Sweet potato soup is equally as delicious as butternut soup, which has become a go-to favorite for many people. Once you have dug up a great crop of sweet potatoes, this is a good way to use them.
The color of the soup may vary depending on whether you use the orange sweet potatoes or the white ones that tend to cook up a bit on the creamy yellow side. Whichever type of sweet potatoes you use, orange, white or purple the soup will be super healthy and tasty.
Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A, and Vitamin B5. The B vitamins help convert carbohydrates to glucose. A study conducted in Taiwan indicates that white fleshed sweet potatoes had a positive influence on insulin levels in mice, and could be used in human diabetes management.
They are also high in magnesium, which traditional medicine practitioners believe can lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, although this study gave inconclusive results.
This study found that sweet potato together with other anti-inflammatory food items like blueberries, contributed to lower inflammation levels in people with diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Purple sweet potatoes also contain anthocyanins – an anti-oxidant that was shown in test tube studies to slow down the rate of growth of cancer cells responsible for breast, colon, stomach, and bladder cancer.
To add to the health benefits of this soup, the carrots in the recipe not only add to the golden color, but are rich in beta carotene.
The body converts beta carotene into Vitamin A, helping with vision, the immune and reproductive system and the efficient functioning of the lungs, heart, and kidneys among other organs. So now you know the benefits of sweet potato and carrot soup.
Altering the various herbs and spices you add to the soup can create a variety of flavors depending on who you are making it for. Some people like a soup with a bit of a chili bite to it, while others may prefer less heat and more basil or garlic.
The recipe here is for a soup delicately flavoured with garlic and basil. I used the dwarf Greek basil which is ideal for growing in a container as it retains is round shape and doesn’t get larger than 8 inches / 20 cm high and 8 inches / 20 cm across. It has tiny little leaves that are full of flavor.
By all means uses Thai or other basil varieties, if that is what you have growing in your herb garden.
This recipe produces a sweet potato soup that is smooth, thick and creamy, gently spiced with garlic and basil. It’s totally up to you if you want to add some chilli powder to rev up the taste.
Soup is not a matter of simply boiling stuff together – otherwise the greyish bowl of liquid may remind people of movies they have seen of 19th Century boarding schools, orphanages, or penitentiaries.
We all know the truth of the saying, “We eat first with our eyes” – attributed to a Roman food connoisseur who lived in the First Century. When it comes to images of food, simply seeing them gets our tastebuds going, and I hope the images here convince you to make this easy vegetarian soup.
When it comes serving, I like to add color – the thick earthy orange colored soup is served with a swirl of cream to provide a little white contrast, some finely chopped pieces of red roasted pepper laid gently on the surface, and the bowl sprinkled with the fresh finely chopped cilantro, to create a beautiful palette of color.
Some people like to add crumbled feta cheese, others toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for a bit of crunch, or even a few chopped walnuts. I like having the soup with toasted, or fresh-from-the-oven homemade bread, spread with farm butter.
Feel free to substitute the extras, but the basics you need to make the soup are the sweet potatoes, onion and carrots. I used orange sweet potatoes, simply because they were readily available.
Sweet Potato Soup Recipe
- 3 tablespoons coconut or sunflower oil
- 1 brown onion large
- 3 sweet potatoes large, white, purple or orange skinned
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 3 tablespoons Greek basil chopped
- 2 carrots sliced into coins
- 150 ml double cream
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4 cups water
- salt to taste
- cracked black pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup milk or more if you require a soup that is less thick
- Peel and chop sweet potato and onion into chunks.
- Place 2 tablespoons coconut oil or sunflower oil into a Dutch Oven over medium heat.
- When oil is hot, add the onion and crushed garlic and fry until the onion is translucent and just turning golden, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn.
- Remove onion/garlic mix from the Dutch oven and set aside.
- Add the sweet potato chunks and carrot coins, and fry, turning them when they start looking roasted. You may need to do this in two batches if there isn’t enough room in the Dutch oven.
- Once all the sweet potatoes are looking lightly browned on the outside, add them all back into the Dutch oven together with the onion.
- Add the salt, pepper, paprika, fresh basil, and chili powder if you are using chili.
- Fry for another 5 minutes, stirring, taking care not to burn any parts of the vegetables until the spices release their flavors.
- Add 4 cups of water, place the lid on the Dutch oven, turn the heat to low, and leave to simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
- While the soup is cooking chop the red bell pepper into thin strips length wise, discarding pips and white inner part.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat with a little coconut or sunflower oil, and fry gently at a medium low heat, turning often until the peppers release their natural oil.
- Turn heat to low, and allow to continue cooking, stirring occasionally, then set aside for serving, when cooked through to a soft red, and the skin is a little blackened.
- Use a stick blender to blend the soup to a creamy consistency, or pour into a jug blender in two to three batches.
- Add the milk to get the right consistency, then return the soup to the Dutch oven to keep warm until ready to serve.
How to Serve
- Swirl in a tablespoon of double cream
- Add a twist of black pepper.
- Lay some stir fried red pepper gently on the top.
- Finish with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
- If you really want to be a little decadent add some crumbled feta cheese.
- Toast some homemade bread and butter it to serve on the side, or if the bread is fresh out of the oven there is no need to toast it – just slice and serve.
Jeanie is an avid camper and a cook. She likes to do pioneer recipe sin particular, and any other type of survival food that our great-grandfathers loved.