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Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Pesto

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Puréeing Under Pressure:

Standing blenders can allow you to purée soups to a smooth and silky consistency. Just be aware that whenever you process hot liquids in a blender, the pressure from the steam can blow the cover off, causing the hot liquid to splatter both you and your kitchen. To guard against accidents, never fill a blender more than half full with a hot liquid. If the machine has a feeder cap, crack it open slightly to allow the steam to escape. Start blending the mixture at the lowest speed, and gradually increase to higher speeds as needed to achieve the desired consistency. As an extra precaution, cover the blender lid with a towel to protect yourself in the event that the top pops off.

5 servings

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 1 hour

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Type of Dishhot soup, soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup chopped yellow onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery (include some leaves)
  • 1½ teaspoons crushed fresh garlic
  • 4½ cups diced peeled sweet potato (about 1½ pounds)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 teaspoons chopped pickled jalapeno pepper
  • ¼ cup (moderately packed) fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup (moderately packed) fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons grated
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. For Easy-to-Chew and Soft Diets:

  2. To make the pesto, place all of the pesto ingredients except for the water in a mini-food processor, and process until the herbs and nuts are finely ground. Add the water and process just until mixed in. Add a little more water or olive oil, if needed, to bring the pesto to a consistency that can be drizzled from a spoon or squeeze bottle. Transfer to a small squeeze bottle or other container, and chill until ready to use.

  3. To make the soup, place the olive oil, onion, and celery in a 3-quart pot. Cover and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, for several minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add a little water if needed to prevent scorching. Add the garlic and cook for 15 additional seconds.

  4. Add the sweet potato and broth to the pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or just until the potatoes are soft.

  5. Add the jalapeno pepper to the pot, and purée the soup with a hand-held blender until smooth. Serve hot, drizzling each serving with about a tablespoon of the pesto.

  6. For Smooth/Puréed Diets:

  7. Working in batches, purée the entire pot of soup in a standing blender until smooth (see Notes). Process the pesto until smooth and, if necessary, push through a strainer to remove any coarse bits before drizzling the condiment over the soup.

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