Sancocho – Root Vegetable and Plantain Soup

From the cookbook Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero

Serves at least 6
Time:  About 1 hour, most of that being inactive while the soup simmers
Sancocho is a big, comforting soup that features delectable chunks of vegetables, root vegetables, even plantains—long simmered until the broth is gently thickened and rendered sweet and mild.  Whole pieces of corn on the cob make this soup visually interesting and fun to eat.


Group 1

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 hot chili pepper (optional), finely minced
1 large red onion, sliced in half and cut into 1/4-inch semicircles
1 large leek, well washed, trimmed, and sliced into thin rings
4 shallots, sliced into thin rings
6 green onions, white part separated from green, both parts chopped into 1/4-inch slices

Group 2

2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large carrot, sliced into very thin rounds, about 1/8 inch
1/2 pound cassava (yuca) root, peeled and sliced into 1-inch rounds, then into quarters
1 pound pumpkin or winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound green plantains, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 cups frozen lima beans, or chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 red ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced, or 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes
2 corn on the cob, cut into 2-inch pieces (a total of 8 to 10 pieces)
6 cups well-seasoned vegetable broth or vegetable bouillon
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

Group 3

3 tablespoons lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro


1.  In a large soup pot, heat together the ingredients in Group 1 -- olive oil, chili pepper, leek, shallots, onions, and white part of the green onions over medium-high heat (set aside green parts for later.)  Stirring, cook until the onions and leek are tender, about 6 minutes. 
2.  Add the ingredients in Group 2 -- oregano, cumin, carrot, cassava (yucca), pumpkin or winter squash, plantains, lima beans or chickpeas, tomatoes, corn, vegetable broth, thyme, and bay leaf.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and bring soup to a simmer
3.  Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the root vegetables and pumpkin are very tender. 
4.  Turn off the heat and season the soup with lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste.  Stir in the cilantro and reserved green part of the scallion before serving.  Remember to include a chunk of corn cob in each bowl of soup!

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