Immune Boosting Sweet Potato & Pear Soup

A lovely combination of warming, seasonal foods – this makes an excellent immune-boosting lunch or light-dinner.  Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin C, beta-carotene – both important nutrients in warding off colds & flus.  In chinese medicine, sweet potato is strengthening to the spleen and helps build “qi” (internal energy).

The recipe is originally from the LCBO Food & Drink magazine, but I modified a few of the ingredients so that it is dairy-free, and I have added white beans, hemp heart and pumpkin seed garnish for extra protein.  Added immune boosting bonus- pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc, which studies show can help reduce the duration and severity of viral infections:)

1 tbsp (15 mL) coconut oil
1 small onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced 

1/4 cup chopped (50 mL) chopped celery      Immune boosting sweet potato and pear soup

1/4 cup chopped carrot

3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 pears, peeled and diced

1 cup cooked, drained and rinsed no-salt added white beans (cannelini or navy)
1 tsp  fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp (or to taste) cayenne
5 cups (1.25 L) chicken broth (low salt canned or homemade)

2 tsp (10 mL) maple syrup, or to taste
2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1. In a pot, heat coconut oil on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery and sauté for 1 minute. Add sweet potatoes, beans, pears and thyme and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add paprika, cayenne and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until sweet potato is soft.

2. Purée with a hand blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pot.

3. Add maple syrup and lime juice. Simmer for 5 minutes. If soup is too thick add a little extra broth.

4. Season with salt and pepper, adding more syrup or lime juice as needed. Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.

5. For pumpkin and hemp seed garnish – toss together 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup hemp hearts, 1-2 tsp of pure maple syrup, 1/2 tsp powdered ginger (or grated fresh ginger root), and a generous pinch of course sea salt or himalayan salt.  Spread seeds out on a baking sheet, and roast in a 375 oven, checking frequently, until nice and toasty!  Garnish soup with seeds, and freshly chopped cilantro.



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