Sweet Potato Coconut Thai Curried Soup: Gluten Free and Vegan

by Jenn on March 22, 2011

in Dairy Free,Gluten Free,Soups,Vegetarian

Sweet Potato Coconut Thai Curried Soup

I love sweet potatoes.  Maybe it comes from growing up in New England, where sweet potato and squash dishes of all kinds are peppered throughout my childhood and my memories.  I’ll eat them mashed and baked into a sweet casserole, just roasted plain in the oven, made into chips, fries; pretty much any way you can serve them, I’m fairly sure I will enjoy them.  I know sweet potato isn’t a squash, but I often place it in the same category as squashes when it comes to flavors – the warm almost sweetness that caramelizes ever so slightly upon cooking lends it to working so well in many dishes where squash would normally be the star.

Living en Suisse, I had long since resigned myself to just having to accept the fact that I probably would not be able to enjoy sweet potatoes while I was here – I’ve never seen any in the markets, nor even my neighborhood grocery store.  Well, until last weekend, when lo and behold there appeared out of thin air a wonderful box of U.S.A.-grown sweet potatoes just begging for me to pick them up and put them into my basket; I was absolutely giddy with myself for being able to eat one of my favorite vegetables again.

Such a special occasion as having tasty sweet potatoes demands a special dish.  I wanted something I could enjoy bowl after bowl after bowl.  And we have!  My husband and I have been enjoying this soup for the past 3 days straight, and I can honestly tell you we are both looking forward to eating more, we haven’t gotten the least bit tired of it yet!

I do have to confess, before this weekend I had never paired sweet potato and coconut before – but I thought they should work, as squash and coconut often marry well – coconut is not just for dessert you know – and no amount of coconut cream pies requested by my husband (and he does request a lot!) will change the fact that I love coconut in savory dishes just as much as (probably more than)  I do in sweet ones.  Coconut just mellows and blends together whatever it cooks with – want to have heat and tang of chillies but not have to burn all the tastebuds off our tongue to enjoy it?  Or smooth out sharp spices to enjoy their maximum flavor? I promise coconut is the answer – not by any particularly scientific inquiry of mine, just my personal experience.

This soup was all about blending flavors – coconut milk, sweet red peppers, lots of chillies and aromatics, and of course, sweet potatoes. Heck, this soup was all about blending period, as I used my immersion blender for the first time ever.  I can’t believe it took me so long to remember to take advantage of it, it’s such an incredibly useful tool that came as an attachment to my hand-mixer.  I have long used my food processor to purée soups and was always disappointed that I never could get everything smoothed out.  You still could use a food processor for this soup, but if you have an immersion blender, this is the perfect dish to embrace it!

So I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we have – if you haven’t had coconut in savory dishes, this is definitely one to try – and if you think sweet potatoes were only for Thanksgiving, you are very much mistaken :)

Come have a bowl with me – a bowl of rich flavorful, stick with you through the day, vibrant and spicy sweet potato soup.

Sweet Potato Coconut Thai Curried Soup

And yes, that is coconut whipped cream I have garnished with here – a really easy guide to making it can be found on Nutty Kitchen.

I am also submitting this post to Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free hosted by Linda of Gluten Free Homemaker – the theme this month is seasonal soups, either in season or out of season. Honestly I don’t think there is a sweet potato season in Switzerland, and I’m guessing Springtime is not their season where they are grown either, so I guess I will call this an out of season soup. I imagine sweet potatoes as an Autumn vegetable, but only because of my memories of Thanksgiving – thoughts??!


Also submitted to Gluten Free Wednesdays


Sweet Potato/Coconut Thai Curried Soup

Adapted from YumUniverse
Preptime: 20 minutes to chop everything
Total time: 2 hours
Special Equipment Needed: immersion blender

  • 8 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 medium sized onions, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 2 tsp. ginger, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 200g (1/2 lb.) mushrooms of your choice, diced
  • a few generously sized spoonfuls of Thai red curry paste depending on your taste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 L coconut milk


  1. Preheat an oven to 190º C (375º F).  Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for an hour or until soft.
  2. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and peel them (you may want to let them cool a little, they are hot – I just peeled them with my hands), then mash with a fork.
  3. In a large stockpot, heat oil on medium-high heat.  When hot, add in onions, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger, and let cook until fragrant and translucent.
  4. Add to the soup bell peppers, mushrooms, and curry paste and let cook about 5 more minutes, stirring every couple minutes to make sure everything is flavored well with the curry paste.
  5. Pour in the water, bring back to a simmer, then remove from heat.  Remove the lemongrass from the soup (but keep because we’ll be adding it back in later) and use the immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot.
  6. Add in the mashed sweet potato and coconut milk, and use the immersion blender to purée again the soup so that everything is smooth.
  7. Return the lemongrass to the soup and place the soup back on the stove – bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook at a low simmer for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop.
  8. Serve with a side of steamed sticky rice, or just enjoy plain in a bowl.  Enjoy!



Adrian March 22, 2011 at 9:57 pm

You can find sweet potatoes at the stand that sells tropical fruits just up from Globus has them. They vary in quality, but sometimes they were quite good. I am not sure if they always carry them, though it seemed that way to me.

The soup looks and sounds delicious — reminds me of a pumpkin and coconut milk soup I had in Cambodia.

Jenn March 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm

hmm, I will have to check that out! it would be great if I can buy sweet potatoes regularly, thanks!

stephanie March 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I love a good thai curried soup. We tried one with winter squash but the potatoes are a great idea!

Jenn March 23, 2011 at 12:00 am

Thanks! This was my first time sweet potatoes and curry before too, I really liked it :)

AmandaonMaui March 22, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Wow, this looks so good. I pair coconut milk and sweet potatoes in this Indian Curry dish I make. It’s scrumptious. I always bust out the BIG pot when I make it because there’s never enough.

Jenn March 23, 2011 at 12:01 am

Thanks – ha I’ve made it twice now – the first time was only half of what I have listed here, but I realized very quickly I needed to double the recipe – so far it reheats quite well too.

Rosa March 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm

That soup is splendid and so is this pairing!



Jenn March 23, 2011 at 12:03 am

Thanks Rosa!

Lana March 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm

LOL! I have one bowl left after we ate similar soup for a couple of days! I loved the balance of tastes, and it was perfect for chilly California days (I know, I know, but it was not 25C, and I tend to complain:)
Sweet potatoes go so well with coconut milk, chilis and cilantro. Just perfect.
I am the opposite from you: I have not even tried sweet potatoes until I moved to US, but cannot imagine not using them now.

Jenn March 23, 2011 at 12:10 am

ha, I would consider 25C a heat wave! They do go very well together, don’t they?

Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) March 23, 2011 at 1:09 am

These look wonderful. I just made a dish last night with similar flavors – roasted sweet potatoes with coconut oil. (Will blog about it later this week.) I love the combo. I have never had luck finding lemongrass. My local supermarkets don’t seem to carry them. But this looks sooo good, I will have to check again. Thanks for sharing!

Jenn March 23, 2011 at 8:15 am

Thanks!! Hmm I wonder if you can try without the lemongrass – there is usually lemongrass already in most Thai curry pastes – it might not be as prevalent, but should still be there a little bit if you can’t find any…

Jeanette March 23, 2011 at 1:44 am

I love Thai flavors, so fragrant and exotic, especially in soups. This one sounds wonderful. I’ve used similar flavors in a lentil sweet potato soup and winter squash soup.

Jenn March 23, 2011 at 8:18 am

Thanks! Oh a lentil sweet potato soup sounds wonderful!

Heather Crosby March 23, 2011 at 3:59 am

This looks fantastic, thank you for adapting the YumUniverse recipe to bring this creation into the culinary world! Can’t wait to try it.

Jenn March 23, 2011 at 8:21 am

Oh you’re welcome, thanks so much for sharing it! Sometime I will have to try it as you made it, with the sweet potato dumplings :)

Sanjeeta kk March 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

A spicy treat for another sweet potato lover! Have never tried any Thai soup before and this gives a good reason to try it soon. Looks oh..so yum. Came here following your tweet :)

Jenn March 23, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Thanks – I hope you enjoy it!

InTolerantChef March 23, 2011 at 10:25 am

I quite often make a similar recipe to this with pumpkin, but will love to use sweet potato too. Thanks for the great link and tip for whipped coconut cream.

Jenn March 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Thanks! Yeah I didn’t even know one could make whipped cream from coconut milk before this weekend, definitely something I will have to keep in mind for future recipes too :)

Amanda L. (Tales from a Kitchen Misfit) March 24, 2011 at 1:54 am

This soup looks delicious! Some of my favorite ingredients in there!

Jenn March 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm


Simone March 24, 2011 at 11:32 am

Believe it or not; I had my first sweet potatoe about a few weeks ago. It’s something that has only recently appeared here and before I just never had the chance to try them. What I have tasted sofar does taste promising and this soup looks really good.

Jenn March 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Ha perfect timing then :) Thanks Simone!

Lisa@bakedinmaine.com March 24, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Gorgeous soup with fabulous ingredients. Looks soooo healthy too!

I used to think of sweet potato as a fall dish but now I believe it’s season-less..


Jenn March 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Thanks Lisa – interesting to know about the seasonality of sweet potatoes – which is a good thing because I love them :)

winnie March 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm

As I read your story and recipe, my mouth started to salivate. Yum. I love this aromatic pairing. I’ve tried mashing sweet potatoes with coconut butter instead of regular butter before. Have to admit I’ve never tried to make soup with sweet potatoes. What a yummy idea. Will have to try this on my kids this tonight. Thanks. wl

Jenn March 25, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Thanks, I hope you enjoy it!

Aubree Cherie March 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Hi Jenn,

This is such a decadent looking soup! And I love anything with sweet potato and coconut :) I’ve added this recipe to My Fav Recipes from Last Week post.

Thanks! ~Aubree Cherie

Jenn March 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Oh cool, thanks Aubree!

Linda March 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I’m not sure if I’ve ever paired sweet potato and coconut, but it sounds like a perfect combination. What a great flavorful soup. I’m glad for you that you found those sweet potatoes, and that you remembered to use your immersion blender. It’s great for soups. Thanks for participating in Go Ahead Honey.

Jenn March 29, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Thanks Linda and thanks for hosting GAHIGF, was a perfect theme for this month!

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 29, 2011 at 8:06 pm

This sounds fantastic! I cannot get enough sweet potato and will defintiely bookmark this to try!

I like to slice them like fries and bake the oven with coconut butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Or put them in a sweet potato pie-inspired smoothie. The sky is the limit!

Jenn March 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Thanks! ooh I haven’t made fries sweet like that, great idea!

gourmet March 30, 2011 at 11:18 am

Looks very delicious. I think I have to check that out.

Jenn March 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm


AmandaonMaui April 1, 2011 at 8:03 am

This was awesome!

Jenn April 1, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Oh thanks so much, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!

Maca April 14, 2011 at 12:26 am

Hi! i really look forward doing this recipe! but, ive never worked with curry, so i was wondering, how many spoons of curry should i use??

Jenn April 14, 2011 at 12:27 am

Thanks! The answer to your question really depends on the brand of curry paste that you use (some are spicer than others) and what level of flavor you enjoy. I’d recommend adding a tablespoon at a time and taking a little taste to see what you like best.

Harv April 19, 2011 at 5:59 am

Excellent! I made a half recipe of this without the mushrooms (not a fungus fan), and used dried lemongrass (three 3-inch stalks soaked for 5 min in warm water before adding to the pot) and about a tablespoon of red curry paste. Also discovered that an immersion blender works much better when *completely* immersed. I appreciated this soup much more than my cabinets did! 😉 If you’re looking for another good sweet potato recipe, check out http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/11/sweet-potatoes-with-pecans-and-goat-cheese/

Jenn April 19, 2011 at 7:47 am

Haha yes I made that mistake at first too! Glad you enjoyed the soup!

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