I, as many people do, like to think of the New Year as a new start in terms of diet and exercise. After a prolonged period of eating lots of delicious, yet rather-indulgent, items over the holidays, it's about time I settled back into a more healthy diet. One of the best ways I know how to do this is to start off the year by adding a lot more soups into my diet. And, no, not the kind you can buy in a can from the grocery store (the nutrition of which in most cases leaves a lot to be desired) -- instead I like to make soups from scratch. Throw together a few vegetables, a box of veggie or chicken broth, and some herbs and spices, and in about 30-45 minutes, you've got a healthy ready-to-eat meal. The soup recipes I follow tend to make many portions, so it's easy to have a healthy soup on hand for lunches throughout the following week.
The first soup I made this year was a Sweet Potato and Chipotle Soup adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. The addition of a chipotle pepper gives this soup a nice spicy undertone that doesn't overwhelm the rich sweet potato flavor.
Sweet Potato Chipotle Soup (adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe)
makes 8-10 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
coarse sea salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 medium sweet potatoes (2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and saute until they are soft and lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cumin and minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.
2. Stir in the sweet potatoes, chile, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium, partially cover the pot with a lid, and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes.
3. Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool slightly. In batches, puree the soup in a blender. Be careful to allow steam to escape while blending.
4. Pour the pureed soup back into the soup pot and heat over low. Season to taste withs salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week in the refrigerator; or you can freeze any leftovers.