sweet potato-greens-sage soup, adapted with love

‘CAN I HAVE YOUR RECIPE?’ friends ask each other, back and forth after delicious meals served with love and hopefully a side order of tasty conversation. But so often it’s not “my” recipe, or “yours” that’s on the table, but one that we have found in a cookbook that became identified with us by those we served it to—friends and family who ask us to make “our” dish again. The actual provenance, though, remains the same: “My” sweet potato-greens soup with sage and garlic is actually Anna Thomas’s Green Soup With Sweet Potatoes and Sage, from her James Beard Award-winning cookbook, “Love Soup.” I bought more copies of that great book to share with you, reminded by (and grateful for) the latest pot of soup I made for the freezer this week, like this:

You’ll notice that I said sweet potato-greens soup in the headline, though Anna Thomas’s original has it the other way round, with the greens first. I suspect her soup is greener in color than mine comes out, too. That why I say mine is an adaptation (that, and the fact that once I read a recipe and follow it the first time, I rarely look again, and just keep on adapting).

my version of sweet potato-greens soup with sage

Note: This soup freezes very well, but as with all soups, I refrigerate it for a day first to let the flavors meld.


  • 1¼-2 pounds sweet potatoes (Anna recommends 1¼; I use about 2 to shift the flavor and color balance)
  • 1½  tsp. sea salt
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. sage leaves chopped
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch chard
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • black pepper
  • really good olive oil for garnish


Peel and cube the sweets, and put them with the chopped sage and the salt in a big pot, adding 3 cups or so of water over them, and simmering, covered, till soft.

Meantime saute the diced onions till soft and golden brown, in the olive oil.

Chop the washed greens coarsely while all that’s happening.

Add the greens and the whole garlic cloves and the broth to the sweet potato mixture, and let that all soften by simmering awhile longer, covered.

Add the cooked onions. (I deglaze the onion pan with a bit of the broth to get all the good flavor from the oil and onion bits, wasting nothing.)

Let the mixture cool enough to blend thoroughly. Using an immersion blender right in the pot, I puree the soup, and adjust the liquid if needed.

And then, as Anna Thomas says, drizzle with a fruity olive oil before serving. “This last step is essential,” she reminds us. Agreed. Drizzle away, and enjoy.

(I saw a variation Anna Thomas did on the “Eating Well” website, with spinach instead of chard and the choice of Japanese yams or sweet potatoes. You can find that one here if you happen to be long in spinach at the moment.)


how to win a copy of ‘love soup’

I’M CRAZY ABOUT BOOKS, and especially cookbooks (and field guides, and novels, and garden books, and … oh dear). Anna Thomas’s “Love Soup” is as good as it gets–about one of my favorite dishes, soup, and vegetarian and good-for-you fresh to boot. The million-selling author of “The Vegetarian Epicure” wrote another winner, and I gave away some copies when it first came out, but why not do it again? Just answer this question in the comments below to enter:

What’s the most popular soup in your house, and where did the original recipe come from?

Feeling shy (or no soup in the house)? Just say, “Count me in,” and I will.

Two winners will be chosen at random after entries close at midnight Sunday, October 21. Good luck to all.

(Disclaimer: Any small commissions I earn from purchases made from Amazon links in this post go to purchasing the books I buy to give away.)

October 13, 2012


  1. Aliesha Alexandar says

    I make a French Winter Soup from a recipe I got at my local farm store in the Puyallup Valley. I can vary the veggies and broth to make a completely different flavor.

  2. Jessica Ferlaak says

    Oh I love soup! We make a large pot of bone broth (from chicken and beef mostly) and slow cook it for about 24 hours or more to really get all the nutrients and minerals out. It has a lovely flavor and a great base for soups which I’ve been making on a weekly basis. Soups vary each time but I love soup with butternut squash or broccoli in it. Just finished a pot of cream of broccoli soup (creaminess from full fat organic coconut milk, cauliflower, and rutabegas), and pureed (my toddler loves the pureed soups, he’s perfected his slurping! :) )

  3. Cary Bradley says

    We love Anna Thomas’ veg cookbooks from the olden days. First veg cookbook I ever bought! We adore soup and would love to read her soup book. Difficult to pick a favorite soup, but chicken and rice is a show stopper, pea soup has all the kids at church thinking I am otherworldly (from 20 years ago!), and beans, greens, and artisan sausage makes us weak in the knees.

  4. Ellen says

    We love a spicy Sichuan carrot soup that’s warming in the winter and equally yummy in the summer chilled. The point of departure was a chilled soup recipe from Eating Well magazine. I always leave out the milk, and usually add more ginger. It’s a recipe that does well with a few added spice accents, too.

  5. Joyce Gallivan says

    My Mothers recipe for Chicken soup with “noodles” made from semolina and an egg. We grate the noodles over a sheet, let dry, and add to soup. Its always been very comforting .

  6. Mary says

    Quite often soup or some kind of stew is my go to meal. I make my own vegetable broth by putting all my cast off veg pieces in a freezer bag. Recently my neighbor had a bunch of coconuts and I added the fruit of the coconuts to my veg for a fabulous broth! WOULD LOVE the LOVE SOUP cookbook!

  7. Carol says

    What soup don’t we love? Chicken soup with loads of escarole in it, pea soup, turkey soup, butternut squash soup, Italian Wedding Soup
    …you name it!

  8. Denisa says

    I make a lentil lemon soup with either spinach or kale. Got the recipe decades ago from a friend who considered himself the soup king.

  9. says

    Oh I must have this book as I love soup. I think the most popular is good old fashioned chicken soup with the recipe from my mom. But we are trying new soups all the time. We eat soup all year round and we only make our own. No more canned soup for me. Thanks for the opportunity to possibly win the book.

  10. Rebecca Whitaker says

    While my favorite is butternut squash soup, my family loves my grandmother’s soup recipe I make once or twice a year after a turkey dinner. As children they named it “Skeleton Soup” because the entire turkey carcass boils in a big pot after most of the meat has been removed after a traditional holiday dinner. After simmering for an hour or so, the bones are carefully strained out & an array of chopped vegetables are added to the broth & simmered until tender. Seasoned with salt, pepper, sage & thyme. Cool it down & freeze portions in large freezer bags to enjoy throughout the winter. As adults now, they always ask for this if anyone gets a cold!

  11. Jannette says

    We love Potato and Leek soup at our house. I found the recipe online and tried it and it is delicious. I use the immersion mixer with it and everyone loves the velvety texture.

  12. Sharon says

    I make Tomato Lentil Soup from Rosso & Lukins’ New Basic Cookbook. To make it dinner in a bowl, I double the lentils, increase the veggies by adding carrots, and often add a link of turkey kielbasa for the last half of the cooking time. The recipe is flavored with red wine and garlic, and the surprise flavor ingredient: a small amount of cloves. Everyone loves it. Great with cornbread and a salad.

    Your recipe variation looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to make it, maybe even tonight! The book sounds great, I’d love to win it. Thanks, Margaret!

  13. Carol says

    Would love to win this book! Cooler weather is on the doorstep and I need to start making soup. Chicken soup with lots of escarole is one of our favorites.

  14. Betsy says

    My favorite soup is made when I have some odds and ends of veggies and there’s been a cold snap to the weather. I always start with garlic and onions, sautéed – most recently these were accompanied by three lovely leeks from the farmer’s market . Then I added chopped carrots and celery and a few sweet red peppers that had not found their way into the last stir fry. I had some marinated grilled veggies which were chopped and added along with some leftover gluten free rotini and some sautéed greens,garlic and cannelini beans from the previous evening. I used only water to marry all the ingredients. So delicious but , sadly, unrepeatable!

  15. Dawn Mathewson says

    The three men in my house can’t get enough of home made chicken noodle soup when the weather gets cool. I freeze left over vegetables & use the roaster carcass to make broth. Credit goes to Mom!

  16. Nancy says

    Favorite? I love all soups but I have to say that Carrot with Tarragon is one of the top 3. I had it at a bar in Seattle and when I got home I worked out my own recipe. Yum!

  17. says

    Our family favorite over the years (all 4 kids are grown now) has always been chicken noodle soup, with Chicken-n-Dumplings from the old Fannie Farmer cookbook a close second. Even with a child allergic to milk, the dumplings turn out great made with soy milk. But the chicken soup is the go-to soup every time someone has a bad cold or stomach upset. One last minute amazing stir-in for each bowl, that I discovered in a Sunset Magazine recipe, is Ginger-Garlic Paste: in food processor whirl together about 3/4 c. peeled & coarsely chopped fresh ginger, 3 cloves garlic, 3 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar until very smooth (makes about 1/2 cup). What flavor!

  18. says

    spicy ginger butternut soup…perfect for the cold day. thanks for the ‘chance’ for a great book to join my other choice books. they make a happy crowd.

  19. Jenna says

    I am a proud Minnesotan. For me, it’s all about wild rice soup. I use a recipe that my mom received years ago from the chef at Lutsen Resort on the North Shore of Lake Superior while we were on a family vacation. Imagine eating a warm, hearty bowl of soup with great chunky bread while looking out at a lake as big as a sea, as large waves crash up on the rocky shore. So often food memories are tied to special places and times. Yes, a favorite recipe indeed.

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