Sweet potato and vegetable soup

I’ve got a cold and it’s turned autumnal and chilly in Cape Town – it’s time for soup. As much as I am a summer person, I’ve kind of been looking forward to the arrival of winter just so that I can make yummy wintery soups that simmer away on the stove for hours and fill the house with soupy wholesomeness. I’ve been sick with a cold for a few days and I’ve been craving hearty vegetable soup but been too lazy to cook, so I’ve had ready-made packet soups, which really don’t live up to the real thing. This soup really hit the spot, and it couldn’t have been easier to make. This makes a massive soup, which is great if you don’t have time for cooking on weeknights. Make it on Sunday afternoon, and you’ll have soup for the rest of the week.

Sweet potato and veggie soup

  • 1 onion
  • 5 sticks of celery
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • Two handfuls fresh Italian flat-leaved parsley
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 70 g tomato paste
  • 5 tsp vegetable stock powder
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into big chunks
  • 250 g soup mix (I used Woolies’ soup mix of pearl barley, green lentils, red split peas and green split peas)

To make this easier for myself, I blitzed the onion, celery, carrots and a handful of parsley in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor though, just chop them all into small pieces. Fry gently in a slug of olive oil for a couple of minutes, and then add the garlic. Fry for a couple more minutes until everything starts to go a bit soft. Add the tin of tomatoes, the tomato paste and about a litre and a half of hot water, along with the veg stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, simmer and put the lid on. Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking on water levels. If it starts getting a bit thick, just add more hot water. Add the sweet potatoes along with about two cups of hot water and put the lid back on, keeping the soup on a simmer. Cook for a further 20 minutes or so, until the potatoes are just cooked (don’t overcook them as you don’t want them to get mushy). Stir in a handful of chopped parsley and the chilli flakes and serve with lots of ground black pepper.