Autumn is definitely here. Crisp mornings with air that tingles the end of your nose, leaves turning an array of colours before they drop to the ground in a pile ready to be jump in. Or, more sadly, stormy grey days with enough rain to send you into the back of the cupboard to hunt out the wellies. But whatever the weather, autumn is also time for thick, soul-soothing soup.
Now you many say “But Karen, you say soup is for any time of the year”, and you would be right, I do. But there are particular autumn soups that truly warm the cockles of my heart, reminding me of hot summers days – the orange ones, made with my favourite veggies pumpkins, sweet potatoes and carrots.
- all in season
- all dazzling orange
- all packed with wonderful betacartene and other phytonutrients that support the immune system.
- And all ‘souper’ tasty!
Soup is a great way of packing more veggies and fibre into your daily diet. We have a portion most days of the week. Home-made soup is the best as you control what goes in it, especially if you’re following a special diet or don’t eat certain things due to food intolerances or health challenges. Soup is a perfect way of eating plant-based, whole-food and gluten free if that’s what you need.
If you read the label of a shop-bought soup it suddenly doesn’t seem quite as healthy as you would like it to be. The salt content is often way off the scale for a start, but refined oils and sugar have a habit of being sneaked in as well as a range of additives and other chemicals that no-one really knows what they are. Making soup at home needn’t be laborious or expensive, and if you make a big batch, you can freeze portions to take to work or grab out of the freezer when you’re short on time (just remember to label them otherwise it’s lucky dip!).
This soup is so easy to make and is packed full of fibre from the beans and the sweet potato that your microbiome will enjoy it just as much as you. I’ve used cannellini beans, but butter beans or any white bean will do.
So batten down the hatches and grab a big pan and whip up a batch of this delicious soup. Then close your eyes and think of warm summer days rather than the rain lashing at the window! And don’t forget to let me know how you get on. Enjoy!
Sweet potato and white bean soup
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 medium carrot diced small
- 1 medium bay leaf
- 2 cloves garlic finely diced
- 450 grams sweet potato peeled and cut into a small dice
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme or mixed herbs
- 400 gram tin of canellinni or other white beans rinsed and drained
- 750 ml vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- flaxseed or extra virgin olive oil to garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander or parsley to garnish
- Heat 2 tablespoons of water or vegetable stock in the bottom of a large pan. Add the onion, carrot and bay leaf, and sauté for a couple of minutes on a medium heat.
- Add the garlic, sweet potato and a pinch of salt plus a little extra water if needed to the pan and sauté for a minute. Pour over enough stock to cover and add the herbs. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes.
- Add the beans along with extra stock if needed and simmer for another 5 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.
- Turn off the heat then blend to smooth with a stick blender. Add more stock if it is too thick and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with a sprinkle of parsley or coriander and a swirl of flaxseed or extra virgin olive oil if desired.