Five Spice Sweet Potato Soup

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Vegan-Five-Spice-Sweet-Potato-SoupI know it’s still hot as shit outside (at least in NYC), and some of you are not pleased to be looking at soup right now. I’m sorry. Truth be told, I’m a little under the weather from last night’s shenanigans, and as I sit here pantsless in breathable attire, I very much regret the timing of this post. Soup was a bad choice.

The thing is, I made this sweet potato magic last week when I got back from Walden Pond-ing, and I figured we’d be experiencing some fall-like weather by the time I shared it. I was going to be all, “It’s getting colder, peeps! Let’s cozy up with some soup!” but now I’m sort of at a loss. You win some, you lose some.

Read about the Five Spice Sweet Potato Soup now, bookmark it for later. Yes? Yes. Please and thank you.

Vegan-Five-Spice-Sweet-Potato-Soup-2With that said, maybe you’re into soup today? Some people (aka most New Yorkers) embrace fall immediately after Labor Day regardless of the weather, and I’ve already witnessed a disturbing number of city dwellers consuming everything pumpkin spice and sweating through their new fall knits. Kim Kardashian wore a fur coat in 85-degree heat yesterday and the internet was digging it, so perhaps soup is precisely what you fall fetishists are after…

Vegan-Five-Spice-Sweet-Potato-Soup-3Personally, I plan to be all about this pot of velvety sweet potato goodness as soon as real fall arrives. Kicked up with fresh ginger and Chinese five-spice powder (which I promise you can find in the spice department of any major market), it’s warming and satisfying but not the least bit heavy. Plus, it’s one of the most idiot-proof recipes out there. Just throw everything in a pot, simmer it for a half hour or so, and puree. That’s it. Zero culinary skill required.

Vegan-Five-Spice-Sweet-Potato-Soup-4What I love most about this one pot wonder is that you can dress it up six sexy ways to Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delightful as is, but why not go to town with some festive toppings? Given the soup’s slightly Asian bent, I highly recommend trying one of the combinations pictured: Greek yogurt + bacon + scallions + cilantro OR chili oil + crushed peanuts + scallions + cilantro. Both options add a little freshness and crunch to every bite. (However, lemme know if you come up with another bomb topping combo—I love it when you get creative.)

This stuff keeps really well in the fridge and tastes even more unbelievable after a day or two, so feel free to make a pot and eat leftovers for sassy desk lunches/fuss-free dinners throughout the week. I also like it as an easy appetizer for fall dinner parties, or served with a toppings bar as a chili-alternative at your weird football gatherings. So versatile!

Vegan-Five-Spice-Sweet-Potato-Soup-6And for the record, this recipe is every bit as nutritious as it is delicious. It happens to be vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and Dude Diet-friendly (so it’s got major crowd-pleasing potential), but more importantly, it’s packed with health benefits. I’ve already fangirled over the wonders of sweet potatoes one too many times, so I’ll keep it short and just give you a little refresher today. Sweet potatoes contain a laundry list of vitamins and minerals, blood sugar-regulating and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and a ton of beta-carotene. The latter is particularly exciting, as it boosts your immune system, improves vision, lowers your risk of heart disease and cancer, and, more importantly, does amazing things for your skin. God knows we could all use a little extra glow as we make the difficult transition into fall.

Get on this.

Five Spice Sweet Potato Soup: (Serves 4-6)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots (2-3 medium carrots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons grated or finely minced ginger
5 cups cubed sweet potatoes (about 1 very large or 2 medium sweet potatoes)
1¼ teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
For serving: (optional)
Greek yogurt
Crumbled bacon
Chopped Peanuts
Thinly sliced scallions
Freshly chopped cilantro

Preparing your Five Spice Sweet Potato Soup:

-Heat the oil in a medium Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened and translucent.

Vegan-Five-Spice-Sweet-Potato-Soup-step-1-Add the carrots, garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes until the carrots are just beginning to soften and the garlic is fragrant.

Vegan-Five-Spice-Sweet-Potato-Soup-step-2-Add the sweet potatoes, five spice, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute more.

Vegan-Five-Spice-Sweet-Potato-Soup-step-3-Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30-35 minutes until the sweet potatoes are very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Vegan-Five-Spice-Sweet-Potato-Soup-step-4-Now it’s time to purée the soup! You can do this with an immersion blender if you have one or using a regular blender. (If you use a regular blender, make sure you remove the cap in the lid, and plug that hole with a dishtowel before you start blending to prevent hot soup explosions.) Return the soup to the pot (if necessary). Taste and season with a little extra salt or cayenne if necessary.

Vegan-Five-Spice-Sweet-Potato-Soup-8-Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fancy toppings of your choice.


I’m thrilled to be a part of Food Network’s Fall Fest today. For more fabulous fall soup ideas, check out the blogs below.

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chilled Spiced Peach Soup
Red or Green? Spiced Vegetable Soup with Lentils & Garbanzo Beans
Feed Me Phoebe: Portuguese Kale Soup with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes
The Mom 100: Avgolemono Soup
The Lemon Bowl: Red Lentil Turkish Soup
The Heritage Cook: Soul-Warming Tomato Soup with Peppers and Onions (Gluten-Free)
Healthy Eats: 6 Healthy Soups for the First Tailgate of the Season
Domesticate Me: Five Spice Sweet Potato Soup
Taste with the Eyes: Chicken Soup with Exotic Saffron Matzoh Balls
FN Dish: It’s Almost Spoon Season: Top Classic Soups to Simmer Now

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  1. Mimi on September 18, 2015 at 7:13 am

    Great looking soup. But I especially love the topping assortment!

    • Serena_Wolf on September 18, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you, Mimi!

  2. Dixya Bhattarai RD on September 17, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    i love sweet potato anything so this is going to happen when the weather goes below 80F in Texas. Pinning it for later 🙂

    • Serena_Wolf on September 18, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Please God let it cool down soon. It was 85 degrees again today, and I may die.

  3. Kate on September 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I’m really trying to get on the sweet potato bandwagon lately, so I’m obvi going to give this a try! (once it stops being 80 degrees…call me a traditionalist, but it’s not fall until it’s after September 21st and it’s cool enough for pants.)

    • Serena_Wolf on September 18, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      I agree with you on the fall front–let’s milk summer for one more week. Also, if you need some sweet potato inspo to help you onto that bandwagon try the sweet potato burrito bowl from the archives…

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