Vegetable Stew with Cilantro Pesto

Source: Micki Seibel, March 2013

Source: Micki Seibel, March 2013

I had a Mayan Vegetable Stew at the Sojourner Cafe in Santa Barbara. Not only was the stew fantastic, but the cilantro pesto that topped it was superb. This recipe is my attempt to recreate this fabulous dish from the Sojourner.

The Cilantro Pesto is in the next post. Stay tuned. The amounts given here are enough to make stew for 6. It’s very filling!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 medium carrots, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced on the bias
  • 2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced on the bias
  • 2 medium yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes (do not drain the juice)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 limes
  • 1 14oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups chopped green cabbage
  • Enough corn tortillas for 2 per person


  1. Heat the oil in a 6 quart pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, and cayenne, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the potatoes, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes.
  4. Add the broth, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  6. Add the beans and the juice of the two limes. Cook an additional 10 minutes to heat the beans through stirring occasionally.
  7. Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium high heat. Place a tortilla in the hot pan and drizzle with lime juice. Heat each side for 2 minutes. Keep toasted tortillas warm in a tortilla holder or on a plate wrapped in a cloth napkin.
  8. To serve, place a handful of cabbage at the bottom of a bowl, add vegetable stew, sprinkle with the parsley and basil, and top with a heaping teaspoon of cilantro pesto.

How Not To Screw It Up

Since tonight is the first time that I made this, feel free to try it yourself and tell me the pitfalls.

  1. Don’t overcook the vegetables. This stew only needs to cook long enough to heat and soften the vegetables. Overcooking makes mushy veggies. Yuck.

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