This healthy vegan sweet potato soup is creamy and rich, with aromas of curry and cinnamon. It gets topped with garlicky kale, sweet apples and peanuts for what has to be one of the best flavor combinations ever!

Easy vegan sweet potato soup

You know how grain bowls are all the rage? Well, in the dead of winter, you need a soup bowl. What’s a soup bowl, you ask? Good question, since I just made it up. Basically, you take the same concept of a grain bowl, which layers grains with different flavors and textures (and which you can read all about in my book, Build-a-Bowl), but here the base is a thick and creamy (but vegan) sweet potato soup, which gets topped with a mound of rice, frizzled kale, tart green apples and crunchy peanuts. The soup is delicious on its own (that’s how my kids prefer it), but it’s made even better by the toppings!

Overhead shot of vegan sweet potato soup in a bowl topped with rice, kale, apples and peanuts.

Sweet potato soup with kale

Whenever I have leftover soup for lunch, I almost always slide in cooked grains, greens, and/or a handful of salad (which I usually make to serve on the side, but inevitably end up dumping in the soup). The greens brighten up the soup, and the grains add substance. I always felt like this was some strange food fetish (like how I like to eat with my hands when nobody is watching), but then I realized that liquids have been joyfully mingling with grains and greens for centuries (think Thai curries over rice, Italian stews with farro, Vietnamese pho with rice noodles and fresh herbs…). Duh!

Close up of a ladle scooping the sweet potato soup out of a pot.

Curried sweet potato soup

The soup base is so simple, but filled with flavor. Sweet potatoes and green apple create a sweet and silky soup with undertones of ginger and curry (if you’re not into curry powder, the soup is still delicious without it). The sweetness of the soup is counterbalanced by a tangle of garlicky, slightly caramelized kale, and a big spoonful of rice (quinoa would also be great). A sprinkle of peanuts (or pecans or pepitas) and minced green apple lend a salty-sweet-tart crunch. It’s pretty much my lunchtime—or anytime—nirvana. Just don’t judge if you see me eating bits of kale off my soup with my hands. Or hell, give it a try. People have been doing it for centuries.

Plate of sauteed kale, to garnish the soup.
Close up side view of a bowl of the vegan curried sweet potato soup.

How long will the soup keep?

The soup gets even better with time and can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months!

Substitutions you can make to this recipe

  • You can use butter in place of the coconut oil.
  • The sweet potatoes can be swapped out for winter squash.
  • I like to use a mix of broth and water, as too much broth can overpower the other flavors. Look for a light vegetable broth, or use chicken broth if you’re not vegetarian. You can also make the soup with just water!
  • The toppings are optional but provide fabulous flavor and texture!

Make it a grain bowl!

This is an addendum. Yesterday I went to warm up a bowl of soup for lunch, but realized that my two-year-old had stolen most of it for her lunch (damn kids). Instead, I flipped the soup bowl on its head and started with a base of quinoa, followed by the frizzled kale, then a drizzle of the soup as a sauce over top, along with toasted peanuts. Heavens to Betsy!  The soup is also a killer sauce for grain bowls!

Overhead shot of a grain bowl with quinoa, sauteed kale, sweet potato sauce and peanuts.

Other soups to try:

Get the recipe!

Curried Sweet Potato Soup Bowls with Frizzled Greens, Apples & Peanuts (Vegan)

This silky and thick vegan sweet potato and apple soup gets topped with rice, garlicky frizzled kale, chopped roasted nuts and tart green apple. The soup is delicious on its own, but made even better by the toppings. The recipe calls for cooked rice or quinoa, which you’ll want to start at same time as the soup, so that it’s ready for you (it’s also a great way to use up leftovers). Look for a light vegetable broth (or you can use chicken broth if you're not vegetarian), as dark broths can overpower the other flavors (you can also use all water!).

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword curried sweet potato soup, easy vegan soup recipe, healthy sweet potato soup recipe, vegan sweet potato soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Nicki Sizemore

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion (or 1 large leek), diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes), peeled and diced
  • ¼ green apple, cored and diced
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 ¾ cups water, plus more as needed

For the toppings:

  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 6 large kale leaves, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • Cooked rice or quinoa, for serving
  • ½ green apple, cored and very finely chopped
  • Chopped toasted peanuts, pecans or pepitas, for serving

Instructions

  1. For the soup, melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, about 3-5 minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and cinnamon. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sweet potatoes and apple, and stir to coat. Pour in the broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are nice and soft, about 10 minutes.

  3. Puree the soup in a blender (or you can use a hand blender), adding more water if needed to thin. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

  4. For the frizzled kale, heat the oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook 10 seconds. Drop in the kale (stand back, it might sputter!), and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring every now and again, until the kale is browned and crisp in spots, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate or bowl.
  5. To serve, ladle the soup into wide, shallow bowls. Top with a mound of rice or quinoa (I use an ice cream scoop). Pile the frizzled kale on top, and sprinkle with the finely chopped apples and nuts.

Recipe Notes

Do Ahead: The soup (without the toppings) can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. 

Tips:

  • You can puree this soup in a blender or with a hand blender. I adore my Vitamix, which creates an incredibly silky texture. 
  • You can use butter in place of the coconut oil.
  • The sweet potatoes can be swapped out for winter squash.
  • I like to use a mix of broth and water, as too much broth can overpower the other flavors. Look for a light vegetable broth, or use chicken broth if you’re not vegetarian. You can also make the soup with just water!
  • The toppings are optional but provide fabulous flavor and texture!