Monika’s Molecular Meals: Warm & Comforting One-Pot Sweet Potato Paleo Soup

By Monika Knapp | 9 February 2020 989 views
paleo soup

Easy & Healthy Sweet Potato Paleo Soup

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Have you ever noticed a lot of Western soups begin with the same 3 ingredients?

Onions, carrots, and celery. 

AKA “mirepoix,” this common flavor base is certainly delicious and well-balanced… though it doesn’t hold a candle to the depth and intensity that other soups from around the world have going for them, in my opinion.

(Plus, when almost every soup recipe you have starts with the same base… they all end up tasting kind of the same after a while!)

For example, another very common flavor base seen in Thai and Indian cuisine (among many others) is the combination of ginger, chiles, and garlic.

As a huge proponent of big flavors particularly when it comes to soup I’ve done my fair share of experimenting with all these different flavors.

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And while yes, some of the process of making your own pastes, powders, and spice blends can be a little time-consuming… it pays off with every spoonful of the finished product.

(Not to mention there’s usually some left over… which is an instant and exciting way to wake up anything that’s on its last legs in your fridge!)

Here’s what I’m getting at:

This is probably not the sweet potato or butternut squash soup you’re used to. And that’s a good thing.

There’s no dairy (say goodbye to brown butter and creme fraiche) and no refined sugar.

So you don’t have to worry about “ruining your diet” just to enjoy this creamy, delicious soup.

And yet, it tastes insanely indulgent… slightly reminiscent of a Thai curry, yet familiar enough to inspire feelings of nostalgia for its creamier, squashier cousin.

(If you need one more reason to make this soup, let me just say that it requires only ONE bowl. This means there’s WAY less cleanup time… which is a big win when you hate washing dishes like I do!)

Excuse me, I’m making myself hungry… I think I’ll go heat up a bowl right now! 😀

FTH’s Warm & Comforting One-Pot Sweet Potato Paleo Soup

Equipment Needed: Dutch oven or large pot; fine mesh sieve or tamis; oven or toaster oven; blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle

Recipe Time: 3 hrs 45 min (3 hours of hands-off roasting time, 45 minutes of soup cooking time)

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 large onion, peeled, halved, and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3-inch knob of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 fresh chilis, roughly chopped (preferably red, but green will work up to your personal preference)
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups coconut milk (no sugar added)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional see Recipe Notes)
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Directions:

1) Roast the potatoes.

Sweet potatoes take time to draw out the natural sugars (which is crucial for this soup especially if you’re doing paleo), so preheat your oven to 300 and throw those suckers in there right away, while the oven is still cold.

Don’t peel them, don’t rub oil on them, don’t salt them. Just wrap them in foil, throw them in the oven, and let them go. They’ll take about two hours, but you can start testing them at the 1.5 hour mark if you want.

2) While your ‘taters roast, get your mise en place together.

While your sweet potatoes get, well, sweet, it’s time to set up your mise en place.

This is a crucial step that a lot of home cooks skip which is unfortunate, because a disorganized kitchen is, in my experience, the #1 cause of silly mistakes like forgetting a crucial spice, oversalting a sauce, or letting something burn on the stove because you were too busy frantically dicing a vegetable you forgot about until the last second.

(*Ahem* Speaking from experience…)

This will also allow you to do dishes as you go! (Or delegate dishes to a willing family member/spouse.)

So first, chop off the ends of the cilantro stems, then finely dice about 2 Tbsp of the tender green stems (reserve the leaves for later).

In a mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor, add the cilantro stems, garlic, ginger, chiles, cumin, coriander, and a large pinch of salt. Pound, pulse, or blend until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Feel free to add a tablespoon or two of water if it seems especially thick (but it should be very thick, so keep that in mind).

It should smell really, really good. Set it aside so it’s ready to use.

Next, place your prepped onions and carrots in a small bowl and set aside. Then measure out your cinnamon and nutmeg, place in a small bowl, and set that aside as well.

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Measure out the broth and the coconut milk (be sure to shake the can if using coconut milk from a can!), pour into separate bowls, and set aside.

If you’re using fish sauce, get the bottle out of your pantry and have it out and ready to use.

3) When the potatoes are fully roasted and cool enough to handle, peel them and get the soup going.

After a couple of hours, your potatoes should be soft, sweet, and super roasty. Unwrap them and let them cool, and then once they’re cooled, peel them and mash them by hand (you can just leave them like that on the foil or put them in a bowl).

Place your Dutch oven or pot on the stove, add the coconut oil, and turn the heat to medium low. When the oil is shimmering, add the flavor paste.

This step is important! Do not rush it:

Saute the flavor paste for 10-15 minutes, or until it’s toffee-colored and incredibly aromatic. Add water as needed if it threatens to burn.

Add 1 Tbsp of chicken broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan, and scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Then add your onions and carrots, and saute until softened about 10 minutes.

Add the cinnamon and nutmeg, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

4) Add your potatoes and liquids, then blend it all up!

When everything is smelling nice, add the chicken broth and mashed sweet potatoes, along with about 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro leaves.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until the flavors come together, and then turn off the heat, add the coconut milk, and blend using an immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender.

Return the soup to the pot (wipe out any solids left), then add the fish sauce if using.

For a smooth, velvety texture, strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve or tamis. For a more rustic appearance, leave it as-is.

Taste and adjust for salt, add more cilantro if desired, and serve.

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Recipe Notes

  • Fish sauce is one of those ingredients that “if you know, you know.” It’s gross until you try it… and then it’s magical in everything. Yes, it definitely DOES smell like death and dirty socks! But one itty bitty teaspoon in a soup? You’ve instantly got more complexity, a savory oomph, and a little extra funk that adds some much-needed punch to what’s normally a bland and boring fall staple. The brand in my cabinet is Three Crabs, though lately I’ve been impartial to using my DIY XO sauce for funk. (That’s a post for another day though…)
  • Pro tip for handling hot potatoes? If you have latex gloves lying around the house, throw on two pairs and *bingo* heat-proof hands. To be honest, I’ve impatiently handled so many hot things in my kitchen that my hands are basically two oven mitts now, but for the less insane home cooks out there, latex gloves are a dream.

3 Surprising Health Benefits Of Ginger, Garlic & Chiles (That Most Western Diets Fail To Address)

So if you aren’t used to cooking with ginger, garlic, and chiles all that often… you might be a little put off by all the “spice.”

And honestly, I get it… but using these foods the way I described in the recipe above is not going to make your food “spicy.”

It’ll add flavor, but at the end of the day it’s all about moderation. A little bit goes a long way.

Plus, not only do these foods have flavor they’re insanely good for you too!

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According to WebMD, certain compounds in ginger help your body ward off sickness and keep the bacteria in your gut functioning properly.

Garlic is also known to be a powerful immune-booster, due to the allicin it contains.

Same goes for chiles, and capsaicin (what makes food “spicy”).

It’s not like carrots, onions, and celery are BAD for you… but adding these extra foods to your diet can really give you a healthy boost, make you feel great, and keep your appetite in check.

So, when you enjoy this tasty & comforting soup… you can know that you’re not just enjoying delicious flavor, but amazing health benefits, too!

paleo soup

The Easiest Way I Know To Beat Sugar Cravings While Doing Paleo… (Without Living On Kale)

I dated a guy a few years ago who was SO gung-ho on paleo… (I’m sure you know the type…)

But the one thing he just couldn’t seem to quit?

Sugar.

And I get it… I mean, sugar is in EVERYTHING.

Salad dressings… savory snacks and crackers… ketchup, of all things…

And there’s even sugar in sweet potatoes (even though it’s the “good” kind!).

But one trick I did discover while trying to satisfy my ex’s cravings before he turned into the “sugar monster”?

I started sneaking this paleo-friendly “sugar substitute” into his meals and snacks.

It’s actually such a perfect substitute that, for the longest time, I assumed it couldn’t POSSIBLY be paleo-friendly. I was already using it in my baking because it tasted so good.

You can imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered that it’s actually paleo-friendly… 

…and my ex seriously could not believe I wasn’t using sugar once I started cooking with it.

(Which was a win-win for us!)

Click here to see what it is, plus 2 more sneaky sugar substitutes you can get away with using on paleo.

Your family will never notice the difference! (Even that really picky eater.)

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[Note: This post was updated by Fit Trim Happy on February 9, 2020.]