Sunday, November 16, 2008

Comfort Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

This Pureed Squash and Sweet Potato Soup is a recipe from my early-vegan days, and remains one of my very favorite soups to this day. I always rely on it this time of year, it's a comforting soup perfectly suited to the colder months when winter squash and sweet potatoes are plentiful. Plus, it's simple to make, and yields fairly big batch, which means leftovers go into the freezer for another night - meaning an even easier meal to follow!

I adore soups and stews during the fall and winter. I don't know if there is a more cozy meal on cold days than a warm soup with crusty bread. As I said, this was an early recipe for me, from The Everyday Vegan. I don't post recipes from TEV often, simply because I don't have the electronic version of the final manuscript, and so posting recipes from this book requires retyping. When I made this soup again last week, though, I decided I'd take on the typing task to share it with you (ah, the sacrifices I make for you lovelies). :) So, please link through to find the recipe for this Pureed Squash and Sweet Potato Soup from TEV.

Here's a few extra tidbits about the recipe:
  • First off, the original title uses "yam" instead of "sweet potato". Oh boy, I've talked about this before in my posts... essentially in the US use what you know as sweet potatoes - the orange-fleshed tubers. In Canada, our 'sweet potatoes' are labelled as yams - either garnet or jewel yams. I know that yams mean something different in the US, but in Canada, this is what we find in our grocery stores, and then sweet potatoes are the yellow-fleshed tubers much like a garnet or jewel yam, but with a yellow (and drier) flesh. So, the short of this explanation is use the orange-fleshed tubers, whether you know them as sweet potatoes, or yams. Got that? Okay. whew. On to the next tip...


  • For this recipe, I prefer to first bake the butternut squash and sweet potatoes whole. Yep, stick 'em on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake the suckers at 4oo for about an hour or until they can all be easily pierced with a skewer. Now, depending on the sizes of squash and sweet potatoes you use, one may bake more quickly than the other. I typically find the squash bakes quicker because I use fairly large sweet potatoes. If this is the case, you can either leave them baking together (if you estimate there's not much time left in the baking for both)... or remove whichever is baked throughout, and place on a plate to start cooling. Why do I use this method? First, I find it easier to use the softened squash/potatoes than to peel and cut through so much very hard veg. Second, I like the taste roasting gives the vegetables, and also the smell it brings to the kitchen. Whenever I make it, hubby says "it smells like Christmas in here"! And it does, because I roast squash for an entirely different dish that I make for our Christmas dinner.


  • After roasting, you let the vegetables cool enough to handle, and then scoop the flesh away from the peel to add to the soup. (Bonus tip: use butternut squash - the flesh separates easily from the skin, and there are very few seeds to scrape away!) With that, you simply puree your soup with an immersion blender and you're done! (Anyone that has followed my blog knows my affection for the ever-handy immersion blender. Really, it's a must in your kitchen for pureeing soups, making salad dressings, sauces, and even smoothies. Get yourself one! You know, Santa is listening!) :)


I love this soup also for its flavors and texture. The sweet potatoes add a thick, velvety smoothness that you cannot get from the butternut squash alone. The spices are not heavy, instead they give enough of a savory balance to the sweetness of the squash and potatoes, and with notes of cinnamon and fresh ginger that are natural matches for these winter vegetables. Here it is again, with a piece of fig and fennel bread from a local bakery. Simplicity and comfort all in one. Yes, life is good with a great bowl of soup.

24 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

SWEET POTATOES!!!! **swoons**

shelby said...

Sweet Potatoes AND Squash!!!! YUMM!

Jackie said...

In South Africa they are also labeled sweet potatoes. They are great and can be used so many ways I find. Thanks for the link to the soup recipe will give it a try when the weather cooler.

Robin_newtoveganism said...

Dreena,
Thanks for all of your help. I followed your recipe and it was wonderful. I don't think the kids would have liked it without the sweet potatoes. I did use a fresh pumpkin though since it was what I had.

Robin

allularpunk said...

this soup looks amazing! so many winter squash soups on the interwebs today, it's hard to choose which one i must make for dinner!

Joanna said...

that bread looks delicious with that soup. what kind of bread is that?

the sweet potato/yam thing has always driven me nuts!

Erik said...

I never realized that they were called something different outside of Canada...this is good to know!
(I always wondered why everyone else "sweet potato soup" came out orange!)

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

I just loooove sweet potatoes and butternut squash (as obvious by my last post!). I am a huge fan of your third book - can't wait for another - ha, ha! Unfortunately, my husband does NOT like sweet dinners, so (alas!) I must eat all the delicious fall foods like these by myself ;)

Dreena said...

thanks everyone!!!

Robin, I'm glad the tips helped you out some - I agree - the addition of sweet potatoes to winter squash soups makes a huge difference! (and makes them more kid-friendly for sure)

Joanna,the bread IS delicious - and I'm a fan of both figs and the flavor of fennel, so it's an obvious favorite for me! It's a bread made a local bakery in Vancouver, called 'La Baguette'.

peace, love, and veganism... thanks so much, glad you enjoy ed&bv so much - I'm working on it, send me positive vibes! :)

Aurélie said...

Hi Dreena,

Are you sure that sweet potatoes (orange flesh) are labelled as yams throughout Canada? I'm also a cookbook author, yet I live in New Brunswick and I find that yams (white flesh) are labelled as sweet potatoes. Maybe it's different throughout Canada.

Aurelie
http://aurelieshealthycuisine.com
www.delectablevegetable.blogspot.com

Carrie™ said...

This really does look yummy, but alas, not a squash fan. I wish I was because it's in so many tasty looking dishes. I keep trying...maybe in time.

Nick said...

This looks sooooo good.

Dreena said...

Hi Aurelie, well there are definitely some exceptions to the trend. I recall when I posted about this before there was at least one place in the US where sweet potatoes are labelled 'yams' as they are here. So, I'm not surprised if there are spots in Canada that label differently as well. Interesting that in NB it is the opposite, since I remember in Newfoundland it was the orange tubers being yams and the yellow ones as sweet potatoes (I would have guessed that the Atlantic provinces might be the same). Really, we need someone to standardize it! If even for writing recipes! :)

Carrie, I want to convert you - really!! I'm not the biggest fan of squash soup on its own - I typically find it too pronounced with the winter squash flavor. So try adding the sweet potatoes... really, it makes a big difference to the flavor and texture! (I'll have to work on cashews with you next... you still don't like those, right?!)

Thanks Nick!!

Alex said...

Can vegans and carnivores live in peace & actually respect each other? Funny article that says maybe it's possible...

http://www.asylum.com/2008/11/20/shameless-carnivores-guide-to-defending-against-vegan-attacks/

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