Not that there’s anything wrong with the brown sugar and marshmallow treatment, but this Thanksgiving, might we suggest an altogether fresher take on sweet potatoes: this velvety ginger- and coconut-infused soup from Virtue’s Erick Williams. “Puréed vegetable soups tend to be a lot lighter while giving the same wow factor as hearty soups,” he says. “That makes them perfect before a larger meal.” Garnish with crab or shrimp, or keep it vegetarian with chopped pecans and shredded coconut.

Erick Williams’s Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

Yield:4 servings
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:1 hour

2 Tbsp. Coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 Sweet onion, diced
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. Grated fresh ginger
½ tsp. Salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp. Freshly cracked black pepper
4 cups Peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (about 2 medium ones)
¼ Jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups Water
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
4 Tbsp. Orange honey (or 3 Tbsp. regular honey and 1 tsp. orange zest)
  Chopped toasted pecans, for garnish
  Toasted shredded coconut, for garnish
  Minced parsley, for garnish


Cooking the potatoes

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent but not browned, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper, and cook another 5 to 6 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and jalapeños, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water and bring mixture to a light simmer. Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.


Blending the potato mixture

Let mixture cool to room temperature, then add the coconut milk and honey. Working in batches, carefully pour the mixture into a blender and blend, starting on the lowest setting and gradually increasing to the highest, until smooth. As you’re blending, hold down the lid with a towel in case the soup expands and pushes the lid off.


Finished soup

Transfer mixture back to pot and warm over medium heat. Add salt to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls, and garnish with pecans, coconut, and parsley.