I came home last week hungry and chilly during that crazy winter storm. I briefly thought about going out to eat, but remembered that I had two sweet potatoes and some soup ingredients in the fridge. I was craving sweet potato soup with loads of ginger, but wanted it to be exciting! When I noticed that I had some miso, I realized that this soup was going to be a winner:) All the key ingredients are perfect for winter because they have warming and immune boosting qualities. Here’s why you want them:
- Sweet potatoes are truly one of the best foods you can eat in the winter, as they’re immune boosting – they’re full of antioxidants and vitamin c! Sweet ‘taters are naturally sweet, but will have less of an impact on your blood sugar than white potatoes! Bonus of their naturally sweet taste: fewer sugar cravings.
- Ginger helps to fight inflammation due to its active constituent, gingerols. It’s warming by nature, and helps to warm your bod from the inside out. Ginger also helps to promote digestion and can reduce bloating.
- Garlic and onions contain germanium, a powerful immune stimulant. Not to mention these flavourful superstars have antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. And crush that garlic, baby! Crushing garlic and allowing it to sit for ten minutes activates allicin, its potent antioxidant compound. And, according to one of my fav gurus, Moira Nordholt, garlic can be a powerful aphrodisiac for men. And Valentine’s Day is coming up ladies. Just saying.
- Miso is made from fermenting grains (usually rice) and soybeans. (Be sure to buy organic, as soybeans are typically genetically modified, and since we really have no idea of what the long term effects of GMOs are, it’s best to run far, far away from them.) Miso is high in protein and contains lots of good probiotic bacteria. Probiotics help to boost immunity by helping to balance the ratio of good to bad bacteria (the good guys should always outnumber the bad). Since a large part of our immune system is contained in our digestive tract, it’s important to eat lots of probiotic-rich foods. Miso makes this soup sweet and salty (I use shiro miso as it’s not as salty as many of the other varieties). Mmmm…
Warming and Immune Boosting Sweet Potato and Miso Soup
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 cloves garlic
tiny pinch Celtic sea salt
4 medium sweet potatoes, chopped (or one butternut squash, if you’re in the mood)
water to cover (1.5-2L)
3-4 tbsp shiro miso
1” knob of ginger, grated
1 green onion, sliced
nanami togarashi or cayenne pepper to taste
Saute the onion in the oil until translucent. Meanwhile, crush garlic and allow to sit for five minutes (to activate its allicin). Chop carrots and celery, and tip into pan along with the garlic and sea salt. Allow to continue cooking for another five minutes. Add sweet potato and water to cover. Bring to a boil. When sweet potatoes are soft, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (you don’t want to add the miso to boiling soup!). Add miso and blend until smooth. Return to pot and grate in ginger to taste. Gently heat through until hot but not boiling as the heat will break down the miso’s probiotics. Ladle into bowls and decorate with chopped green onion and nanami.
Note: if you want an extra immune boost, add the garlic near then end, when you add the ginger. Your breath will be super garlicky, but you’ll scare off germs and vampires. It’s a win/win:)
Wishing you warmth and freedom from colds and flus in these last few weeks of winter. xo Andrea