This creamy Caribbean inspired sweet potato soup is a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, and full of Caribbean flavors: allspice, thyme, ginger, coconut milk, and hot peppers! Perfect for lunch on a cold day.
This Caribbean-inspired sweet potato soup is another creamy, comforting soup. With deep and earthy spices, spicy jalapeno, creamy coconut milk and sweet potatoes it is unique and absolutely delicious!
Reasons to ♡ this Caribbean inspired sweet potato soup
- it's vegan, gluten-free, and nourishing
- simple ingredients create bold flavors
- it's great for meal prep (and tastes better on day 2!), and freezes well
Wondering how this Caribbean sweet potato soup comes together? Watch this 1-minute video to see how easy it is to prep! You can find more recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
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History + cultural significance
Through the many islands of the Caribbean, you will find a variety of soups and stews, with a melting pot of influences including indigenous, African, European and East Indian (1).
The history of food in the Caribbean should be acknowledged: Owners of slaves brought over from Africa sought to feed them in the cheapest way possible, using beans, starches and the cheap cuts of meats (2). Using cooking techniques brought over from Africa, and both local and imported ingredients, Caribbean cuisine has become an incredible melting pot of flavors that is completely unique!
This Caribbean-inspired soup recipe is far from authentic, but is inspired by some of my favorite Caribbean flavors: allspice and ginger, hot peppers, coconut milk and sweet potatoes. Together they work to create a uniquely delicious soup that I think you're going to love!
- sweet potatoes- many Caribbean recipes use the calabaza pumpkin, which is similar to the kabocha squash. Either would be a suitable alternative to the sweet potato in this recipe.
- jalapeno- traditional Caribbean recipes use scotch bonnet peppers, but they are extremely hot! If you are a spice-lover, feel free to swap, but start with just a small amount of scotch bonnet in the soup, discarding the seeds and membrane (use gloves and wash the cutting board well!)
- coconut milk- the coconut milk gives this soup a distinctive tropical flavor and creamy texture; I do not recommend skipping. For an ultra creamy soup, you could swap for coconut cream
Building the flavor base
We begin by sauteeing the onions in olive oil to start the flavor base of this soup. Cook until soft and translucent, then add in fresh ginger, garlic and our dried spices (allspice, thyme leaves, ground coriander, curry powder, ground ginger, nutmeg and salt).
Taking the time to sautee the spices helps activate them and deepen the flavors of the soup. I recommend having them all measured out before adding, and to stir the pot constantly so that you don't burn them.
Finally, add in the broth, jalapeno, celery and sweet potatoes.
Add coconut milk last
After cooking the ingredients until softened (15-20 minutes), we stir in the coconut milk and puree until smooth. I prefer to add the coconut milk last, as it can separate and become flaky if cooked too hot or too vigourously.
Using an immersion blender is an easy way to puree the soup, but if you don't have one, you could carefully transfer to a stand blender. Work in batches until the soup is fully pureed.
A note on spiciness
Jalapenos vary greatly in their spiciness, so use your best judgement in adding them. I recommend having a taste to see if the jalapeno is spicy before adding; sometimes I've needed 2 jalapenos to get heat, while other times 1 jalapeno has been very spicy.
In general I do remove the membrane and seeds before adding the jalapeno, but if the pepper was not spicy, I would try keeping the membrane on.
In the photos above, I've swirled some yogurt into the soup. To keep it vegan, consider adding coconut yogurt.
Other serving suggestions:
- garlic bread
- side salad
Storage + reheating
Like many soups, this one tastes even better on day 2, after all the ingredients have time to meld together.
- Fridge- cool completely, then store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days
- Freezer- freeze soup in plastic or glass jars
- Thaw- thaw overnight in the fridge, or at room temperature for several hours to speed the process up
- Reheat- heat in the microwave until steaming hot, or reheat in a pot on the stove over medium heat until warmed through
More soup recipes
- Healthier Beef Barley Soup
- Hearty Lentil Soup
- Thai Butternut Squash Soup
- Crockpot Mexican Chicken Stew
- Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup
- Crockpot Broccoli Turmeric Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger finely chopped or grated on a microplane
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 jalapeño deseeded, membranes removed and diced (see note 1)
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 rib celery chopped
- 4 cups sweet potato chopped into ¾ inch cubes
- 2-3 cups stock enough to *barely* cover the veggies
- 13.5 oz coconut milk 400 mL; full fat
- Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 or so minutes, until cooked through and translucent.
- While onion is cooking, combine all the spices in a small bowl (makes them easier to add!).
- Add the ginger, garlic and spices to the pot and cook for a minute, until nice and fragrant.
- Add the celery, sweet potato and stock (just enough to *barely* cover the veggies).
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 or so minutes, until sweet potato is cooked through.
- Stir in the coconut milk, then puree with an immersion blender.
- Taste for spice and salt and add more as needed (you could kick it up with some cayenne if it's not spicy enough for you).
- swap sweet potato for butternut, kabocha or calabaza squash
- swap coconut milk for coconut cream for an ultra creamy soup
- swap jalapeno for scotch bonnet peppers- but only if you know what you're doing (they are very hot- proceed with caution!)
- cool completely before storing in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days
- portion out into plastic or glass jars and freeze for up to 3 months
- thaw soup overnight in the fridge if frozen
- reheat over medium heat in a pot on the stove for 10 minutes, or until warmed through
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