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Warm & Hearty

Sweet Potato Curry Stew (Paleo Vegan)

Creamy and comforting, this hearty paleo vegan stew is loaded with flavor and packed with anti-inflammatories to promote weight loss and support immune health.

Sweet Potato Curry Stew

Crisp fall days and cold winter nights make us crave warm, comforting meals. According to Dr. Emma Laing, UGA Online M.S. in Foods and Nutrition, Community Nutrition Professor and Director of Dietetics at the University of Georgia, this is completely natural. 

“Colder weather can create biological changes that make us want to eat more. When the temperature drops it’s natural that we would want to crave foods that provide us warmth,” Dr. Laing said in a 2019 article published by the University of Georgia.

When food was scarce, the desire to eat heartier, calorie-dense food was a survival instinct. But in today’s world of year-round produce and holiday parties, it can often lead to overindulging. 

This Sweet Potato Curry Stew offers a healthy alternative to heavy pasta and braised meats, which have a tendency to encourage overeating. While being hearty and comforting, it’s also a moderate calorie consumption that’s heavy on flavor and packed with healthy nutrients. As an added bonus, it's loaded with immune-boosting nutrients and minerals to help ward off cold and flu season.

4 Ways This Soup Supports Your Health

1. Turmeric and Ginger - Natural Anti-Inflammatories

One of the problems with indulging is that it can make our bodies swell and hold onto unwanted toxins. Research shows that turmeric and ginger are both natural anti-inflammatories. They offer a healthy and non-invasive way to reduce inflammation in the joints and tissue, while promoting a healthy detox. 

What's more, research shows that turmeric can "enhance antibody responses," helping you ward off cold and flu season.

2. Cayenne Promotes a Sense of Fullness

In a 2016 study published in Food Quality and Preference, researchers found that adding cayenne to soup helped increase the sense of fullness and decrease hunger cravings for at least an hour after eating. Just be sure not to turn up the heat too late at night if you are unfamiliar with the spice, as it may cause you to have stomach issues. 

3. Sweet Potatoes Offer Fiber, Vitamins, and Potassium

A complex carb, sweet potatoes don’t break down and spike your sugar as fast as regular potatoes. Additionally, they are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and potassium, which can help support your immune system. In particular, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are loaded with Vitamin A.

On July 12, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture shared a Q&A with Dr. Matthew Allan, a Research Associate with the Food Science and Market Quality and Handling Research Unit in Raleigh, NC. He and his team work to develop improvements in sweet potato consumer experiences and nutritional quality.

Dr. Allan explained that, "Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that is important for childhood development, the immune system, and our vision."

Quarter-inch cubbed sweet potatoes offer a texture more similar to rice or lentils, giving this stew a thickness that also has something to bite.

4. Spinach is Filled with Iron

During the Great Depression, the average American’s diet lacked essential vitamins and minerals. Popular cartoonist E.C. Segar turned spinach into a superhero’s food. His character Popeye the Sailor helped revolutionize this healthy first choice as a source of strength.

Today, we know spinach is filled with a wide variety of healthy vitamins and minerals, not the least of which is iron. Iron plays a crucial role in oxygenating our blood, which helps our body heal, supports the immune system, and promotes a healthy digestive system.

Make a big batch of this and enjoy it throughout the week!

Sweet Potato Curry Stew (Paleo Vegan)

Makes 6 Servings | 288 Calories Per Serving

This recipe recommends chopping the sweet potatoes into ¼ inch cubes. Doing so creates a texture that mimics rice or lentils, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Bigger chunks of sweet potatoes or your preferred squash could be used (such as butternut or acorn), but you’ll need to increase the simmer time until the potatoes are fork-tender.

This recipe can easily be made in advance and reheated later. In fact, the flavors intensify as the soup rests, which makes it ideal for batch cooking on a Sunday and/or utilizing leftovers throughout the week. 

What else is great about this recipe? The ingredients are pantry staples — so easy to keep on hand you might very well have the already!

2 TBS virgin coconut oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 tsp kosher salt, plus more as desired

3-inch piece ginger, minced

3 TBS curry powder

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS cayenne pepper

1 TBS chili powder

6 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups vegetable broth

1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped in ¼ inch cubes

1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and wrung dry

1 15-ounce can chopped or crushed tomatoes

¼ cup crushed cashews (optional)

¼ cup fresh spinach (optional)

Add coconut oil to a large, heavy bottom pot on medium heat. Add onions and season with 2 tsp salt. Sauté onions until they begin to caramelize, stirring frequently (about 10 minutes).

Add ginger and sauté until fragrant. Add curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, and chili powder, stirring until well-distributed. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.

Add vegetable broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any bits that may have stuck. Add coconut milk and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and allow pot to come to a low simmer (about 5 minutes).

Add potatoes and cover. Continue cooking at a low simmer until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes). 

Add spinach and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Keep simmering to allow spinach and tomatoes to warm. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired 

Serve warm, stirring in a few fresh spinach leaves and topped with crushed cashews.

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