Caribbean Stew and a Thought or Two

When I came across this recipe while thumbing through my copy of Moosewood Favorites, I realized two things:

1.) I love and have always loved how eclectic Moosewood’s recipes are. It never seems to matter how inauthentic or random they are–the flavor combinations are always on par. Cooking from Moosewood is like a free pass to Ma’s place; every creation tastes perfectly rugged and love-filled.

2.) I am completely enamored with the Caribbean. I have dreamt of traveling there ever since I first heard the Beach Boys’ song “Kokomo” blast out from my childhood boombox. (You think I’m joking. I beg you to reconsider.) Though not much a beach gal, I am a water-lover and the idea of experiencing a culture based around the ocean and all things tropical intrigues me and is not something I’ve ever experienced. I want to (in my wildest dreams) spend a day with local fisherman, and then come ashore and cook our salt-water bounty.  I want to pick a coconut off a palm tree and drink its water fresh. I want to tour a generations-old rum distillery. Maybe I could even stand to lie oceanside for a few hours (hah). Tropical far-off wonderful places–I will see you soon. Until then, I will live in the Caribbean vicariously through my dinners.

Moosewood’s Caribbean Stew

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites

Makes ~4 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 cups chopped onions

salt and pepper to taste, to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

2 tablespoons minces jalapeno

2.5 cups cubed sweet potato

2 cups sliced cabbage

1 bell pepper, chopped

½ teaspoon dried thyme

15-oz can diced tomatoes, including juice

3 cups stemmed and thinly sliced kale

zest from 1 lime

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


1. Warm the oil in a covered soup pot on medium-low heat. Add the onions with the salt, black pepper, nutmeg, ginger, jalapenos and thyme and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

2. Stir in the sweet potato and saute for 5 minute until slightly browned. Stir in the cabbage and bell pepper, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.

3. Add enough water to cover the sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add the canned tomatoes and juice, kale, lime zest and cilantro and simmer for a final 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice and season to taste.

Serve with Moosewood’s Spicy Lemon-Cilantro baked tofu recipe, found here.


  1. Gary McFall says:

    Appears to be some type of meat in the bowl, but I don’t see any meat in the ingredients? Also, we had fresh coconuts while in Ecuador. The meat is slimy & water doesn’t taste as good as it might in your mind. 🙂

    • Gary, that’s the baked tofu! I’m a meat eater but I really enjoyed this tofu recipe, linked in at the bottom of my post. And I’d still give the water a shot 😉

      • Gary McFall says:

        Ahhh, I just re-read your post, seeing “to be served with Moosewood’s Spicy Lemon-Cilantro baked tofu recipe. I LOVE tofu. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

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