Much ado is made about pumpkin during the holiday season, but I have a confession to make:  I’m not really a fan.  While I adore the seeds and the precious oil they produce, I much prefer the humble and more versatile sweet potato, orange though it still may be.  Sweet potatoes also make special appearances at the holidays, usually in a pie or a mashed casserole with some marshmallow goo on top, but I always think they’re just pretending to be pumpkins.

At least 25 years ago I was charged with bringing the “sweet potatoes” to some “orphan holiday” gathering, and I decided to come up with something different.  Since then, I have made this Sweet Potato Soup three or four times a year, with very little change to the recipe.  It avoids the typical pumpkin spices one might expect, instead balancing savory with the sweetness while packing a tiny kick.

A classy holiday starter or a meal unto itself.

The primary ingredients for this soup all come from under the earth.

In a large pot, sauté for five minutes the onions, garlic, ginger, and spices in the peanut oil, adding a little broth as necessary to keep from scorching.  Add the remaining two cartons of broth, the thyme, and the adobo sauce and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, add the potatoes and simmer for 45 minutes.  Ladle some hot broth into a bowl and mix well with the peanut butter and agave, then return to the soup.  If using a standard blender, allow soup to cool a bit then purée, in batches, and return to the pot.  If using an immersion blender, purée the soup right in the pot.  Return the soup to a simmer, and serve hot, garnished with chopped cilantro and peanuts.  Cornbread is an excellent accompaniment, but sweet potato soup  can also be served with French bread, or even graham crackers.


Total prep and cooking time:  1 1/2 hours.   Serves 6-8 servings.

1 tbsp peanut oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, sliced

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

1/4 tbsp ground coriander

1/4 tbsp ground black pepper

1/4 tbsp ground smoked paprika

a dash of cumin

2 thirty-two oz. cartons low sodium chicken broth

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 tbsp sauce from a can of “chipotles in adobo,” available in the Mexican section of your local


2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tbsp raw peanut butter

2 tbsp agave nectar

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