Deep in the archives of Liberian food recipes lies an African root vegetables recipe unlike any other. Its goodness is unknown by many and ignored by more. But the few that take the time to make this easy one pot meal can tell you that the benefits of root vegetables here are amazing. Not to mention how simple and quick this recipe is! This is… the Liberian root vegetables soup! Are you interested in learning about Africa through authentic food? Subscribe to be notified monthly about recipes and content on the African Lifestyle.
An easy one pot meal for winter
Was that introduction too dramatic for a soup? No. This soup is so quick and easy you’ll make it and be back in your still-warm blankets before you know it. Be careful not to fall back asleep from satisfaction, Liberian food recipes have that effect. Curious about a no-animal-meat food lifestyle? Peep instagram to see what I eat live😊.
But what are these mystical-sounding food products called ‘root vegetables?’ Root veggies are simply the veggies that grow underground. They are hearty and all the good stuff is stored in them to be used by the rest of the plant. Now let’s take a look at the benefits of root vegetables, as well as what makes this recipe African (did somebody say secret ingredient?)
And if you still need some extra warmth, try making this delicious chai ya mkandaa.
Benefits of the root vegetables soup:
You can add different African root vegetables, but we will look at the most common ones, with nutritional facts according to research.
- Cassava root is high in vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant and enhances immunity, among other benefits.
- Eddoes/ Taro/ Cocoyam health benefits include a good source of fibre low in sodium, rich in potassium, and containing iron.
- Carrots: have you heard the misconception that carrots can cure blindness? Well, they can’t, but the Vitamin A in them still makes them good for your eye health.
- Potatoes: They contain a lot of potassium, twice the amount found in a banana. Potassium helps your nervous system relay messages and is crucial for its health.
- Sweet potatoes: If carrots and potatoes had a baby, it would possibly be sweet potatoes. They have ‘potatoes’ in their name and lots of Vitamin A content like carrots. Research shows that one medium-sized sweet potato can meet your daily Vitamin A requirements.
Plantains are a good source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Plantain is not a root vegetable but many Liberians prefer to add it for sweetness instead of carrots which are not widely available as plantain.
Palm oil: This right here is what makes this a Liberian food recipe. As you’ll find in this dry rice recipe, Palm oil promotes the absorption of Vitamin A and contains Vitamin E. This keeps your immune system in good condition.
Root veggies are also generally good sources of fibre and complex carbohydrates. This makes them beneficial for your digestive system while keeping you energized. But be careful not to eat too much in one go, the complex carbs are stored as fat if the energy isn’t used up. Your blood sugar levels may also spike, so eat in moderation.
Fun fact: Scientists say eating a variety of colours of root veggies is good as they have different nutrients!
So why is this Liberian food recipe so unknown?
The benefits of root vegetables and this being an easy one pot meal is great. But Liberian locals have created a stigma around this delicious dish. Many see it as a poor man’s dish, like Gari. This is because it is cheap and super filling, with little effort. But why should that be seen as a bad thing? Cheap? I say convenient. Not to mention how it can feed large families and leave everyone feeling stuffed. It is also very versatile. You can make simple root vegetables soup and serve it as is or blend it for a creamier texture. Serve it with rice or croutons, or whatever else you have lying around.
Time to make use of African root vegetables
Although there are plenty of root veggies not mentioned above, such as garlic and ginger, we have given you benefits and a little background on the soup. It is time for you to GO to your garden (or local supermarket) and get the African root vegetables you need to make this amazing recipe. Can’t find one of them? You can easily swap it out for a similar root veggie. Mix and match to make your perfect combo and let us know how it turns out in the comments!
Easy Hearty Root Vegetables Soup
The few that take the time to make this easy one pot meal can tell you that the benefits of root vegetables here are amazing. Not to mention how simple and quick this recipe is! This is… the Liberian root vegetables soup!
- 2 Garlic cloves diced
- Quarter Onion diced
- 122g Seitan protein
- 1 Plantain
- 1 Cassava root
- 1/4Cup Red Palm oil
- 5 Taro/Eddo roots or 217g
- 6 peppers (optional)
- Half vege cube
- 3.5 Cups of Water
- 1.5 tsp of Salt
Peel your vegetables
- To make your root vegetables soup, start to cut your fresh cassava or Yucca in small pieces. Most Africans use their hand to drive the butcher knife into the Cassava by knocking it. Instead of using your hand to knock the knife into the cassava, you can use a heavy object. Details of this process is shown in Cassava Gravy Video tutorial.
- To peel the brown layer off-of the cassava, take your knife and carefully make a cut into the cassava shell. Once this is done, take a butter knife and proceed to peel the brown layer off. If you are new at this the butter knife should prevent issues. Next, you can cut the cassava pieces in half and remove the stem in the middle of the white part (This is optional). Be sure to cut it evenly to cook evenly.
- For the plantain, cut the tips and toss aside. Next, cut your plantain in small pieces. To remove the plantain shell, you can use a knife to peel back the outer layer or use your fingers since the plantain should be soft. Be sure to cut it evenly to cook evenly. Note, you may sub sweet potatoes instead of plantain and still reap benefits of root vegetables.
- For eddoes or taro root, use your knife to carefully peel the outer layer. Peel gently lust like you would peel potatoes. If your eddoes are small in size, no need to further cut them but if they are larger, you should cut them in chunks to cook evenly. Lastly, rinse your root vegetables.
Cook your easy one pot meal
- Place a deep cooking pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium-low. Add 3.5 cups of water to the pot. Next, add your diced onion, garlic, peppers and Veggie cub to the water. Before the mixture starts to boil, add your cleaned & peeled cassava and Eddoes to the pot. Add 1.5 teaspoons of salt and stir the root vegetables soup mixture. Do not add the plantains yet.
- Next, add your plant protein to the mixture and stir. After that, cover your pot and boil for 15 mins on med-low heat.
- After 15 mins, the cassava and eddoes would have cooked by then so add your ripe plantain chunks to the mixture. After adding the plantain, add your red palm oil and increase the amount as you like. Stir the root vegetables soup by scraping the bottom of the pot with your cooking spoon. Cassava or eddoes tend to stick to the bottom.
- After that, reduce the heat to low and cover your pot to simmer or low boil for 8 mins. Finally, your root vegetables soup would thicken up after 8 mins and the palm oil would blend nicely in this authentic Liberian food recipe. Remove the pot from the stove and let it cool. This African root vegetables soup is best served hot! Enjoy 🙂
This meal is very filling so you may want to use small quantity of root vegetables if you are the only plant-based person in your house. It keeps well in the fridge so it can be a great meal prep dish.