Nutty and Spicy North African Squash and Sweet Potato Soup with Kale

5 Mar

Ok, I’m going soup crazy lately.  It could be the sudden turn for the worse weather-wise in Boston (we had one first/last snow storm) or perhaps the exciting SoupaPalooza.  Whatever the reason, my tummy has not been suffering.

This soup is awesome. It has an incredible combo of flavors – the peanut butter and Harissa sauce (a nod to North African cooking) make this soup nutty, sweet, spicy and smoky all at once.

It is the perfect soup to spice up a grey New England day (or a grey day anywhere). The addition of kale (yum) is obviously divine.


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups leeks, white and light green parts cleaned and thinly sliced

1 onion, diced

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes

2 med sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices

3 tbsp tomato paste

3 tbsp natural peanut butter

3 tablespoons harissa (store bought or homemade – see recipe below)

3 cloves garlic

1 1/2 tsp ground tumeric

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

3-5 cups low sodium broth (I use Better than Bouillon with twice the recommended amount of water ) – enough to cover veggies

3 packed cups thinly sliced kale


Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add leeks and onions and saute until they are lightly golden, 5-7 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, peanut butter, harissa, garlic, and spices.  Cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

Add squash, sweet potatoes and enough broth to just cover.  Bring to a boil and then cover and turn to medium-low heat.  Cook 20-30 minutes or until squash is soft when poked with a fork.

Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.  Add more broth if needed for desired consistency.

Add kale and cook until soft, 3 minutes.




10 dried cayenne peppers (chile de arbol)

2 dried ancho chiles

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Soak the dried chilies in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain. Remove stems and seeds.  In a food processor combine chili peppers, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Blend. Add remaining spices and blend to form a smooth paste. Store in airtight container.

Another recipe for SoupaPalooza! Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored byKitchenAidRed Star Yeast and Le Creuset


6 Responses to “Nutty and Spicy North African Squash and Sweet Potato Soup with Kale”

  1. tinykitchenstories March 5, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    This looks amazing! I will definitely try this recipe, with kale. I love that you give a harissa recipe too, which I will also try.

    • vegetarianepicurean March 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

      Thanks – and thanks for coming by. I really like what you are doing on your blog too!

  2. cookingintuitive March 7, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    Interesting & very different!

  3. Kate Gompert March 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    This Harissa is awesome. Nice and spicy, but flavorful enough to eat on its own (which I did).

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