Sweet potato & pepper soup
Sweet potato & red pepper soup
This is everything a soup should be – rich, creamy (while still dairy-free) and thick enough to scoop up with a hunk of fresh bread. It’s also naturally vegan and gluten free! Serve in large bowls or mugs topped with a swirl of dairy-free yoghurt or a handful of pine nuts and spices.
PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOK TIME: 15 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 25 MINS
I once tried to make this recipe about 4 years ago in my small university kitchen. Unfortunately – as things often do when you improvise a recipe with budget-grade equipment – it ended in disaster.
Things started going downhill as I hacked away at a mass of huge sweet potato with a totally inadequate blunt kitchen knife. Then it took a substantial turn for the worse when I tried to season the very bland soup with some ground pepper. The lid of the offending pot popped off after a particularly vigorous shake, dumping about 5 tablespoons of the stuff into the pan.
After scooping out as much as I could, the watery vegetable disaster still tasted like a dose of peppery tear gas, so I gave the project up for lost.
Good soup 101 – don’t skip the stock cubes
Despite this setback, I am happy to report that after 4 years of nursing my injured pride, my second attempt was a resounding success. So good, in fact, that this might possibly be the best soup I’ve ever made.
The key to this is adding a healthy serving of vegetable stock. This recipe uses 1.5 gluten-free stock cubes, crumbled up in 500ml hot water. The herbs and saltiness add a whole other layer on top of the mild sweetness of the potato and peppers.
It also means that you don’t have to risk dumping a whole jar of pepper in it – or overdoing any other spice while you’re at it. As far as my amateur culinary appreciation goes, a stock cube adds a perfect balance of extra flavouring, so that you don’t really need to add anything else.
Sweet potato soup is incredibly easy to make – just chop up your veg and cook it in some stock for 15 minutes, then blend it all together. Here’s a full breakdown:
Cut the vegetables up small – unless you don’t mind waiting around for 40 minutes while the mixture softens. Try to cut them up into very small chunks – particularly the sweet potato, as it takes the longest to cook.
Sauté in some oil first – before you add any liquid, gently fry the onion, peppers and potato in some olive oil for about 5 minutes. This gives them some extra flavour rather than just boiling them to death
Add the vegetable stock – as per the above, this is an essential ingredient for bringing out the flavour in this soup
Simmer for 10-15 minutes – the potato chunks should be soft when you scoop out a couple and prod them with a knife
Blend together – at this stage, you’ll have a slightly mushy vegetable stew. Take the pan off the heat and use an electric hand-held blender to carefully pulse the mix until you have a nice thick soup consistency
Serve with an optional garnish – I like sprinkling some pine nuts and a dollop of dairy-free yoghurt on top. Other options could include scattering over some fresh herbs and a few spoons of sour cream. If you’re not on a reduced-carb diet, serving it with some decent gluten-free bread is a must.
Is it healthy?
This sweet potato & pepper soup is pretty high on the scale of healthy eating. It’s very low in fat and is much less carbohydrate-dense than bread or pasta. It has some protein and fibre in it, thanks to the vegetables, as well as loads of vitamin A & C.
Sweet potato is also stuffed full of antioxidants, which combat inflammation caused by harmful free radicals in your body. While they do contain some sugars, they are a slow-release carbohydrate, making them a low-glycaemic food. All in all, they’re a filling superfood that boosts weight loss and maintenance diets alike.
Once cooled (within about 2 hours of removing from the heat), make sure to refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container. Leftover soup will last in the fridge for up to 6 days. Reheat by placing in a microwave-safe bowl and heating for around 60-90 seconds on medium-high power.
Unlike normal sweet potato soup, which doesn’t freeze well due to its cream & dairy content, you can freeze this version once it has cooled. Place in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months.
To thaw out, place in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the microwave or stovetop as you would normally. While you can reheat from frozen, you will likely end up overcooking the vegetables due to the increased additional cooking time.
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! If you’ve tried it out and liked it, I would be so grateful if you could support me and my blog by giving it a quick rating!
Sweet potato & red pepper soup
- Large saucepan
- Food blender / hand blender
- 450 g (3 cups) sweet potato, peeled
- 2 large bell peppers
- 1 red onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 vegetable stock cubes
- Chop the onion, sweet potato and pepper into very fine chunks of approx. 1cm. Tip into a large saucepan, add the olive oil and fry for 5 minutes on a high heat, stirring continuously to make sure the vegetables don't burn
- Turn the heat down low and prepare the vegetable stock. Boil 500ml water in a kettle or on the hob and pour into a measuring jug. Break the stock cubes up into rough chunks and add them into the hot water, stirring until all the lumps have dissolved
- Pour the stock over the vegetables and put a lid over the pan. Turn up the heat to a medium level and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potato chunks are soft when prodded with a knife
- Remove the pan from the heat and using an electric hand-blender, gently pulse the stew until it has formed a thick, smooth soup consistency. Alternately, pour the contents of the pan into a free-standing food mixer and pulse until smooth
- Serve in large bowls topped with pine nuts, a sprinkle of dried spices and a generous swirl of yoghurt, with thick slices of bread on the side (not included in calorie information)