Historically, the color purple has been associated with royalty. Family and friends will feel nothing short of that dining on this delicious savory soup! They’ll never believe it’s so easy to prepare AND lacks the butter, cream, sugar and sodium integral to most traditional squash soup recipes.

Concocted recipe for friends at Thanksgiving, but family made me promise to serve this soup at Christmas too. Planned to start meal with my traditional CURRIED PUMPKIN SOUP, but with a SPICY PUMPKIN PIE in the oven, and mounting exhaustion of autumnal colors, I really couldn’t bear to serve another orange dish! Had some of these dapper purple gentlemen in the fridge, so decided to play. Also desperately wanted to conceive a soup that could  differentiate itself from the two dominant flavor combos found in winter dishes:  1) sweet cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & cloves and 2) rosemary, sage & thyme, but be served without conflict in same meal with those timeless classic flavors. Watch faces at the table for the OMG moment, since everyone expects the soup to be seasoned with one of the aforementioned spice combinations. Yeah, it’s kinda mindfuck. Love it!

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*As always, please use organic ingredients for YOUR health!
1 Tbsp coconut oil
3-4 large purple sweet potatoes (about 1 ½ pounds)
2 red onions, chopped
1 head of celery, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp cumin
6 cups low-sodium turkey, chicken or vegetable broth
5 bay leaves
Optional Flair:
½ red pepper
¼ cup lowfat Greek yogurt or coconut cream (top of can of coconut milk)

I always recommend baking (vs. boiling) potatoes or squash when softening for puree to avoid losing minerals in the boiling liquid, which will be discarded. Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees. Line baking tray with foil & spritz with oil. Slice sweet potatoes down the middle and roll both face and skin sides of potato in oil. Place face down on foil. Bake 30 minutes or until soft.

While potatoes bake, prep other veggies. Spritz large stock pot lightly with oil, then sauté onion, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper over medium heat until onion is semi-soft and translucent (about 3 minutes). Add celery and sauté until yellow (2-3 minutes). Turn off burner. Add 2 cups broth and stir.
Remove baked potatoes from oven and flip over. Allow to cool enough to handle. Then easily remove potato skins…and eat them. Skins are not appropriate for a smooth bright purple soup, but sooo appropriate for a high fiber snack! Enjoy!

Add baked sweet potato flesh to pot and puree until smooth with immersion blender, or in heatproof jar of blender or food processor. Add more broth as needed to keep blades moving. Transfer the pureed mixture to a stockpot and stir in additional broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce to low / low-medium heat. Simmer gently for at least 20 minutes or until enough liquid evaporates to reduce soup to desired consistency. Turn off heat.

Serve.  Spoon into white bowls (for optimal contrast) and garnish as desired. In photo, I used a vegetable peeler to create tiny delicate slivers of red pepper. Using thumb and index finger, pickup a pinch of pepper slivers and place in soup. Then place 2-3 tiny dollops of coconut cream or Greek yogurt if you enjoy dairy. Gently draw spoon or knife through either cream to create a ripple effect in photo.

* Get creative! I only recommend avoiding one thing as you craft your masterpiece:  citrus. While I find a lil lemon, orange, even grapefruit zest, elevates nearly every dish, the acid in zest, fruit or juice zaps the intense color of soup to a less appetizing pink. (Long ago, I made this faux passé when baking purple sweet potato muffins, which then turn a more foul gray when baked). Eww…bad move, Whitney. Remember, we eat with our eyes!

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