Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that as we grow older, eating becomes more tiring? First world problems I know but whew! After this past weekend I still feel like I’m in a food coma. In general, I eat pretty healthy throughout the year so I think my body just shuts down when affronted with so much fat and sugar. I love pigging out over the holidays, but I was really craving something healthy. This Japanese-inspired Asian Sesame Sweet Potato Squash Soup was just what I needed after an overly indulgent weekend.
Over the years I’ve made every variation of sweet potato and squash: roasted, mashed, baked. This holiday season, I really wanted to try something new. Butternut squash soup is popular, but I decided to add sweet potato, to bring out the sweetness of the squash. I had to keep this soup dairy free, so I used a bit of miso instead of cream for a richer taste. Building on this Asian-inspired flavour, I included some mirin (sweet cooking wine) to add acidity to the dish. For the garnish I topped with toasted sesame seeds and nori (dried seaweed) for a bit of salty crunch.
Festive and easy to prepare, I loved this healthy, hearty soup on a cold, winter’s night. The nori, mirin and miso can be found in the Asian aisle of a big chain supermarket, or at any Asian grocery store. If you don’t want to buy a whole bottle of mirin, you can substitute for sake and keep on drinking this holiday season!
Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
- 1 " piece of fresh ginger peeled and chopped
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, seeds removed and diced
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
- ¼ cup mirin sweet cooking wine
- 2 tbsp light miso paste
- 5 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 6 snack size sheets of nori dried seaweed
- 3 teaspoons sesame seeds
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat sesame oil in a large pot or saute pan on medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and ginger until softened, about 2 minutes. Add squash and sweet potato and sauté 1 minute longer.
Whisk together mirin and miso paste. Add to vegetables along with chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree soup until smooth. Return to pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a toaster oven or in a small pan on the stove top over low heat.
Serve and top with toasted sesame seeds and pieces of nori.