From the Pantry: Merkén (Creamy Sweet Potato and Leek Soup)

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Creamy Sweet Potato and Leek Soup - Andrea MeyersFollow Me on Pinterest

We’re more than halfway through January, and yes I’m still working off those holiday pounds. Well, and there might have been a few before that that I’m working on, too. For most of the year we eat pretty healthy, it’s just that time between Halloween and New Year’s Day that is a bit dodgy for us. So we are making many meatless meals this month, focusing on vegetables, and reducing sugar. We had a weekend away for a hockey tournament with less than healthy hotel breakfasts and big restaurant meals, and now it’s back home and back to reality.

Merkén, a smoked pepper spice mix from Chile - Andrea MeyersWith a few select recipes, I’ve turned my guys into sweet potato fans, but it wasn’t easy, let me tell you. With the right mix of spices, my guys will eat almost anything with sweet potatoes now, which is pretty fantastic because sweet potatoes are very healthy as long as you leave off the super sweet marshmallows. I like them in soup or baked with just a bit of butter or Parmesan sprinkled on top, and my guys even like oven-baked sweet potato fries now.

This sweet potato soup, which I adapted pretty heavily from Cooking Light, is a favorite at our house. The creaminess comes from the pureed vegetables, making it very light and healthy. In it I use merkén rather than common crushed red pepper. Merkén is a smoked pepper spice mix from Chile, which gives every dish a bit of smoky heat. We’ve been using it for over a year now and love the flavor it adds to meat and vegetable dishes. The spiciness balances the sweetness of this soup very nicely.

Creamy Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from Cooking Light.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, about 2 large
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced and rinsed well
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground merkén
  • 4 cups (960 ml) vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • shaved fresh Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
  • flat leaf parsley
  • ground merkén
  1. Scrub the sweet potatoes clean and prick them all over with a fork. Microwave according to your manufacturers directions until the potatoes are tender. Cool slightly and peel.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the pot and swirl it around. Add the leeks and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the cumin, merkén, vegetable stock, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the sweet potatoes, mashing in gently. Puree the soup with the immersion blender and allow to simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese, parsley, and merkén to taste.
More Information

4-quart heavy bottom pot with lid
immersion blender or regular blender

Recipe Notes

The original recipe from Cooking Light calls for microwaving the potatoes to save time on a busy weeknight. I skip the water bath for the potatoes and just microwave them au natural. I also use leeks instead of onions, vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and skip the bacon altogether for a meatless dish. Though I must say it’s fabulous with bacon, too.


More Healthy Recipes with Sweet Potatoes

Curried Peanut, Sweet Potato, and Tomato Soup (The Kids Cook Monday) - Andrea Meyers Sweet Potato, Chicken, and Spinach Curry with Quinoa - Andrea Meyers From the Pantry: Thai Yellow Curry Paste (Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, and Broccoli Curry) - Andrea Meyers

More Recipes with Sweet Potatoes From Other Blogs

[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.]

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