Nicoyan Chunky Vegetable Soup (Sopa de Yuca)

chunky vegetable soup nicoya

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This could nearly be called a stew and features not only familiar vegetables but some exotic tropical ones as well. Hearty and satisfying, this is particularly welcome during cold days—it will warm you clear through. Since this recipe is full of so many different types of vegetables, feel free to substitute with what you can find or what you have on hand. You can use only one or two different types of squash or omit the yuca if you can’t find it easily. Serve with brown rice or some crusty bread.

Yield: 8 servings

Ready in 45 minutes

Photo by David McLain


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

2 chayote squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

2 pounds yuca, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice*

3 small yellow squash or zucchini, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

3 potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

1 ayote squash**, peeled, de-seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice

4 mini sweet peppers, diced

1 celery stalk, chopped

3-4 quarts of good vegetable broth

Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in a soup pot; add onion and garlic and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot; cover and cook on low until vegetables are soft, about 30-40 minutes.
  3. Season with salt to taste before serving.

*You can substitute sweet potato or white potato if you cannot find yuca in the store.

**Ayote is a hard black squash that becomes deeply sweet and flavorful when cooked. You can substitute with butternut squash.