Autumn is my favorite season– the chill in the air, the return of comfort foods, the bounty of the harvest. Seasonal fall produce really inspires me in the kitchen. With Sukkot just around the corner, my focus has shifted to autumn foods that warm and nourish from the inside. First dish on the menu: Autumn Sweet Potato Soup.
This soup is packed with autumn goodness… root vegetables, squash, fresh thyme, and a touch of cayenne for spice. The broth has roots in African food tradition. Peanut butter is stirred in at the end of cooking, thickening the soup and giving it a delicious flavor. I learned this culinary trick from a local Ethiopian restaurant. While it might sound a bit strange, you’ll have to trust me. The peanut butter enhances all the other spices, giving this soup layers of creamy, delicious flavor. It’s a substantial and filling vegetable soup, perfect for a chilly autumn evening. It’s also super easy to prepare, and can be made completely vegan using vegetable broth. Serve it as-is (chunky with texture), or you can puree the soup with an immersion blender for a smoother texture. Garnish with chopped roasted peanuts or fresh thyme leaves. It’s got a seriously amazing, unique flavor and takes so little effort to prepare. It’s also really healthy; the peanut butter adds protein as well as flavor to the broth. Your body will thank you!
If you end up keeping some leftover soup in the refrigerator, add a little broth or water when you reheat. The soup can become quite thick when it’s chilled. Adding some liquid will help the soup to reheat smoothly. Also, if you’re wondering how to peel tomatoes for the soup, learn how here.
One quick note– If you’re serving this to guests you don’t know very well, make sure you let them know that the broth contains peanuts, just in case anybody is allergic. Better safe than sorry! Also, if you’re preparing the soup gluten free, make sure your broth and peanut butter are certified GF.
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- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 1/2 lbs orange sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cubed
- 1 lb zucchini, sliced
- 2 qts (8 cups) yellow vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced (or 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped roasted peanuts or fresh thyme leaves for garnish (optional)
- Heat olive oil over medium till hot (not smoking). Sauté onion in the oil till it begins to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 3 minutes more.
- Add sweet potatoes, zucchini, chicken or vegetable stock, thyme leaves, cumin, ginger, and cayenne to the pot. I like to use ¼ tsp of cayenne, which gives a nice spicy kick to the soup. If you’re sensitive to spice, start with 1/8 tsp. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a light simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes to the pot. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more until all the vegetables are tender.
- Stir the peanut butter into the broth until it dissolves. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more cayenne for heat, if desired.
- Soup may be served as-is (chunky with texture), or you can puree the soup with an immersion blender till smooth. Serve garnished with chopped roasted peanuts or fresh thyme leaves.