Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Greens

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Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Greens | A Couple Cooks

Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Greens | A Couple Cooks

Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Greens | A Couple Cooks

Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Greens | A Couple Cooks

With the coming of the new year, Alex and I have been talking about new ways to approach this space. I don’t think either of us would have imagined when we started that we’d still be creating and photographing recipes 3 1/2 years later. On top of that, this space has become more than just the photographs and recipes; it’s about building relationships, becoming connected to a community, writing about our passion for whole foods, home cooking, sustainability, philanthropy, fair trade.

What’s up for 2014? This year, we want to challenge ourselves in all arenas: recipe development, photography, and content presentation. We want to start to try to present recipes and ideas in more cohesive ways, versus simply a “random stream” of recipes. We want to produce thoughtful, whole foods recipes that are wholesome and accessible, that can fit into your everyday life in the way that they fit into ours. (Trust us, we’re as guilty as you are of making a healthy recipe one night and then eating popcorn or cereal for dinner the next.) We want to stretch ourselves in our photography, to convey a mood that inspires you to try the recipe yourself.

With that, we bring you our content for the week: two hearty soups. We’ve spent a few weeks testing and honing and tweaking, and we’ve come up with two of our favorite soups, suitable for a weeknight meal or an evening entertaining friends. Our first soup is a peanuty, sweet potato soup served with harissa, a North African red pepper sauce that adds a rainbow of flavor to the dish. (It’s not so much spicy as flavorful, if you buy the mild variety as we did). With some nourishing greens and crunchy peanuts, it’s a tasty way to get a variety of nutrients to help fight off the winter blues.

In a few days, we’ll share our second soup (teaser in the graphic above).


Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Greens

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 4 to 6


You can substitute kale or chard for the spinach in this recipe; just cook the soup until the greens are tender (kale and chard take slightly longer to cook than spinach). Harissa is a North African chili sauce that brings an integral flavor profile to the soup. Ours was a purchased mild red pepper harissa; spicy blends are also available if you’re looking for additional heat.


  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 4 cups packed spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Mild harissa
  • 1/2 cup crushed peanuts


  1. Dice 1 onion and mince 3 cloves garlic. Peel the sweet potatoes, then slice them into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Wash the spinach and thinly slice the leaves; reserve.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft.
  3. Stir in 1/4 cup tomato paste, 1/4 cup peanut butter, garlic, 1 teaspoon turmeric, and 1 teaspoon cumin, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add sweet potatoes, 4 cups vegetable broth, and 1 1/2 cups water. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 to 25 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender.
  5. Once sweet potatoes are soft, blend the mixture with an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender). Stir in ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Bring soup back to a simmer, and stir in the spinach leaves. Heat until wilted (about 1 minute).
  6. To serve, garnish with a dollop of harissa and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.


Adapted from Vegetarian Times



  • Reply
    January 12, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Mmm, I can already tell that this soup would be so warm and cozy! And yes please, I’ll take any suggestions for fighting the winter blues!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    This is such a flavor and gorgeous soup! Peanut based soups are my favorite and i think that sweet potatoes complement it so well! I need to order some Harissa!

  • Reply
    Sarah Toasty
    January 13, 2014 at 12:46 am

    This looks so good! I love harissa and I never have enough ways to use it, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 4:31 am

    You guys are so amazing + inspiring; I can’t wait to see all of the delicious recipes that you’re going to have for us this year! I so like your balanced and realistic approach to eating – it never feels like you’re preaching but your enthusiasm for whole foods is infectious. Plus you’ve really upped the bar recently with your photography; love the shots in this post and I loved the oatmeal ones too.

    • Reply
      January 13, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Thank you so much, Kathryn! That is so kind of you to say. All of those things are what we’ve been really striving towards lately, so it means a lot to hear it is coming across. Thank you for all of your kind comments and friendship – you truly help keep us going.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    January 13, 2014 at 8:08 am

    This is such a fun, unique, soup! Love it!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 9:34 am

    This soup looks delicious! Savory, sweet, spicy, crunchy… It has it all. And what a pleasant surprise to see our Harissa – Mina being used : ) Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe and beautiful photos!

    • Reply
      January 13, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      We loved the harissa! So glad that we could highlight your product!

      • Reply
        January 13, 2014 at 6:58 pm

        Thanks again Sonja! Brilliant job : )

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I love soup and this looks fantastic. Was not aware you could purchase mild harissa, good to know. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Lisa in Indy
    January 13, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Sweet potatoes are peeled, right? Can you get harissa at Trader Joe’s?
    The soup looks hearty and yummy. I will definitely make this. Thank you!

    • Reply
      January 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      You’re correct — noted in the recipe! Not sure whether harissa is available at Trader Joe’s, but it seems like a product they would carry. We got ours at Fresh Market. Hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    January 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    i need to buy some harissa paste.

  • Reply
    Anna @ Bashful Bao
    January 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I just picked up a can of harissa, what great timing. This soup looks amazing and I love all the flavors–can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    This soup sounds so good! I am a big proponent of peanuts & spice with sweet potato, so you know this is exactly up my alley. :)

  • Reply
    Lindsey (dolly and oatmeal)
    January 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Lovely post, looking forward from what’s in store going forward! This soup sounds (and looks) so darn yummy, and the photos are gorgeous!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Can’t wait to see what you two cook up in 2014. Also can’t wait to have a very very very very very very very overdue dinner in your fancy kitchen. ;)

  • Reply
    January 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    I love the composition of the first photo! I can’t wait to be transported away to Northern Africa by this recipe. I agree with Kathryn – your approach is so lovely and inspiring. Thank you!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    What beautiful photographs. This soup looks delicious!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight- Very tasty! I love sweet potato soups, and this was a delicious new spin, with the spicy harissa and creamy peanut butter (although, I used almond butter). Rich, warm and hearty. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    LOVE this recipe and photos. Just started experimenting with harissa and it’s my new favorite condiment. Making this soup this weekend. Thanks for another wonderful idea to use harissa!

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