One of my favourite things about living in this part of Australia is our summer thunderstorms. The dark clouds roll over head in the early afternoon and then just about three or four o’clock the first rumbles begin, swiftly followed by fat raindrops and wind that pushes the trees to and fro. These violent tempests usually don’t last long, and in the clearing of the clouds they leave the world shiny, washed clean, and you can smell the heat of life rising from the ground. I love running after a rainstorm. I love splashing through the puddles and seeing teardrops fall from the leaves. All the colours seem brighter, everything seems more alive, after a summer thunderstorm. After I get back from a run in the post-storm world, I love nothing more than a hot shower, and climbing into a comfy chair with a big bowl of spicy soup. Something fragrant that captures the spice of the ground outside, something thick and warming to my belly.
A big bowl of soup might seem contradictory in the summer heat, but the trick is to match the heat outside with the heat in your bowl, and then add a dollop of something soothing and cool. This thick sweet potato soup has all the heat of a lightening strike thanks to a generous amount of chipotle, garlic, and ground spices. Before your eyes water too much, after ladling this soup into your bowl you add a generous spoonful of cooling black bean salsa. This avocado, coriander, and black bean salad will soothe your chipotle stimulated taste buds.
If you are searching for an easy make ahead meal for the week, this soup is your answer. You can easily make this up to two days ahead. I would recommend making the salsa fresh on the day though. You want really fresh flavours from the avocado and I have found that even with the presence of lime juice, the salsa is best made just before serving. Even if you were to make the soup after getting home from work, you would get change from 60 minutes, which is exactly what I want when I get home from work after a long day!
I made this soup a few weeks ago, and my mouth is watering just looking at the photos again! I think you can all guess what’s on the menu for dinner tonight at our house! I can’t wait to get home from my run tonight and put a pot of bubbling soup on the stove. I love the heat of a spicy summer dish paired with a cooling garnish. For my northern hemisphere friends, this soup is a perfect reminder of the heat of summer and a celebration of fresh autumn produce!
Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Black Bean Salsa
Serves 4 generously | Vegan | Gluten Free | Leftovers will keep for up to 2 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge
Note: When it comes to pureeing the soup you have two choices: 1) Use a stick blender to puree the soup right in the pot; or 2) Cool soup to room temperature and blend in batches in your blender. WARNING: DO NOT BLEND HOT SOUP.
For the soup:
- 2 large sweet potatoes (~800 grams / 1.7 pounds total)
- 1 medium purple onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable stock
- 3-4 cups boiling water
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of Alana’s Spicy Mexico sauce (you could use 1 chipotle chilli in adobo if this sauce is unavailable where you live)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (you can use dairy/soy if you prefer)
For the salsa:
- 1/2 cup black beans (1/2 400g can)
- 1/2 medium avocado
- 2 stalks spring onion
- 1/3 cup (packed) chopped fresh coriander leaves
- Juice of 1 lime
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- Peel sweet potato and dice into 2cm (~1 inch) cubes. Peel and dice onion.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or small stock pot over a medium heat. Add crushed garlic, diced onion, cumin, and coriander. Saute until onion is transparent and spices are fragrant.
- Add sweet potato and stir until the cubes are well incorporated and coated with spices and garlic.
- Dissolve vegetable stock in 3 cups of the hot water. Add to sauce pan. The stock should just cover the sweet potato. If required, add up to an extra cup of water.
- Stir in Spicy Mexico sauce and tomato paste.
- Turn heat up to high and bring to the boil. Once the liquid is boiling reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the sweet potato cubes are tender when pierced with a fork. This should take about 30 minutes. While soup is cooking, make salsa. See below for instructions.
- Add the lime juice, stir well.
- Remove soup from the heat and puree (see head note).
- Return pureed soup to pot and place on a low heat. Stir in milk and heat until gently bubbling.
- Ladle soup into bowls, top with a generous dollop of black bean salsa.
- Place well rinsed black beans into a small bowl.
- Peel and dice avocado. Add to bowl.
- Thinly slice white and light green parts of spring onions and add to bowl.
- Gently stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper.
- Serve with soup.