Happy new year everyone! Hope 2017 has been good to you so far.
I don't know about the rest of you but I'm going to assume that most who have been overindulging over the festive period have now turned to their January health kick. I walked into Sainsburys the other day and the first thing I came across was a massive display of every "new year new you" cliché you could ever imagine - tons of random fitness paraphernalia, a plethora of healthy eating books and a myriad of water/protein shake bottles, you know the type of thing I mean.
I, of course, laughed to myself cynically at the very idea before continuing on my way to the other side of the shop to buy my healthy groceries . . . because, y'know, "NEW YEAR NEW ME"!
Anyway, I went home and did a bit of food prepping, because most of the time that's literally the only thing that will stop me from popping down the road from my office for a portion of "half chips and half macaroni cheese" - boy, that is one delicious discovery I regret happening across. And I cooked up a batch of my favourite soup of the moment - spicy sweet potato and coconut.
It's really quite delicious, but also really simple and very healthy, containing all good things. Probably the most important thing for me though is that it is really bloody easy to make. For some reason, even after I started getting much better at cooking, I was scared to make soup. And most of the time, even once I did start trying, it would end up looking like sludge. And, really, who wants to eat something that looks like sludge?
Luckily, this soup does not look like sludge. Phew.
So shall we begin?
*****What you need*****
***420g sweet potato, chopped into chunks (I don't bother peeling them, as far as I'm concerned they're fine au natural)
***50g red pepper, chopped
***50g red onion, chopped
***2 large plum tomatoes, chopped
***70g red lentils
***1 vegetable stock cube
***Salt and pepper to taste
***Spices of your choice (I opt for a sprinkling of chilli flakes, a small amount of hot chilli powder and a smattering of cayenne pepper)
***Cold water (to cover)
***Coconut milk (I use light, use normal if you like!) - half of a normal sized tin
***Dessicated coconut, a tablespoon or two
*****Let's get cooking!******
1)Throw your sweet potato into a big pot and make sure all those chunks are covered in water. Turn your hob on and start boiling these up.
2)Add the other veg, lentils, stock cube, seasoning and spices and then keep cooking the contents of the pan until the sweet potato goes pretty soft. I would give it about half an hour, but it really depends on your kitchen equipment. You don't need to babysit the pot, just check on it occasionally to make sure it's not out of control or anything.
3)Once this is boiled, turn down the heat and mix in the coconut milk and dessicated coconut. Leave to cool a bit.
4)Time to get blending. I use a stick blender cos it's the easiest option and I'm lazy. I like to blend my soup until it's pretty smooth - it's up to you how far you go with it though. I also tend to add a bit more spice before I start blending.
The result is a delicious creamy coconutty soup with a bit of a kick. This recipe made three fairly large portions to take into work for lunch in a flask for a couple of days - I imagine if you were making it as a starter for a meal you could probably stretch it to four small bowls.
It's healthy, it's dairy-free, vegetarian, I believe it's also even vegan-friendly (so could be a great choice if you are doing Veganuary this year or just looking to cut down on your meat intake!). I have just plugged the ingredients into MyFitnessPal and it works out at just under 300 calories for one of my large servings, so it's a good and filling lunch but you'll still have plenty of calories left to spare for other meals if you keep track of such things.
Just try it . . . okay?