When we were in chilly Tasmania, all we seemed to want was soup. We made all kinds – minestrones, dahls – but the stand-out was this slightly spicy, thick puree made from brightly-coloured root vegetables and spices. The combination of so many warm immunity-boosting vegetables with slight spiciness was the perfect thing to comfort our shivering bodies and keep our uncoming sniffles at bay.
This soup is great if you’re feeling rundown because of all the incredible ways these hearty vegetables help out our immune systems. Sweet potatoes contain through-the-roof levels of beta-carotene, raising our blood levels of vitamin A – protecting cells, keeping our reproductive systems healthy, and, of course, boosting our immune systems (and we’ve chucked in some carrots for an extra dose of this amazing antioxidant – you’re welcome). Eating just 3-5 grams of healthy fats with your sweet potatoes has been shown to increase your intake of beta-carotene from this tuberous root, which is where the coconut oil (and olive oil, if you’re drizzling on at the end) comes in. (And don’t remove the skin of your sweet potatoes – you’ll be missing out of loads of healing nutrients!) Butternut squash, meanwhile, also helps boost our immune systems in other ways – just one cup contains a third of your daily vitamin C requirements! They also help out our nervous systems and – you guessed it – our immune systems once more with their rockin’ levels of vitamin B. So if you’re feeling a bit flu-y, slurp up! Your body will thank you for it.
Spicy Sweet Potato and Butternut Pumpkin Soup
1 large sweet potato, or 2 small-to-medium-sized ones
1/2 butternut squash
1 large carrot, or 3 baby carrots
1 white onion
4 garlic cloves
2 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
Salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
2. Chop sweet potato, pumpkin & carrots into cubes. Cut onion in half and peel garlic cloves. Toss in coconut oil and salt and pepper in baking tray
3. Bake vegetables for 20 minutes; or until soft
4. Place vegetables into food processor or blender and blend until mushy. Add vegetable stock, spices, pinch of salt and pepper and squeeze of lemon and blend until puree. Serve while still hot!
Place pepitas in frying pan with coconut oil and sea salt, flash-fry until slightly browned.
Top soup with toasted pepitas, fresh coriander, and a drizzle of olive oil