Coconut Sweet Potato Stew

I haven’t posted recipes in a while. Partly because I haven’t been experimenting much with recipes and partly because food isn’t very photogenic in our kitchen.

We housesat at our friends’ place last weekend and, holy smokes, I was on fire in that kitchen. Every meal was one I invented and one my family unanimously declared a new favorite. Cooking for my family is so fun.


One meal in particular knocked our socks off. It started with oh man, we don’t have anything for dinner which is my favorite challenge in the world. And, not only did I need to make food for our four, but I needed to make food for our friends who just welcomed baby Nellie to the world. It had to be good. And fast because, of course, I had spent the day outside and then had like an hour to get something made and delivered.

Soup is my go-to when the pickins are slim. I threw an onion into olive oil and started hunting for other ingredients and ended with Coconut Sweet Potato Stew. I know ‘stew’ means meat but this thick, hearty soup feels like a stew so we call it a stew.

Coconut Sweet Potato Stew
serves 6 or so


olive oil
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups rice
1 can coconut milk
4-5 cups water

3 carrots, chopped
3 sweet potatoes, cut into one-inch chunks
a few fistfuls of spinach
4 cloves garlic, minced

dried basil

Begin with a few tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of your soup pot on high heat. Add onion, celery and rice. Cook for a few minutes until things soften and onion is translucent. Add coconut milk, carrots, sweet potatoes, basil, salt and water. I really have no idea how much water I added so you may need to add more as the rice cooks, getting to your desired consistency. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover. It’s done when the rice is cooked and the sweet potato is soft. Don’t overcook, don’t over-stir or the rice and sweet potato will mush. Turn off heat. A few minutes before serving, stir in spinach and garlic.

I am entering this recipe in a sweet potato recipe contest and that’s what this
little No More Mallows Picketer is all about!


My kids gobbled this up and my friend reports her kids, who are super skeptical of large chunks of floating vegetables, did the same. It is good with a little hot sauce in there too.


I carried a spring to my cooking step, a dash of inspiration back to our little kitchen where the temperamental burners and bipolar oven are like interesting party guests that always keep me guessing. The girls have been helping with dinner prep: Margot assisting with chopping and measuring, Ruby assisting with combining and adding.


Oh and one last foodie morsel. I made Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate pudding for Andy’s birthday yesterday but used dark chocolate instead of bittersweet and added a few tablespoons of peanut butter. OH MY.


What’s cooking in your kitchen? I’d love it if you’d share your current favorite recipe(s) in the comments. 

42 Responses to Coconut Sweet Potato Stew

  1. Amy says:

    That is so funny. I totally have sweet potatoes sitting on my counter that REALLY need to be used. I totally have all this stuff in my kitchen. You just saved dinner, Dig.

  2. Wesley says:

    Okay – loving many things about this post but HELLO old wood stove! Looks just like the one at our cabin!

    Also loving that determined look on Margot’s face as she cuts potatoes with you.

    I’m definitely trying this recipe – looks delicious!

  3. Ozzy says:

    I love those ‘nothing in the house to make’ meals, too. I call them ‘old mother hubbard’ dinners.
    Working on a cookbook project right now which means lots of awesome Italian meals. Happy work, for sure!

  4. @Amy! Yay! Let me know what you think.

  5. Tatiana says:

    How funny that this is what you posted today. Just yesterday I was planning my very first garden (yay!) and thinking to myself how I desperately needed some new “earthy, vegetabley” and simple recipes and the first place I thought to look was your blog. Guess I need to go buy some coconut milk and try this out. Fingers crossed that my picky kids will eat it because as of now the only veggies they’ll eat is sweet potatoes and sometimes broccoli. I’m hoping the gardening helps with this.

    Thanks for always being an inspiration! :)

  6. HAS says:

    Love it, love trying your recipes, too! I will try this this week bc it sounds delicious! One of our family faces is your black olive soup (a la Moosewood).
    My current go-to (and fav) is black beans & brown rice.

  7. HAS says:

    Family *faves* not faces!

  8. Meredith says:

    Slow cooker! Chop, sauté, add liquid, set, leave and play outside for six or so hours, return to house smelling of yummy supper. Serve. Think of a witch cauldron combining a bunch of innocent ho hums, whisper some enchantments, return to magical blissful bites. (yesterday here is was some frozen tomatoes, a couple of jars of last summers tomato juice, beef broth, sausage, cranberry beans, kale, onion….). – lasagna, no problem slow cooker…. Etc.

  9. ctb says:

    holy mother-effing shitballs! who has a kitchen like that? kings and queens?

    try this coconut (curry) sweet potato stew..

    2 lbs stew meat
    1 tbs red curry paste
    1 can coconut milk
    1/4 cup chicken stock or water
    1/2 head purple cabbage cut chunky
    3 yams peeled and cut chunky

    place meat and curry paste in slow cooker. combine well. add liquids. combine well. top with potatoes, then cabbage. cover on low for 6+ hours!

    this takes less than 5 min to prepare, 5 min to eat, and is teeny weeny kitchen approved. love.

  10. Hazel says:

    Soup is our magic meal, we often freeze raw meatballs (made with pork and veal mince, fine semolina, parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, salt, a little onion and an egg to bind) roll them out as small as you can be bothered and then add to the soup at the end.
    Will have to try this coconut soup though, and that chocolate pudding. Damn, I just got back from a fitness assessment at the gym (you don’t wanna know my metabolic age!) and now all I’d like to eat is chocolate.
    Basil is the go at our home at the moment. We’ve got a bumper crop (we really need to make some pesto this weekend to freeze in ice-cubes for winter) so we have it on everything, and have been eating pesto pasta or risotto. we tend to be lazy and not actually make the pesto at times, just pan fry the pine nuts and garlic, and then grate the cheese and chop the basil and toss them all through the pasta or cooked rice with some extra olive oil. I know that’s a bit mean, but can you grow basil in summer in Missoula?
    I’m trying to do a slow cook recipe every weekend, last weekend was an easy lamb shank recipe (link to the recipe it looks a little frightening because of the turmeric, but it is delicious.
    I bet you can’t wait for the end of May when you can cook in a bigger kitchen for your family.

  11. Tina says:

    I looked at this recipe when you linked it the other day… seriously, I am so excited to try it. I am a coconut junkie! Yum!

  12. Daniele says:

    cool kitchen! lately I’m obsessed with Chinese stirfry. It’s hilarious, I have been making no less than two or three per week…I am particularly obsessed with the sauces, trying to master an authentic Chinese sauce. It’s really fun and they’ve all been really good. I’m making another tomorrow tee hee. I find most of my recipes online.

  13. Minnesotagal says:

    I was so excited to try this that I got home and started prepping. Didn’t have much time so I started it in the pressure cooker. Couldn’t find my can of coconut milk for the life of me so used stock instead and added corn. 15 minutes later (LOVE my pressure cooker!) – dinner. Yummy!! Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Mama Mel says:

    LOVE Smitten Kitchen!

  15. Kelly Cach says:

    First of all….your girls are so stinkin’ CUTE!

    And secondly….I made up a recipe just tonight that my oldest requested for his BIRTHDAY dinner!!! Highest cooking compliment he could have given me. And so we will be having it again on Sunday, as he is turning 11 :(

    *Sorry. I didn’t measure. We call these “skillet meals”:

    *Quinoa cooked in organic chicken broth. Set aside
    *Cubed chicken (ooohh…I feel so bad saying ‘chicken’ if you guys don’t eat it….seeing how you have such cute ones yourselves!) sauted in olive oil, garlic, cumin, & whatever type “taco seasonings” you might use.
    *Add red, orange, yellow peppers…saute a few minutes
    *Squeeze 1\2 lemon into mixture & remove from heat.

    *Serve over quinoa, and most importantly top with: cilantro, green onion, & avocado! Delish, according to my adventurous eaters!!!

    Can’t wait to try your STEW!!! I am a soup making machine in cold weather and I have a ton of sweet potatoes on hand. I just need the coconut milk….SLURP….getting it tomorrow! And oh my goodness, I MUST make your pudding! Peanutbutter keeps me alive and sane!

    Good food blessings to you :)

    *Top with green onion, cilantro,

  16. Kelly Cach says:

    *Oops…that last line wasn’t supposed to be included 😉

  17. Isn’t it amazing how inspiring a great kitchen space can be? This month I have posted four new recipes because I cleaned off my kitchen counters and it felt like an entirely new work space!

    My favorite recipe from the blogosphere is from “That’s So Michelle”. Her “Bang Bang Cauliflower” is really hard to beat. Everyone chowed chowed chowed on it.

    My favorite from our kitchen is a middle-of-the-week-what’s-for-dinner-oh-let’s-roast-that -butternut-squash soup. Here it is..Curry Butternut Squash Quinoa Soup

  18. Jaim says:

    That soup looks fantastic. I can’t wait to try it, but I have been making soup a lot lately and I’m afraid It’ll have to be next week.

    My go-to fast soups would be Mulligatawny, which is AWESOME and Italian wedding soup with pork meatballs. I’m always a little sad to see the seasons change since I don’t make much soup in the summer.

    That Kitchen is a doosy! Wow, lucky house sitters! We had tomato soup for lunch the other day and I thought of your cute mud soup makers. Hope you’re enjoying the weather.

  19. Melissa says:

    ha ha, we had takeout last night and then again tonight-burmese and it was delicious (:

    but before then i have been on a roll with very simple foods, steaks in the pan with just salt and pepper, roasted broccoli (in the oven on a cookie sheet with cumin seeds, olive oil, salt and pepper), and kale salad with a homemade dressing (tahini, olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper–who knows what proportions–i hear you on the intuitive cooking method).

    i think i have most of these soup ingredients and it’s supposed to rain all week here so voila, soup we shall have! thanks for the recipe and the tales from your kitchen . . .those photos of you and your girls are super sweet. margot and avi make a similar concentrating face (:

  20. I had so many stinking tomatoes last year that I roasted a bunch and froze them.
    Last week, I added minced garlic, basil, salt, finely chopped onion and fresh mozzarella for an awesome brushetta.

    The weather in Michigan has been so warm and sunny, it makes me believe that summer will come again!

  21. Tina says:

    Those pictures of you helping your daughters cut potatos- ADORABLE! They seem so interested and helpful.

    You have AWEsome kids!

  22. Zoe says:

    This looks delicious! I don’t do sweet potatoes, but I think this might work with regular potatoes or butternut squash. Will definitely have to add coconut milk to my pantry staples now.

  23. Luisa says:

    This looks absolutely yummy!! We have a yummy sweet potato soup that I make and sometimes freeze.

  24. Jean says:

    As I read this I am doing the same thing–throwing things in a pot for dinner to see what happens. I just tasted it and WOW knocked my own socks off! You don’t have to ask what’s in it–everything’s in it.

  25. Love putting sweet potatoes in soups/stews. My go to this winter has been a butternut squash-sweet potato soup made up the same as yours(see what ya got and throw it in)
    butternut squash peeled, cut in
    big pieces
    sweet potato same as above
    garlic 5 cloves just peeled
    2-3 celery stalks sliced
    3-4 carrots peeled and sliced
    olive oil
    veggie broth
    to taste add sage, thyme, salt, pepper

    In large soup pot saute onion,garlic,carrots and celery in olive oil over medium heat until onion starts to get transparent

    Add squash and sweet potato, cover until veggies start to soften careful not to burn

    Add veggie broth just to cover veggies, seasonings and simmer until very tender.

    Scoop out the chunks of squash and potato and don’t forget the garlic too! and puree in a blender until smooth, adding broth as needed to help it along.

    Return to pot and bring back to simmer adding more broth if needed to obtain consistancy you desire.

    You could puree the whole batch, but I like the chunks of celery, onion and carrots with the creaminess of the puree.

    Also love avocados, organic cocoa powder and agave nectar thrown in a food processor, adding more cocoa/agave until you get the chocolate/sweetness ratio you like.
    A very rich pudding my kids will fight over and they don’t even know it’s good for them.

  26. KWQR says:

    Made this last night for dinner… except I didn’t have any onion so I used leeks, and only had one sweet potato so I threw in a couple yellow and somehow we were out of garlic so I used ginger… um and then while it was cooking my boys decided to go feral & baby needed to be fed & let’s just say it does mush if you cook it too long! Thankfully the flavors are delish & when you call it sweet potato rissotto it still works for dinner just fine. :-)

  27. I could cook anything in that beautiful kitchen… I just love all the color!!!! Gonna try your stew… sounds mighty good on a cold MT night (sure we still have plenty left this year)!

  28. FinnyKnits says:

    That’s going on my board of “Food I should make” – mostly because of the inclusion of coconut milk and sweet potatoes: awesome goodness.

    It just so happened that I made corned beef and cabbage for the first time last night to bring to a neighbor’s St Patty’s Day potluck and MAN was it good! It was this simple crop pot recipe that called for beer, so we used one of Bubba’s recently brewed Irish Reds and DANG it was awesome. Today – corned beef sandwiches on bolillo rolls with red cabbage and grainy mustard.

    Good times – even though I’m about as far from Irish as a person can get.

  29. Amy says:

    Oh my, everything about this post is delicious! I think I have to try both the stew and the pudding!
    My favorite thing to whip up right now is
    chopped cucumber
    thrown a few tbsps of soy sauce on them
    add about, maybe, 1/2tsp-ish of sesame oil and a dash or two of rice vinegar
    add sesame seeds
    YUM! Best snack ever!
    You can find the original recipe at

  30. Becky says:

    Oh yum!!! Share more please!!! Love seeing what youveat with the kids ! Will be trying this! Are you vegetarians?

  31. @Becky, We aren’t vegetarian but we eat very little meat. We eat game harvested by my uncle, buy chickens from a Hutterite colony north of here and buy into a pig and cow every year.

  32. @finny, crock pot corned beef! Love it. And that your Bubba is brewing beer!

  33. T-Dubya says:

    One of my favorite go-to meals is so simple but so great! Shredded carrots, chopped celery and shredded chicken topped with “The Yellow Dressing.”
    The Yellow Dressing:
    12 oz Flax Oil
    4-6 oz Water
    Juice of 4-6 lemons
    1tblsp mustard
    3-4tblsp Braggs
    2 tblsp Sesame Tahini

    Blend all – you can add honey for a sweetener, less water etc. Whatever you want! And it freezes well!!
    It’s my favorite dressing of all time and everyone always asks for the recipe when they leave!!

  34. We almost always have all these ingredients on hand, thanks! I always love your recipes–easy and quick…and DELISH! Can’t wait to try this one.

  35. emily mcd says:

    I made the stew tonight for my mom, husband, and 16 month old. It was amazing and everyone lapped it up! The recipe made plenty to freeze for leftovers. This is a new favorite! Thank you!!!

  36. BTW, the stew was awesome, especially the second day. Ok, here’s one of my favorites that can be made all on the top of your stove. It’s so good my husband asked if it was Kosher to lick the plate. I usually serve it with Jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.



    Chicken Breasts with Red Thai Curry Peanut Sauce:

    4 boneless skinless chicken breast, lightly pounded thin, tenders removed
    1 T. Chopped ginger
    1/2 T. chopped garlic
    1/4 natural smooth peanut butter
    2 T. Rice Vinegar
    1 T. Soy Sauce
    1 T. Mirin
    3/4 t. red Thai curry paste
    1-2 T. Water
    Kosher Salt & Pepper
    2 T. Canola oil or Coconut Oil
    1/2 C. Unsweetened Coconut Milk
    3 T. Minced Cilantro

    In a food processor, combine, ginger, garlic, peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, half of the curry paste, and water. Process until smooth. Taste to check the heat level and add the remaining curry paste if you wish.

    Season chicken with salt and pepper. Set a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add 2 of the chicken breast and cook until nicely browned, 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter. Repeat with the remaining chicken, adding more oil if necessary.

    Reduce the heat to low and add the coconut milk and the peanut sauce to the skillet. Stir to combine and heat through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add cilantro. Drizzle sauce over chicken, jasmine rice, and broccoli.

  37. HAS says:

    I made this on Saturday for a lunch. It was absolutely delicious! While we ate our first bowls, I accidentally left the soup cooking….and yes, indeed, it turned into a big pile of mushy rice and potatoes. But the second bowl was good, too!
    FYI, I used 6 cups of water…(I think you couldn’t remember how much water you added).

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! I love all the recipes I have tried from your blog.

  38. Tried this recipe a couple nights ago…amazing! I didn’t have celery, so I used cauliflower, and I used a whole package of frozen spinach! I also added a shake of cayenne and a squeeze of lime (right before serving). Unfortunately we had a last minute guest for whom we had to wait a bit, so it turned into more of a rice dish casseroley thing instead of stew,but it was still sooooo delicious. Thank you!

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