Sunday, 5 May 2013

Sweet, Sweet Potato Soup

After I made some delicious sweet potato-tuna cakes with my buddy Sam, I had a few of the gorgeous orange beauties left that I was not sure what to do with. Mash them? Too boring! Fry them? Too messy! And then I remembered this recipe, spotted on Post Punk Kitchen a few weeks back. Full of ingredients I love, easy, elegant and exotic all at once... It was too tempting to pass up!

Quebec weather being what it is, we had to endure a disgusting mid-April snow storm, and I suddenly wanted a warm, comforting soup to help me recover from yet another spring false-start (last time that happened, I also made soup... I guess my maniacal soup making is a seasonal affective disorder symptom!). Since this one is spicy, sweet and bright orange, it was a lovely bowl of sunshine as we waited for Mother Nature to finally make up her mind and let us shed our winter coats for good!

From Post Punk Kitchen, adapted by me!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced medium
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 lime, juiced

Preheat a 4-quart soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions in oil with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes, until translucent.

Add ginger and red pepper flakes, and sauté another minute or so.

Add sweet potatoes, veggie broth and salt and pepper.

Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat a bit to a slow simmer and cook until potatoes are tender – usually 5 more minutes or so. Once tender, add the vanilla beans. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Add maple syrup and lime juice and taste for salt. Add a bit of water if the soup is too thick, put back on the stove until reheated through, and serve.

Now how simple was that? And how delicious! The sweet potatoes give this soup a thick, creamy texture that is absolutely luxurious. It's so smooth and silky! I garnished it with a wedge of lime, a pinch of chili flakes and a light sprinkle of coconut flakes. Only add chili flakes if you can handle the spicy kick!

I know it seems a bit counter-instinctual to pair sweet potatoes and vanilla and maple syrup, but do not fret! The ginger and chili flakes balance out the sweet ingredients very nicely! The smell is also absolutely amazing. Spicy, sweet and comforting.

OK, I confess: I cheated and used vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean. I had no time to run to a fancy enough grocery store to get the goods, and I had very good vanilla extract (the proportion is 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for 1 vanilla bean). If you are going to be naughty like me, please, at least, get high quality, natural vanilla extract and not crappy, overly sweet artificial vanilla essence.

Despite the sweetness, this is a very healthy soup, very low in fat, and it packs a mean punch of vitamins and anti-oxidants! The texture will make it seem like a treat, but you can slurp back an extra ladle without feeling guilty.


  1. Hi, it's The Wee, muhahaha, commenting on here... Be afraid, be very afraid... (not really) On the vanilla extract vs. vanilla bean, I hear through the internet grapevine that homemade vanilla extract is crazy easy to make (same with vanilla sugar, you just need some patience), so you can be naughty without being really naughty, and know exactly what is in your jar of extract.

    1. Oooh! Good to know; I'll have to give it a try! Thank you, Wee! :-)

  2. I was looking for a grilled tofu recipe and stumbled upon your blog. How Lucky for Me! What wonderful recipes. You are officially Bookmarked. Helping to keep it weird in Portland, OR

    1. Aw! Thank you so much!! I hope you find lots of recipes to enjoy!