that screams fall to me, but do what you will with what you want. I’m not here to tell you what to do (well, kinda). Make the stew, have fun, and share it with friends.
Serves 6 to 8
3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ½ cups chopped sweet potatoes
1 ½ cups chopped beets, reserve some of the tops
1 ½ cups chopped butternut squash, peeled
1 ½ cups chopped red kuri or kabocha squash, peeled
1 ½ cups chopped (or baby) turnips
4 to 5 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (duh)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons mirin*
6 cups filtered or spring water
3 tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 to 3 bay leaves
Beet greens (about 1 cup), shredded
Turnip greens (about 1 cup), shredded
Toasted pecans, chopped (about 2 cups)
Fluffy quinoa, a few cups
Fresh herbs, like thyme, basil, or parsley, to garnish
1 lemon, cut into slices
1. In a large pot, add olive oil, onion, sweet potatoes, beets, butternut squash, red kuri squash, and turnips. Bring to medium heat, stirring often, and cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and the vegetables begin to brown.
2. Next, throw in the garlic, ginger, curry powder, nutritional yeast, and cinnamon. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often, to toast the seasonings and spices and soften the garlic.
3. Add the mirin, water, tamari, chopped tomatoes, sea salt, and bay leaves. Turn the heat up to medium high and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and succulent. Once they are done, throw in the shredded beet greens and turnip greens. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Cook for a few more minutes until the greens are tender.
4. To serve, remove the bay leaves and ladle the soup into pretty bowls. Add a scoop of fluffy quinoa in the middle and sprinkle on top some toasted pecans and whatever fresh herbs you desire. On the side, serve a small slice of lemon with each bowl to be squeezed on top right before consuming.
Mirin is a Japanese cooking wine that is sweet and pairs perfectly with tamari or soy sauce. It works beautifully in marinades, soups, and salad dressings. I recommend this brand.
For the quinoa, I like to add a splash of rice vinegar, a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, a few pinches of salt, a crack of pepper, and a drizzle of smoked olive oil or toasted sesame seed oil before cooking. You could also add a pinch of curry powder and cinnamon to echo the flavors in the soup.
You can totally eat the tops of beets and turnips. Just make sure to rinse them thoroughly as they can oftentimes be sandy. I don’t particularly like them raw, but once they are wilted in a hot broth, they become tender and delicious!