Creamy Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Soup

January 24, 2018

We're inching into spring now, but all I want to eat while it's still cold and dark is some cozy soup. I shared a version of this a couple of years ago and adapted it for autumn and winter vegetables shortly after. It's a cozy cold weather soup made with sweet potato (or carrots, or pumpkin, or all three), coconut milk, tomatoes, red lentils, and lots of spices. I like to make a big batch of this soup and freeze leftovers in jars for whenever I don't have time or just don't feel like cooking. It freezes really well and I almost always have a jar or two sitting in the freezer. It's smooth and velvety, even with my old stick blender, and you really wouldn't know that there are lentils in it. I make this all the time when I'm tight for time and we'll have it with brown rice or a slice of sourdough. About the toppings - it's nice to add a little colour and texture to break up the creaminess because otherwise the soup can get a little overwhelming on its own. I often serve it with rye croutons, or sunflower seeds and parsley, but this iteration is my favourite. The ruby pomegranate adds some brightness and acidity along with the beautiful colour. 

Graham always wants this when he feels a cold coming on, and I usually make it if either of us is sick. It's not so spicy that it hurts a sore throat but enough ginger and garlic to help a cold and make your nose run. I think the first time I made this I just threw all the stuff I had in the pantry in, but it does make good use of pantry staples that people often have in the house. It's definitely one of my "shit I have no food" meals! Especially because the orange vegetable is flexible and it tastes great no matter which one you use, but sweet potato is my favourite. For the soup in the photos I ended up combining carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato that I already had roasted in the fridge. I didn't have enough of only one but all three were just right. It's super easy to throw together, and you just have to taste it after blending to make sure it's right. I sometimes end up adding an extra splash of apple cider vinegar if my veggies were particularly sweet and it's always important to check soup when it's done cooking to make sure it has enough salt.

Real talk - I totally bought that purple radish just because I liked the colour and put it on the soup also because of the colour. Turns out it tastes great! I loved the sharpness in combination with the creamy soup. If you hate radish, the seeds and pomegranate are probably enough. I sometimes eat it just with brown rice and that's tasty too.

Creamy Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Soup
Makes about 1.5 litres of soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes (600 grams), chopped into 3cm chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
400 gram can tomatoes*
400ml full-fat coconut milk
500ml / 2 cups water or vegetable stock
200 grams / 1 cup red lentils*

Optional toppings:
Pomegranate arils
Pumpkin seeds
Hemp hearts
Radish, very thinly sliced

Heat a large pot over medium heat with the coconut oil. Add the onion and cook for two minutes, until it starts to soften and brown slightly. Add the sweet potato and cook for another 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Stir in the garlic and spices, cook for an additional minute, then pour in the apple cider vinegar, stir, and add the tomatoes, coconut milk, and water.

Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a rolling boil. Add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils and sweet potato are soft. Blend with a stick blender until very smooth. Taste and season as needed, then top with your desired toppings and serve hot. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to three days and freeze well.

1. The sweet potato can be replaced with an equal amount of carrots or pumpkin, or a combination.
2. If your canned tomatoes are slightly more or less, that's fine. Just use a standard can of tomatoes.
3. Soak the lentils beforehand if you can - it makes them easier to digest. Rinse them well at minimum.

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