Recipe: Five-Spice Spinach & Vegetable Stew, aka “Friday Stew”

This soup/stew smacks of health. I’ve called it “Friday stew” because I basically threw in all the vegetables we had left in the fridge. Thanks to the spinach, it ended up a bright-ish green color. But don’t let that turn you off: it tastes delicious, especially with some plain yogurt (or cheese, if you’re F) stirred in.

pre-blending (leave it this way if you prefer)

pre-blending (leave it this way if you prefer)

Spiced with REWE’s Inseln der Südsee (a mixture of Chinese five-spice, chilies, ginger, cumin, coriander, green pepper grounds, lemon zest, and powdered garlic) — a gift from Maya — the soup acquires a soft spiciness with a slight tang. A squeeze of lemon at the end brightens it all up.

Feel free to make this with any combination of vegetables you have lying around. You can blend it or not; the blended texture is pleasantly thick and reminiscent of daland tastes great cold or reheated on the second and third days.

Five-Spice Spinach & Vegetable Stew, aka “Friday Stew” (makes enough to serve 5-7 people generously)


  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2-4 tbsp Inseln der Südsee OR roughly:
    • 20% Chinese 5 Spice
    • 5-10% chili powder or red pepper flakes
    • 5-10% ground coriander
    • 5-10% ground cumin
    • to taste: powdered ginger, garlic powder, salt, pepper
  • 4 carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled & roughly shopped
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 kg frozen spinach
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • for serving: plain yogurt


  • In a medium pot, boil the rice in 3-4 cups of water until it is tender, 20-40 minutes.
  • In a big pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic over medium-high heat until they begin to soften. Add the spices, stir, and cook a few more minutes.
  • Add the carrots, potato, and celery to the pot, stir and let cook for a few minutes.
  • Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the spinach and simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
  • Take the pot off the heat and puree everything using an immersion blender. If you’re using a regular blender, puree the soup in batches. Alternately, leave it chunky!
  • A few minutes before serving, stir the rice and lemon juice into the soup. Serve with a dollop or two of yogurt on top.



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