Sweet potatoes are one of the staple foods that I always have on hand. They pair well with almost any herb and spice, they’re healthy, they’re delicious and they’re inexpensive. Basically they rule so I use them a lot.
I’ve also been trying to pick up a couple things that aren’t in my normal weekly grocery haul to spice things up in the kitchen a bit. This week I snagged a knob of ginger and a stalk of lemongrass. Both ginger and lemongrass are great in stir fries, marinades, and soups. They are a great way to flavor broth for a noodle soup, or in this case, the most delightful combination of flavors to balance the sweetness of sweet potato in a smooth and creamy blended soup.
If you’ve never worked with lemongrass before, definitely give it a go. Its brightness balances out sweet potato and complements the spicy ginger. Its also surprisingly simple to use. I just took a 7-8 inch stalk of lemon grass, cut it in thirds, took the back of my knife a hit the lemongrass with it to release the flavor a bit, and tossed it in the pot. If you have trouble finding fresh lemongrass, I’ve seen cut stalks of it in the Asian food aisle in little jars. Feel free to use a few pieces of that but be sure the pieces are big enough that you’ll be able to find them to take them out when it comes time to blend the soup.
I topped these soups with a massaged kale salad dressed with a hint of lime and agave, to tie the whole soup together. Since kale is really sturdy, it keeps its integrity even while sitting atop a warm bowl of soup. I recommend making the kale salad first, so the dressing has time to soften the kale leaves a bit before serving.
Massaged Kale Salad
2 Cups Kale, sliced into 1/4″ thin strips
1/2 Tbsp Lime Juice
3/4 tsp agave
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Using your hands, massage the dressing into the kale. Don’t be afraid to really get in there. You want the kale to start to break down a bit. It will decrease in volume by about half. Put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Ginger & Lemongrass Sweet Potato Soup
2 Cups Diced Onion (1 medium onion)
1 Cup Diced Carrot
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic (2 large cloves)
1 tsp grated (or minced) fresh ginger
1 Stalk Lemongrass, Cut into 2-3″ sections, hit with the back of a knife to release the flavor
4 Cups Diced Sweet Potato
2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1- 15oz Can of Light Coconut Milk
Salt and Black Pepper
In a medium pot or dutch oven over medium heat, combine onion and carrot and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes or until the onions start to soften. Add in garlic and ginger and cook for 1 more minute. Add in lemongrass, sweet potato, vegetable stock and coconut milk. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potato is completely soft and cooked through. Remove the lemon grass stalk pieces. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend the soup in two batches in your blender- but be really careful blending hot things! Taste your soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into bowls, and top with the massaged kale salad.
Let me know how this recipe worked for you!