This post was supposed to be a cocktail. Something springlike and sparkling because we just bought a house. And, well, it’s worth celebrating. The problem is it’s 45° and raining, I’m leaving on another 10-day trip to Latin America in 36 hours, and the idea of packing and moving and fixing all of the things in the house that need fixing has my brain in overdrive. Don’t get me wrong – I’m excited and I know this is a huge milestone – it’s just all a little overwhelming right now. So a cocktail, however springlike and celebratory, is not what I needed today. What I needed was something comforting, energizing, nourishing, and whole. Something to warm me up and keep me focused. Like this soup.
This soup, which is lightly adapted from Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon, is healthy soul food (because another thing I need right now is to be especially careful about what I put in my body). It’s based on a mixture of gently spiced sweet potatoes and coconut milk, served with a few spoonfuls of crisped black lentils to give it more staying power. I followed the original recipe fairly closely, only adding the step of roasting the sweet potatoes for a bit more sweetness and depth, and serving the whole thing over a bowl of brown rice for extra body. The flavors in this are balanced just right – I often find vegetable purees too spicy or too one-dimensional, but this uses a good amount of fresh ginger, and just a touch of turmeric and curry powder. You can taste the coconut but it doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors, and the soup has a good body. It’s a keeper. And despite the fact that it’s the first day of June and Sweet Potato Soup sounds like something you should make in October, it’s exactly what I want to eat right now.
I promise I’ll tell you all about the house soon. In fact, you might even get tired of hearing about it, given that we’re planning on remodeling practically everything, and I’m sure I’ll be coming here to share our victories and challenges. And maybe later this summer – once we have some furniture and a place to enjoy a cocktail – we’ll get to that festive, sparkling drink.
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Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk with Brown Rice and Lentils
Slightly adapted from Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon. Serves 6.
- 2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
- 2 TBS olive oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 3 TBS coconut oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 TBS curry powder
- 2 TBS freshly grated ginger (from a 1 inch piece of ginger)
- 4 c. vegetable or chicken broth
- 3/4 c. orange juice
- 1 c. coconut milk
- 2 large shallots, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 c. cooked black lentils
- 3 c. cooked brown rice
- yogurt, for serving
- fresh minced cilantro, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Melt 2 TBS of the coconut oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the turmeric, curry powder, and ginger and saute until fragrant, 2 minutes more. Add the roasted sweet potato and broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 2o minutes, then remove from heat and carefully transfer to a blender. Add the orange juice and coconut milk and blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set soup aside.
- In a small frying pan, melt the remaining 1 TBS of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and saute until crispy, another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Scoop a 1/2 cup of brown rice into each bowl. Pour soup over the rice, then top with lentils, yogurt, and cilantro.