I find it hard to really get into soups. I like meals with plenty of different flavours & textures so soup does not really satisfy me. It is fine as a starter but not a meal in itself unless it is like Harira ie, a stew. However, soups are a great opportunity to ingest lots of nutrients & fill yourself up without spending loads of money or time cooking. I have therefore been trying to make soup more satisfying by adding extra texture.
This sweet potato soup is one of my current favourites as it is really tasty & has three textures. I blend the soup to a puree & then add beans, onion seeds and roasted sunflower seeds. This means that there is variety in every mouthful. The beans add chew & the roasted seeds add crunch. I can eat a bowl of this for lunch & feel satisfied without adding bread.
It is also a good opportunity to use up any random bits of veg you have hanging around. You need a 2-3 sweet potatoes but after that just use what you have. I had a green pepper, a couple of carrots and a handful of cherry tomatoes in the fridge so that is what I used. Just make sure you don’t add so many other vegetables that the sweet potatoes get lost, they should be the star.
I used fresh garlic, ginger & chili but they are not totally necessary. Garlic salt, ground ginger & dried chili all work fine as substitutes. You can also play around with the spices. Fenugreek is pretty potent & I know quite a few people who don’t like it so I sometimes use curry powder instead. Any sort of pulse can be used. I only had red kidney beans so in they went. Chickpeas or any other sort of bean will work just as well. If I am using chickpeas I often add half to the soup & roast the rest for the topping instead of using sunflower seeds.
This is basically a really healthy, cheap lunch which can be made in advance & will last on the fridge for about a week (or in the freezer for a couple of months). It makes about 5-6 bowls depending on your appetite. The quantity of seeds in the recipe should be enough to go with each bowl. Store them in an airtight container.
Sweet Potato Soup with Masala Sunflower Seeds
Ingredients (serves 5-6)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion
1 clove garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1 cm ginger
1 chili (or add as much as you prefer)
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp ground ginger (or 2 if not using fresh ginger)
1 tsp tumeric
1 litre vegetable stock
2-3 sweet potatoes
1 green pepper
5 cherry tomatoes
1 tsp onion seeds
1 can red kidney beans
1 tsp salt (approx)
1. Finely slice the onions & begin to fry them slowly in vegetable oil. Prepare the other vegetables.
Slicing the vegetables thinly means the soup will cook quicker[/caption]The soup will be pureed so don’t worry too much about how you slice the vegetables, garlic, etc.
2. Prepare the garlic, ginger & chili. Toast the coriander, cumin & fenugreek seeds and crush them to a powder.
3. Once the onions are quite soft add the garlic, ginger & chili. Check that there is some oil in pan as the onions will absorb some of it. If the pan is dry add a dash more oil to fry the aromats in. A few minutes later add the spices and fry them fro a minute or so to release the flavours. Then add the stock.
4. Add the chopped vegetables and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to the boil & then simmer until the veg are soft.
5. Meanwhile prepare the sunflower seeds. Mix the olive oil, garam masala & salt in a bowl & then toss the seeds in the mixture to coat them.
6. Spread them on a baking sheet & roast them in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees. Take them out when they begin to turn a golden colour. Let them cool.
7. Once the veg are soft puree the soup until it is really smooth.
Serve the soup hot with a sprinkling of the roasted sunflower seeds on top. If you plan to take it to work, store the sunflower seeds separately a add them after you have heated the soup.