Yoda’s Rootleaf Stew – Vegan
Yes, I’m serious. Yoda stew. Because I am surrounded by
nerds, I mean SciFi fans.
There is a school of thought that says that Yoda is vegetarian. If anyone is able to confirm or deny this theory, please do! In any event, with all due respect to Chef Chaliborne’s 1983 rendition of what Yoda’s Rootleaf Stew from the Planet Dagobah might look and taste like, the idea of a vegan version sounds plausible…. and recreating this iconic dish is just fun. Not to mention, a great way to convince young Jedi to eat spinach! Yoda loved it! 🙂
According to Wookipedia:
Rootleaf stew was a favorite meal of Jedi Master Yoda during his exile on Dagobah. It was a staple of his diet, supplemented by yarum seeds, mushroom spores, galla seeds, and sohli bark. Yoda prepared rootleaf stew the evening that he met Luke Skywalker.
To set the scene…
The only information that Wookiepedia has on the stew’s ingredients is that they “came from plants found on Dagobah”. So with no access to Dagobah vegetation or knowledge of their Earth counterparts, we have to use a little guesswork to create Yoda’s Stew. This was done for us by Craig Claiborne in 1983. Chef Claiborne was hired by NPR to create this dish for a 10-part radio drama aired on the station. His recipe – a Paleo version containing animal protein – is posted here.
The spice blend that Chef Claiborne uses is pretty much a garum masala. It is delicious! And it does contain the primary elements of Yoda’s stew, roots (ginger, turmeric), bark (cinnamon), and seeds (cumin, cardamon). These would be very nourishing and strengthening for a young Jedi in training!
When I think of available ingredients in the swamps of Dagobah, something like this comes to mind…
Yoda did use mushroom, and some sort of tuber would fit in nicely.
Chef Claiborne’s recipe calls for A LOT of parsley. I just chopped up about one half of a bunch, then threw in, maybe a cup. Use any amount you like.
To make this recipe easier, you can gather all the spices together first. This is your coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamon, cinnamon, and cloves… Yoda spice blend.
(This is pretty much a Garum Masala.)
Yoda’s Rootleaf Stew
In a little cooking oil, cook the mushrooms first, then set them aside.
A little bit of coconut oil in the pan will bloom your spices beautifully, bringing out all that wonderful flavor and aroma. Ahhhh
If you have sliced your onions, brown those first! Then bloom your spices and throw in your bay leaf and ginger too. My Jedi do not like onion pieces, so I grate my onion and garlic and add it after the spices and ginger. If desired, add heat in the form of peppers.
This grated onion and garlic looks like mush, but it is flavor! Full delicious flavor.
Now we have spices, grated onion and garlic, ginger and bay leaf… add water, just enough to make it soupy, allow flavors to continue to meld, and to cook your taro root. If you prefer, use potatoes.
Add in your diced taro root. Couldn’t you imagine something like this tuber growing in the swamps of Dagobah?
When the taro root is just about tender and cooked through (raw taro root can be toxic to the liver), add mushrooms back in, and your parsley. Use as much parsley as you like.
If you like, add lentils. This is about 1/4 cup rinsed and cooked french lentils. French lentils fill out the soup beautifully with a firm meaty texture and earthy flavor.
If you want your stew more soupy, add water. The last item to go in is the spinach. It takes only seconds for it to cook. Usually I use a heartier green in soups and stews, but spinach just seams more appropriately swampy.
Yoda’s Rootleaf Stew
Altered from Chef Claiborne’s recipe from the 1983 NPR Star Wars features, this vegan version would do Yoda proud!
- 8 oz mushrooms, quartered (baby portobella used here)
- Cooking oil (I like coconut)
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (or grated)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoons ginger root; finely minced
- optional: 1/2 teaspoon hot green or red chilies; finely chopped, seeded
- Spice blend
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamon; ground
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup peeled and diced taro root
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup cooked lentils (I like french lentils)
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley (use as much or little as you like)
- 1/2 – 1 pound fresh spinach; well rinsed, sliced (or kale or collards, if you prefer a green leak that holds up better in a stew)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a little cooking oil, cook the mushrooms first, then set them aside.
- In the same oil (add a little more, if needed), brown sliced onions, then add peppers, ginger, and spices to bloom them. Lastly, add minced garlic. If you have grated your onions and garlic, add them in after the spices are bloomed.
- Add taro root (or potato, if using) and just enough water to cover and cook them. Cook taro root until it is just about tender, uncovered. Adjust water level as needed.
- When the taro root is just about tender and cooked through (raw taro root can be toxic to the liver), add mushrooms back in, and your parsley. Use as much parsley as you like.
- Add lentils, if you are using them.
- Add spinach at the very end. If you are using a heartier green, add it in about 5-7 minutes before stew is completely cooked.
- If you want your stew more soupy, add water. Adjust seasoning, as desired (salt and pepper).
Serve immediately. It is very good over rice!
For great food ideas for your Star Wars theme event, please check out my new ebook on Amazon.
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