Swirls of homemade piri piri hot sauce top this family-friendly, sweet potato and lentil soup. Vegan, nutritious and perfect for lunch.
What a dismal, dispiriting day here in Scotland’s capital city. February, eh? What are you gonna do? Other than a paid-for ticket to somewhere equatorial the only thing for it is a big, hearty and colourful bowl of soup. The brighter the better.Recently, on a dank, dreary day like today, the morning light levels still midwinter blah, I carefully halved a cooked sweet potato. An exceptionally colour-saturated one. As I looked at this humble, exceedingly useful vegetable, I realised that its vibrant hue was not only very pleasing to my eye but that it was having an uplifting effect on me, too.
Perhaps it sounds a bit hokey, and the sceptic in me dismissed this effect as coincidence (maybe my green tea was kicking in), but it happened again while making this soup. Not quite the effects of caffeine – I don’t think we’ll all be rushing out to get a sweet potato juice Americano anytime soon. But I definitely felt a boost. I even switched from some dreary talk radio discussion to my Spotify motivation music. Before long I was having a wee dance session to myself, occasionally stopping to stir the pot.
That’s saying something as my current frozen shoulder/rotator cuff/bursitis situation had really got me down. Up until very recently (a week ago) I couldn’t really even cook, such was the pain in my whole arm and upper back. Nasty nerve pain that isn’t touched by any pain meds. Thankfully it’s easing now and I’m back to careful chopping. And blogging.
Hello again! Remember me?
I can’t promise that you will experience a similar benefit, but what I will guarantee is that if you make this soup, its sunny lentils and sweet potato, plus optional carnival-red piri piri sauce (yep, it’s optional) will make you smile. And fill your tummy nicely.
I think thoughts of warm foreign climes are banished – for now. I may have to reconsider this position tomorrow. Snow is forecast…
Good thing I have leftovers. 🙂
As for the piri piri sauce, if you like a fragrant and flavourful hot sauce rather than just blow your head of stuff, grab your blender. The sauce recipe is useful in as many things as a standard hot sauce, and tastes at least twice as good. I was going to say 10 times as good, but I’m trying not to hype it too much. I’ll let you decide how good it is. It also features in my next recipe so do give it a whirl. And a swirl. :-)
Piri Piri Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup
Swirls of homemade piri piri hot sauce top this family-friendly, sweet potato and lentil soup. Vegan, nutritious and perfect for lunch. xx
1 tbsp olive oil
50g (1 & 1/2 cup) leek, finely chopped – mostly the white part
2 garlic cloves. finely minced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 “thumb” of ginger, finely grated or chopped
2 bay leaves
300g (10.8 oz) sweet potato, scrubbed and small dice (1 medium sweet potato)
150g (1 cup) red/orange lentils, rinsed
1.5 litres (6 cups) boiling water or light vegetable stock
Juice of at least half a small lemon
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks, garlic, celery, ginger and bay leaves. Saute until the celery is softened, stirring occasionally – about five minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients except the lemon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for 30 minutes.
3. Remove the bay leaves, stir in the lemon juice and serve in warmed bowls with a swirl of piri piri sauce (below) if desired. Otherwise, grind in black pepper to taste.
Piri Piri Sauce
2 red chillies
1 red pepper
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp balsamic, apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp maple syrup (good for balancing the flavours but not absolutely necessary if you are following a sugar-free diet)
1. The best flavour is achieved by charring the chillies and red pepper. To do this on a gas hob, use a metal skewer to spear the chillies and place across a burner over a low flame, turning often until charred in many places. Use another skewer to pierce the red pepper. Place the red pepper on another burner and do the same as for the chillies. Be prepared for the chilli fumes to catch you! Pop the charred vegetables in a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave for 15 minutes before using gloved fingers or a paper towel to remove the skin. Pull out the stem ends and remove the seeds if you wish, or if there are loads of them. If you can’t char the veg, just use them as they are, minus the seeds.
2. Place everything into a blender or food processor and pulse until well-blended to your liking. Store in a sterilised jar, refrigerate and use within 7 days. You may also freeze the sauce.
RIPE FOR PINNING