Not Your Mother’s Vegetable Soup!

Yucca Root

When I go into Produce Junction, I go just a little bit crazy. OK, to be fair, those who know me are saying, “Short trip.” Tonight’s soup is a vegetable soup that is not your traditional fare. My sisters’ 8th grade Home Ec. teacher, and friend of the family, Mrs. Newton, would always stress that the quickest way to test to see if a meal was balanced was to see if it had a variety of colors.  This soup meets Mrs. Newton’s test, even though I’ve seen that theory debunked with one ear of Indian corn. It’s fun to remember her just the same. Here we go!


  • Water
  • 1 large Celeriac
  • 1 large Yucca Root
  • 1 lb. Carrots
  • 2 Fennel
  • 2 Leeks
  • 3 Yellow Onions
  • 5 sweet, long Red Peppers
  • 4 sweet, Orange Peppers
  • 4 sweet, Yellow Peppers
  • 2 lbs. Radishes
  • 2 Eggplants
  • 3 cups Quinoa
  • handful Turmeric
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • handful Greek Oregano
  • 25 twists fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 generous Tablespoon ground Ginger
  • 1 generous Tablespoon ground Coriander
  • Olive Oil


Fill a 22 quart soup kettle almost half full with water and start to heat. Chop up, then chop fairly fine the Celeriac in the food processor and add it to the kettle to cook. Slice and peel the Yucca Root. The Yucca’s peel is toxic and contains latex. The root needs to be thoroughly cooked. Cut the raw root into pieces and puree it in the food processor. then add it in to boil in the kettle. Slice or dice the carrots and add them to the pot. Do the same for the Leeks and the Onions. About this time, I transferred the kettle into the canner with rags under it and water in the canner, to form a giant double boiler to finish the cooking without scorching the yucca. You can stew a soup all day this way as long as you maintain a decent water level in the canner. Dice up the Fennel. The fronds throw directly into the soup. The rest, saute’ in a skillet first to release the umami, then throw it into the pot. Cut up all the Peppers into bite sized pieces and throw them into the pot. Quarter the Radishes and add them. Dice the Eggplants, leaving the skin on. (Remember Mrs. Newton. Actually there are valuable bioflavonoids there. She wasn’t all wrong.) Throw them in. In a large, deep skillet, heat up some Olive Oil and dump in the Quinoa to toast it. You may need to add more olive oil. Keep stirring it. Don’t let it burn. Now add 6 cups of hot tap water. and a handful of Turmeric. Keep stirring while it boils for about five minutes. Then turn off the heat, cover and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the Quinoa to the kettle and stir in. Press the Garlic into the pot. Add the other spices. It should be full to the top of the kettle and smelling and tasting fine!

Some of my choices for spices and ingredients are for flavor. Some are for health benefits. Turmeric, for example, has been shown to improve liver function, improve cholesterol, combat diabetes, fight inflammation, among other things. Coriander helps eliminate toxins like heavy metals from the system. Yucca helps cleanse the colon and is a good source of Vitamins A, B, C and potassium. It also helps treat or prevent rheumatoid arthritis. It helps thicken the soup. You may know it as tapioca.

April prepared for tonight: Black Eyed Peas, Ham & Greens Casserole and Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Jerry and Esther are each bringing spaghetti. Serge & Alex are bringing a small pot of chicken soup. Serge & Alex are bringing sandwiches. (different Serge & Alex) Others are bringing sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, peanuts, oranges, and pastries. I will pick up the iced tea. April already brought the hot sauce.

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