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Creamy Indian-spiced vegan sweet potato soup recipe {gluten-free}

Creamy Indian-spiced vegan sweet potato soup, a hearty Meatless Monday entree (gluten-free).

Once upon a time, I didn't need a scorecard to remember my family's culinary preferences. Now that I'm firmly entrenched in middle age, I forget who loves olives, who hates mushrooms, who likes tomatoes on their pizza and who won't eat anything green. So, it was inevitable that, when I cooked a big holiday dinner for my stepson and grandkids, I would get something wrong, and I came home with three pounds of leftover mashed sweet potatoes that none of the kids would touch. Lucky me: I turned those already-mashed potatoes into this rich and creamy Indian-spiced sweet potato soup. It's vegan and gluten-free, and you can make it even if you don't have leftovers. Top each individual bowl with traditional curry garnishes (cashews, raisins, chopped apple or shredded coconut) to create a hearty one-dish meal.

Creamy Indian-spiced vegan sweet potato soup, from The Perfect Pantry.

Creamy Indian-spiced vegan sweet potato soup

From the pantry, you'll need: onion, ginger root, garlic, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, lemon, agave nectar or honey, coconut milk.

Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a first course.


2 large sweet potatoes (or 3-4 cups leftover mashed sweet potatoes)
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp curry powder (hot or sweet; I use hot, of course)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1 tsp agave nectar (or honey), or more to taste
6 oz coconut milk, or more to taste
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
A few teaspoons of chopped apple and cashews, for garnish


Pierce the sweet potatoes in a few places, and cook in the microwave on full power for 9 minutes, or until the potatoes are quite soft. When they're cool enough to handle, scrape out the flesh into a bowl, and discard the skins. (Skip this step if you're using leftover mashed potatoes.)

In a Dutch oven, sauté the onions in the oil over low heat for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the curry powder, turmeric and cumin, and cook for 20 seconds until just slightly fragrant. Add the sweet potato plus 1 cup of water, and stir to combine all ingredients.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Stir in the lemon juice and honey. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Then, add the coconut milk. Stir to incorporate, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove, and use an immersion blender to purée the soup to the texture you like (I like mine slightly "rustic"). If you don't have an immersion blender, let the soup cool for a few minutes, and purée in batches in a food processor or blender.

If the soup is too thick, add more coconut milk and/or water. Taste the soup, and adjust seasonings with more lemon, honey, salt and pepper, to your liking.

Serve hot, garnished with chopped apples and cashews.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Squash, sweet potato and carrot soup
Curried squash, apple and pear soup
Rosemary-parmesan sweet potato waffles
Sweet potato, lentil and raisin stew
Mashed garlic sweet potatoes

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Sweet potato hummus with olive oil and sumac, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Sweet potato and purple cabbage soup, from Gluten-free Goddess
Black bean and sweet potato soup, from Two Peas & Their Pod
Indian-style red lentil and sweet potato curry, from Lisa's Kitchen
Sweet potato coconut curry with chicken and bacon, from Family Fresh Cooking

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


This sounds good, but honey is not vegan. Would agave work here?

Deena, yes, agave would work, and I've updated the recipe to include that. I know vegans who eat honey, and many people who won't eat agave. So use whichever sweetener works for you.

I love the idea of a soup with sweet potatoes and coconut milk. And the curry garnishes are a lovely touch!

I've been making this for years because of how easy it is as an accompaniment to rice. You also don't need the agave, the sweet potatoes are plenty sweet.

Kalyn, you can have a lot of fun with garnishes on this soup. Raisins and shredded coconut would be great additions.

Dominic, you really don't need the sweetener if your sweet potatoes are very sweet already.

This sounds (and looks) delicious - I will definitely try it! I have been playing with a soup made with sweet potato/butternut squash/coconut milk/red curry paste, but never thought to heap garnishes on the top. Yum!

I feel your pain about keeping track of who eats what: at the moment, one son keeps kosher and is on the Paleo diet, one is vegetarian but eats mollusks, and one who eats only local meat. (Notice that my poor husband doesn't even get mentioned!)

Lydia, do you still have an Amazon shop?

Judy, to me the garnishes are the best part! And I feel *your* pain -- my family is complicated, but not as challenging as yours. I'd probably turn them all loose in my kitchen to cook for themselves!

And yes, I do still have an Amazon shop! Either click on "shop" at the top of the page, or use the Amazon box in the lower right-hand column.

My family will eat anything.... Until it gets on the table, that is. Then, all of a sudden things get strange. The most recent is one that won't eat mustard. As to the sweet potatoes - great soup. I love the garnishes....

Katie, I know people's tastes change, but for those of us who cook, it helps to have updates *before* they get to the table! (Hope my family is reading this.)

Sounds fabulous and I'm impressed with how resourceful you are. I've been in that dilemma too--feeding the same meal to people who are carnivores, Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, and vegetable-phobes all at the same time. I've had to show people labels to prove the food is vegan. Definitely a challenge.

I'm going to pick up some sweet potatoes and make this for my lunch this week. Sweet potatoes, curry powder and coconut milk sounds like a very tasty combination. I'm the only one in my family that likes sweet potatoes, so I'll get it all to myself, LOL!

Donna, sometimes I remember my mother's voice at the dinner table when I complained about something she served. "This is not a restaurant!" she used to tell me. Now I'm amazed at how often I feel like saying that to my own family.

Janel, you're very lucky to have this soup all to yourself. Enjoy!

Well done, Lydia! Transmogrifying an unexpected leftover into something so pretty and utterly new! I love the idea of garnishes, my family would so get into that part.


My kids were good eaters, and (mostly) are now, but there was a certain age where they got picky. I got so annoyed with one of them that I sat him down with pencil and paper, told him I didn't want to hear what he doesn't like -- so he should make me a list of what he does like... Also, there was a jar of peanut butter at the table: If you don't like what's for dinner, just take care of it yourself. Sadly, their children (most of them)are much pickier.

Just a fabulous recipe, Lydia. Again. I'm such a huge fan of sweet potato and I love Indian curry but I've never put the two together. Another of your recipes bookmarked!

Kirsten, using leftovers is my favorite way to make soup. I'm almost -- almost -- glad nobody ate those sweet potatoes!

Susan, it seems to be more of a trend now to indulge your kids' tastes than to try and expand their food horizons. Maybe the path of least resistance but I notice it with our kids and grandkids, too.

Jamie, does anyone else in your family eat sweet potatoes? If not, you can have this all to yourself. Like I did.

Just so glad it is only me and a husband who eats pretty much anything! (except of course healthy stuff like this soup ;-)

I just finished making this and I'm slurping it up as I type. I added a roasted jalapeno chili and needed about an extra cup of water to get the consistency I wanted. Delicious. Next time I'll try it with coconut oil instead of olive. Thanks

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