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).Print
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- To serve, garnish with a dollop of harissa and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
Adapted from Vegetarian Times