The days are shorter and the nights colder this time of year. It’s a season when I crave a comforting, warm and nutritious dinner after a long day. Nutrition is key – it’s time for this Ward gal to “Ward off” cold and flu season with exceptionally healthy fair for her family. The small kinder (Snu Magoo and Littlest Guy) are still developing their immune systems. Dad (Abba Goose) works at hospital and a cold is – literally and figuratively – passed on as easily as a handshake.
I love this recipe not only because it is warm, comforting and healthful. It is also a break from the traditional American stews often prepared in the Fall and Winter months.
I found inspiration during yesterday’s trip to market, where a plethora of perfectly ripe, beautiful and colorful Asian vegetables called out to me. The kinder and I loaded up on deep green super-foods like leafy kale and bok choy (Chinese cabbage), along with long, thin, light purple Japanese eggplants; carrots, beans, bright green sugar snap peas; crisp, red peppers and sweet, yellow onions.
Later that night, I prepared the stew and allowed the flavors to marry over low-heat while I gave Snoo Magoo and Littlest Guy their baths and read them a bed time story. Later, the kinder asleep, I relished eating a big plate of vegetable stew.
Abba Goose came home from his job at the hospital at around midnight – the OR cases were long that day – to enjoy a big, hearty bowl of stew atop steaming, fiber-rich brown rice. The dish is scrumptious topped with scallions for crunch and sriracha sauce for a spicy kick.
In this recipe, Feel free to add some grilled tofu, chicken or fish for a protein boost. Use any beautiful, seasonal vegetable that calls your name.
The next day at lunch, Snoo Magoo and Littlest Guy had the stew at lunch. The flavors are intense and bold and the colors and textures myriad. At first bite, their faces expressed the many sensations experienced on their palates. For a split second, I worried that that their little, toddler taste buds were overwhelmed.
There had been need for worry – the kinder gobbled it down! “The carrots are so sweet!” said Snoo Magoo. Yes, vegetables are nature’s candy! Littlest Guy enjoyed double-fisting his bites of stew along with Thomas the Train-shaped organic, semolina pasta. Snoo Magoo requested a side of scrambled eggs. Abba Goose raises free range chickens, and their eggs are rich, flavorful and go well with any meal.
Asian-Inspired Veggie Powerhouse Stew
Serve up this nutritional punch in big bowls and eat with big spoons!
1 whole white or yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 Japanese eggplants, halved thinly sliced into crescent moons
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup sugar snap or snow peas
1 cup fresh green beans, stems removed and halved
1 bunch of bok choy, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro stems, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
1 Tbsp light olive oil or neutral oil of choice
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
3 Tbsp. low-sodium, gluten-free soy sauce
2 Tbsp. red miso sauce (I used the Whole Foods 365 brand)
1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste
Optional serving suggestions:
sliced scallions, to garnish
Sriracha and soy sauce
steamed brown rice
grilled chicken breast, fish or tofu, sliced
1.) Over medium heat, add the olive oil to a large pan and sauté the onions, carrots and eggplant over for several minutes, until the onions are translucent and the is eggplant slightly golden.
2.) Then, drizzle the sesame oil into the pan and add all the remaining vegetables, through the kale, as well as the cilantro stems. Increase the heat to medium-high and sauté for five more minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté one minute more, just to soften the garlic.
3.) Add the soy sauce, red miso and lemon or lime juice. Stir the liquids into the vegetables; taste the stew and season appropriately with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cover the pan. Allow to cook over low heat for an hour or until dinner is served – up to two hours.
4.) Enjoy with hot, brown rice and grilled chicken, tofu or fish. Garnish with scallions, Sriracha and additional soy sauce, if desired.
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.
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