Warming Vegan Sweet Potato-Carrot-Ginger Soup

Sorry I missed you folks this week! I’ll be honest, I was busy this past weekend with work and otherwise engaging in a night that was not so health-filled… sometimes they happen, rendering my Sundays utterly useless! I’ll have my eyes on Facebook for photos that may need untagging…

In the meantime—since the weather here is getting close to the single-digits, it’s high time I crave the cozy comfort of warm, hearty soups. Kimchi-jiigae has been a diet staple, but my Canadian body’s still a little too babyish to handle spice like that every day—so once in a while I like to coddle it with a cup of beta-carotene goodness that gets me all goo-goo ga-ga. Not only is this soup served temperature-warm (…duh), but the fresh ginger adds a warming element, a welcome treat for all of those always-cold, vatta types like myself. Plus the sweet potatoes and carrots are full of the ABCs of goodness—plenty of vitamin A, antioxidants, and beta-carotenes.

This is about the easiest soup you can make, perfect to freeze in small batches and tuck away for warm winter lunches. I’ve cut out added sugars these last few weeks so this soup was actually quite a treat for me, with cooked carrot and yams adding a bounty of naturally-occurring sweetness—the best kind, I think.

Sunshine Soup (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil

1 cloves garlic, minced

1 thumb-sized chunk of ginger, grated

1 small onion, chopped

4 cups vegetable broth

4 small sweet potatoes, roughly chopped

4-6 large carrots, roughly chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, and any spices you might like—I added some paprika, though parsley for more of a savoury tone or nutmeg for a sweeter note would also be great. Cook a few minutes more.

Add the broth, sweet potatoes, and carrots, turn the heat up to high and bring to a roaring boil for one minute. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about a half hour.

Pour the soup into a blender (or better yet, used an immersion blender!), and puree, leaving some chunks behind for texture. If using a blender, make sure to cover the lid with a kitchen towel just in case—splatters suck, but scalding splatters can actually leave a mark! Serve steaming hot with some crusty bread and enjoy.

We’re off to Seoul for the weekend (yippee!), so next week I promise to return with some new-to-me food photos, and hopefully ideas for my own adaptations… until then!

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If at first you don’t succeed…

Mmmm, kabocha, my sweet, sweet little vegetable. (Not to be confused with kombucha.)

Kabocha goes by the alias of buttercup squash. I’d call it a cross between a sweet potato and pumpkin, but it probably wants its own identity, too. (The only place I’ve had it before buying one of my own was doused in tempura batter at sushi restaurants—you know, that unidentifiable orangeish tempura vegetable with the green rind?)

I’m only a week into this new way of eating, and mid-essay yesterday I had a big-time hankering for something sweet, and though piles of Mini Eggs and cute little Chocolate Lindt bunnies beckoned from afar, I wasn’t gonna crack.

So I cracked myself open a little organic kabocha squash.

I scooped out the guts, drizzled this orange beauty with some olive oil, sprinkled on some salt and pepper, flipped ‘er over and popped it in the oven.

Kabocha’s great because it’s high in iron (which is crucial if you don’t eat much red meat!), the bioavailable beta-carotene you need to produce vitamin a for your eyes, vitamin c (duh), and potassium (great to help your body recover from tough workouts and prevent muscle crampage).

Thinking I’d get creative for you guys and use up some leftovers threatening to rot in the fridge, I tossed it in with some garlic, onions, a few spices, some vegetable broth, some lentils, and some kale.

Sure looks pretty, don’t it!

I poured myself a hearty mug and took a sip.

BLECH! Tasteless. *Damn you cleanse food, you win again!!* The soup totally diluted the sweet flavours or the kabocha I was looking for, and clearly I got a little too impatient (read: hangry) while caramelizing the onions. Fail.

…..So then, I just scooped it out with a spoon and ate it as is. It was perfect. The end.

**Note. For good-tasting kabocha in meal form, you can do as I’ve done in the past and just cube ‘er up, and toss it in a little salad. Mine tend to always involve quinoa and kale. Any suggestions? Perhaps a soup that is based on the kabocha squash itself?