Thursday, January 03, 2013

the best soup i've ever made


West-African Inspired Vegan Soup: Creamy, spicy comfort
Thank goodness the holidays are over. Now begins the "grey season," when short days, cold weather, and bad moods [perhaps due to vitamin D deficiencies?] replace the colorful, twinkling decorations. Le sigh. Let's hear it for comfort food.

Most people tend to make the same soups over and over, and I'm no exception. "Cream of [Insert Vegetable Here]" is my personal specialty. But last night after the post-holiday exhaustion and putting in an 11-hour work day, I craved something spicier and richer. Something that didn't taste like dull, dark winter in the Northeastern United States. So I threw together this easy West African-inspired soup.

A healthy dollop of peanut butter infuses this soup with a creamy earthiness, while poblano peppers, ginger and warming spices add some zing. It's also infinitely modular. You can substitute any starchy veggie for the sweet potato, any leafy green for the spinach, less pepper or another variety for the poblano, and any nut butter for the peanut butter. In fact, next time, I plan on making this pretty green potage using tahini instead of peanut butter.

I am not one for hyperbole, but this is seriously the best soup I've ever made. I hope you enjoy it. Happy, healthy 2013.

Easy, West African-Inspired Soup

  • 1 tsp canola or olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded and roughly diced [Use 1 if you prefer a less spicy soup, or substitute 2 green peppers]
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups spinach, kale or chard, trimmed and lightly chopped
Serves 4-6

Heat oil in a medium soup pot. Saute red pepper flakes, onion and ginger until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add everything else except the spinach and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Toss in the spinach and cook for another 10 minutes or until wilted [If you're substituting kale, you will have to cook it longer]. Let cool slightly and carefully puree in a blender or using an immersion blender.

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9 comments:

Melomeals said...

yum!! That sounds so delicious

Vada said...

At my house we make a West African Soup similar to this, but without the kale and with beans (black and garbonzo, usually). I would also say it is one of the best soups I have ever tasted. Just recently discovered your blog and ordered your cookbook. Glad to have found you.

Abby Bean said...

Something with peanut and sweet potato has been on my agenda since it's gotten so cold; thanks!

urban vegan said...

Aw, thanks!

foodfeud said...

Well here I was all ready to make yr mediterranean hot pot soup and then along comes this "best soup" ! Decisions, decisions.... both look fantastic but I do love thick blended soups.

Andrea said...

"Two inch piece of ginger?" My kind of soup!

hoosiervegan said...

I decided I wanted a spicy, warm soup last night to help me shake the last of this cold, so I decided to try this. I used kale, since that's what I had on hand, and it turned out *amazingly well*. Thanks so much for sharing this!

urban vegan said...

I'm so glad you liked it!

Amber said...

Holy crap this soup is so good! I was skeptical about the title, and I had to make some subs based on what was on hand (tahini instead of peanut; butternut squash instead of sweet potato), but it is AMAZING! Definitely a new staple. Thanks!