Curried Vegetarian Comfort Stew

Before becoming a mom, Valentina K. Wein had her own catering business, ran Sur La Table’s cooking program in Santa Monica, and was a contributing recipe writer to the Los Angeles Times, Food Section. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and two boys. Now that Valentina’s boys are both in school, she works as a recipe developer, and you can always find her over at her blog, Cooking On The Weekends (and on Twitter,  Facebook, and Pinterest, of course).

This is a guest post for October Unprocessed. If this is your first time here, welcome …and it’s not too late to join in!

I grew up in a home with a thriving, year-round vegetable garden.  Its produce depended on the season, but you could find my parents pulling things out of the garden and adding them to a pot on the stove, all year long.  So I learned early just how wonderful whole, fresh, healthy, and unprocessed ingredients can be.

Just about everything in this stew comes from the garden!

This stew is to vegetarians what a pot roast might be to those who eat meat.  It’s full of rich, deep flavors; it’s incredibly hearty; it fills the whole house with wonderful aromas and it’s a true comfort food dish.

This stew is perfect on its own and is also wonderful over brown rice or a lovely piece of toasted, rustic bread.

Curried Vegetable Stew
Recipe Type: Main
Serves/Yield: 4
  • Olive oil for the pan
  • 1 cup thinly sliced brown onion
  • 2 Tablespoons roughly chopped garlic, roots removed
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup peeled carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup parsnips, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup baby Dutch potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups roughly chopped, loosely packed kale
  • 3 cups roughly chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • ½ teaspoon raw cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  1. Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil, and place it over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the onions are nicely browned, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add about another tablespoon of olive oil and the mushrooms to the pot. Cook until they are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. (Again, stirring every so often.)
  4. Add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, chile flakes, cumin, and fresh thyme, and stir to blend. Pour this mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
  5. Add the carrots and parsnips to the pot, with enough olive oil to coat the bottom (if necessary). Cook just until the vegetables are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Then add the potatoes and kale. Cook until the kale has completely wilted, about 5 minutes.
  6. Return the mushroom-onion mixture to the pot, and then add the tomatoes and coconut water. Use a flat-edged wooden spatula to scrape off any bits of vegetables that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir it right into the stew -- it's these wonderful caramelized flavors that help make this such a hearty stew.
  7. Bring the stew to a boil and then turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 1 hour.
  8. Season with the sugar and salt.
The bottom of the pot will likely brown quite a bit when you caramelize the onion, mushroom, and other vegetables. Please don't worry -- this is great! It's flavor! When you add the tomato and coconut water it will work its way into the stew.

, , , ,

Leave a Reply

22 Comments on "Curried Vegetarian Comfort Stew"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Arina George

Wow ! the recipe looks delicious. Thanks for sharing this easy-looking recipe. I MIGHT try it sometime soon.


This looks awesome. I am gonna try and change it slightly to be a slow cooker recipe!


Can you provide the nutrition data on this recipe?

Charul @ Tadka Masala

This is soooo yumm! I am a vegetarian and these stews are a inseparable part of our family meals. You said it right, hearty and comfort food. 🙂


This looks delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!

Stacy Spensley

You had me at mushrooms. Now if only we had some good soup weather…

Jeanne @JollyTomato

Cannot WAIT to try this! This is one of the main reasons I am excited about the weather getting a little bit cooler – I’m a sucker for comfort food. I can already tell this will be one of my go-to recipes! : )

Kaye Kittrell

I cannot wait to try this when I get over this cold. I need some comfort!

Colette @ JFF!

This looks so delicious, it got my Indian friend’s attention. “Reeeeally? Please send me the link!” she said.

Valentina K. Wein

so happy you are all excited about this recipe! nothing better than a big bowl of (healthy) comfort! 😉


I love reading curry recipes to see the spice blend. This looks like a winner Valentina!

Valentina K. Wein

Thank you, Sara! xo


What’s a good substitute for coconut water? Coconut anything just doesn’t happen at my house.

Valentina K. Wein

Hi Brighid — You can use vegetable stock or broth, or tomato juice. Enjoy!


Thanks for mentioning tomato juice! It’s time to roast another pan of tomatoes for homemade sauce; I’ll use the leftover juice for stew. Yum!

Ellen T

Trying to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into our repertoire. This looks wonderful and I’ll be trying it soon!


Made this stew this past weekend. It is soooo fantastic, and beautiful as well, that I will make it many more times to eat over the fall/winter. While there are a lot of ingredients and a lot of food prep, it is so worth the effort. Really! I dry-roasted some baby portobello mushrooms as garnish and cooked/shredded some chicken tenders for the bottom of the bowl. Oh my! So great I wish I could eat it more often every day. Oh yeah -the flavors intensify, and yummify, after a day or so in the fridge. I love eating this hearty bowl of food with the handmade corn tortillas (recipe posted earlier). Thank you for the excellent curry!

Valentina K. Wein

Jennifer — what a wonderful response to the stew! I’m thrilled that you loved it so much! Sounds perfect to add the chicken and mushrooms, too! 🙂

Arthur in the Garden!

I love a good veggie curry!