Sometimes I wonder about my moral integrity.

You see, right now I’m pretty mad at Patrick Dempsey (aka McDreamy aka Derek Shepherd) for the way he’s treating Meredith.

True, she has a totally annoying whiny voice and a totally obnoxious way of being introspective at the most inopportune times and her hair really isn’t even all that great all the time.  But are you really going to let a clinical trial that probably wasn’t going to make it past Phase I anyway stand in the way of true love?

(Derek – get with the program!)


Anyways, I went to bed last night being all “GIRL POWER” and “CHICKS BEFORE D*CKS”.  (Us women in medicine need to stick together, after all.)

And woke up to the horrific realization that my subconscious (without consulting me first, mind you) had gone and thrown all of these very virtuous mantras to the wind in lieu of an REM-induced make out session with Mr. Dempsey himself.



I was shocked and appalled.

And needed something seriously wholesome to make up for all of the lascivious tendencies that apparently lie beneath any sense of decency I might have thought I had.

Enter this soup.  Given that it is filled with all that is good in this world (i.e. sweet potatoes and peanut butter and a hint of spice), it’s pretty ideal for righting any and all wrongs you may or may not have committed while you slept.

And it’ll probably do wonders for that sore throat that you woke up with.

Yeah, Patrick totally passed on some of his hospital germs to you in that little imaginary tryst you had.  Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?


Nutty Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Spinach
Serves 4, adapted from Vegetarian Times October 2011


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp harissa paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 5 oz baby spinach leaves


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add leeks and saute 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste, peanut butter, harissa, garlic, turmeric and cumin.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add sweet potatoes, broth and 1 1/2 cups water.  Simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
  2. Blend mixture with immersion blender, adding more water if soup is too thick.  Bring soup back to a simmer and stir in spinach leaves.

I am submitting this to Souper Sunday hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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95 Responses to Nutty Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Spinach

  1. Simply Life says:

    can I have a bowl of this while watching the next episode? Then I think everything would be right in the world.

  2. I have never used harissa paste before? Why oh why have i not known about this? Okay, i have known about it but never thought to grab the funny looking name tube before. After seeing this soup- just call me MS. Harissa because I am making this soup like tonight!

  3. That kind of sounds like a good night’s sleep to me:-) This soup sounds amazing- peanut butter and sweet potato all in one place, yes!

  4. Johanna GGG says:

    creamy nutty spicy sounds excellent – though you are welcome to the dreamy nutty spicy types in your dreams 🙂

  5. Sweet potatoes and peanut butter. NICE!

    I’m behind in Grey’s Anatomy, I’ve been watching it on Netflix and I’m only on season 3!

  6. girlichef says:

    Oh, I love the heat of Harissa…and I bet it pairs so perfectly with sweet potatoes. Pass me a big bowl!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I seriously need to make a nut soup, I’ve been meaning to forever.

  8. Candace says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen Harissa paste before. That’s awesome!

  9. Jeanette says:

    You are hilarious! What an interesting soup, sounds like a bowl of comfort.

  10. Agreed. Derek is being a jerk and the baby is really cute. Props to the Chief.
    The soup looks totally decadent and fabulous.

  11. Lyndsey says:

    I know…right? 🙂 Anyway this soup looks awesome, I like thick hearty soups like this. Funny I always add greens to my soups…pastas, and such…love it!

  12. Unusual but interesting flavours, looks mighty delicious though.

  13. marla says:

    I do not own any harissa…apparently I must now!! This thick soup looks amazing & I can never do enough with sweet potatoes 🙂

  14. sally says:

    I made a similar sweet potato and peanut soup recently, but stirred in a paste of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of harissa. It was a fantastic soup, so I’m look forward to trying this version.

    I’m a season behind on Grey’s Anatomy, so please don’t give too much away in your posts. 🙂

  15. Joanne says:

    The best part of Autumn is a meal like this. Hook up your usb cable, please, and send me tonight’s dinner!

  16. nice this is comforting.
    sweet potato is sooo good in soups.
    good flavor combo kid. proud of you on this one!

  17. Megan says:

    I’m pretty annoyed with McDreamy too… he needs to get over it already and get his family back together.

    This soup sounds perfect for this time of year.

  18. MM says:

    This soup sounds fantastic–all spicy and nutty. And if it can right wrongs, well, count me in on that too.

  19. Danielle says:

    This soup sounds amazing – I need to locate some harissa, the one store that I use to get it from stopped selling it b4 I had a chance to stock up.

  20. Sweet potatoes and peanut butter sounds plain awesome.

  21. Just got sweet potatoes in my CSA box today. This looks like a great way to use them!

  22. Adrienne says:

    This looks 100% delicious aka I need to make it immediately. By the way I tried to e-mail you a few days ago and it said your e-mail address didn’t exist…I wanted to ask you some questions and maybe get some schooling in the world of blogging!

  23. Ranjani says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of Meredith. McDreamy should be yours.

    I am a big fan of harissa though. Harissa + sweet potatoes = genius

  24. Tasha says:

    A soup with sweet potatoes, peanut butter, spinach and a little spice sounds like a soup I need to have in my life!

  25. Katelyn says:

    I had a very similar recipe for sweet potato soup I was going to make for this week that uses curry paste instead of harissa and some bell pepper, but I think this version sounds even better. I really like the idea of the leeks. So many great soups start with sauteed leeks.

  26. Amy says:

    Two things are clear: 1) I need to make this (with cashew butter, of course) and 2) I really need to start watching Grey’s Anatomy. Thank goodness for Netflix.

  27. betty says:

    It looks SO good and perfect for eating at the sofa while watching my favorite movie. I just love sweet potato and I think this soup will rock

  28. Foodycat says:

    This soup goes a long way in doing penance to the sisterhood for your subconscious floozy behaviour!

  29. Laura Jeanne says:

    This soup looks so good and much better than my eggs over easy with spinach for my lunch today. Love it.
    Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño

  30. Maria says:

    The weather has been much cooler and rainy here in Sydney again (where did our spring go??), so this soup sounds just perfect Joanne!

  31. Swathi says:

    I don’t know about Patrick Dempsey( I like him), but this soup is looks one to die for with enough spicy punch from harissa.

  32. Rachel says:

    There’s nothing like a rich, flavorful soup to get your mind off fictional male characters. Although, if your subconscious needs such dreams as inspiration for soups like this then I’m all for it!

  33. That soup looks phenomenal. No really. No exaggeration. Freakin yummy. Love the peanut butter.

  34. Kimberley says:

    Oh heck yes. Winning combination of flavors. (I feel like I always say that? Because it’s true.)

  35. That Girl says:

    Honestly, I’ve never been a McDreamy fan. But I don’t like Meredith either, so they can have each other.

  36. This soup sounds & looks dreamy..what gorgeous colors & flavor combos.Love the addition of harissa especially!

  37. Julie says:

    i stopped watching greys because the characters got WAY too annoying. like stupid annoying. i’m kind of glad plus p-demp’s hair was getting OUT OF CONTROL.

  38. tigerfish says:

    This thick creamy soup is substantial as a meal! And the thought of peanut butter with sweet potatoes is wacky good! Making this soup may take some time for me but maybe I can slather PB on roasted sweet potatoes? ;P

  39. Veronica says:

    I have never seen a single episode of Grey’s Anatomy but I agree with the nickname “McDreamy.” He is. 🙂 I envy your dream, even if he is being a jerk on the show right now. I’m going to get it on Netflix eventually, probably when the show is over like I did with Friends so I never have to wait for the next episode or season. WONDERFUL soup. I think that’s what I’m going to be making out with in my dreams tonight. 😉

  40. Hahahaha…Joanne, your posts always make me laught! Thanks for that and for such yummy and inspiring dishes!

    Camila Faria

  41. Mary says:

    This post totally cracks me up. I couldn’t agree more. Tell that man to get over it and let the couple just be happy already. I’m sick of the drama. Oh wait, it’s a tv show? It’s supposed to be dramatic? Huh. I guess I’ll just keep watching. I really do wish they could just stay happy for a full season. Just for once, it would be nice.

    I love that you picked just about the only show I truly follow!

    The soup looks great too. I’d never heard of Harissa before though. I now need to check that out too!

  42. Lori says:

    Brave soul admitting your racey dreams! Ha! I love sweet potatoes, I love soup, can’t go wrong with this one. Love the combo of flavors.

  43. bellini says:

    We will have to rename this soup Joann:D

  44. Barbara says:

    I’m still back on the eggplant/pasta dish. How fabulous is that recipe?!

    Anyway…sweet potatoes and pb sounds darn good to me. Wish I had some of that in my kitchen right now.

  45. Louanne says:

    I cannot wait to make this soup. I love the combo of sweet potatoes and spinach. Delicious.

  46. Looks like a fabulous soup! So many orange foods recently, Joanne, will you turn orange too? 😉

  47. Reeni says:

    The peanut butter and spice have me completely smitten! I just want to curl up with a big bowl full on a chilly fall night!

  48. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, Well, a girl can dream, can’t she? I know that I love to dream!
    Anyway, then reality sets in and I think who wants all that trouble that comes with those dreams!!
    Well, back to the soup! I love this combo, all wonderful and delicious ingredients and good for you too!!….Blessings to you my dear, Catherine xo

  49. yummy autumn combo and wow…until which episode have i watched the whole meredith n mcdreamy’s affair… i need to refresh my memory. what is it with meredith that makes all the guys drop their pants in her presence…maybe the hair is it.

  50. Pam says:

    So – was he a good kisser? Hee hee.

    The soup looks fantastic and flavorful…send me a bowl please!

  51. Carolyn Jung says:

    I think it was noble of the chief to take the fall for Meredith. I think McDreamy would be much calmer about the whole matter if he had some of your sweet potato soup to calm him down, too. 😉

  52. Sook says:

    Look at that creamy soup! Looks delicious.

  53. alana says:

    this so looks warming and delicious, like the kind of dish that gives you a big hug on the inside. mmm!

  54. This soup looks so pretty and sounds delicious! It really has such a beautiful color and makes you think of Fall!!

  55. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Looks like I am on my way to a most creamy and healthy soup ever!

  56. This soup looks so good and is so healthy! Love potato especially sweet, just had some last night; this is unusual with the peanut butter added, must try!

  57. Great looking soup, so much flavor. I need to try harissa!

  58. Shannon says:

    ooh, harissa isn’t something i’ve tried, but i’m intrigued! especially with peanut butter 🙂 yum…

  59. teresa says:

    haha! now that’s a good night’s sleep! i need to catch up on my grey’s. i also need to catch up with this soup. it sounds so delicious and warming, YUM!

  60. Erica says:

    This looks like such a delicious and hearty soup – perfect for the cooler weather. I’m looking forward to the soup and NOT the cooler weather, :)!

  61. Erica says:

    This looks like such a delicious and hearty soup – perfect for the cooler weather. I’m looking forward to the soup and NOT the cooler weather, :)!

  62. Esi says:

    It’s not quite soup weather yet here, but I’m getting excited to try some fun recipes.

  63. Nicole, RD says:

    Harissa paste…that’s a new one for me. Spicy?? This sounds so good. However, so does a make-out sesh with McDreamy. Don’t worry, I won’t steal your man…you had dibs on him first 😉

  64. Kalyn says:

    Patrick Dempsey is pretty awesome, but that show has gotten to be a bit *too* dramatic for me.

    Love the looks of your soup! I bet it tastes as good as it looks.

  65. This looks so hearty and full of good stuff! I love greens with anything spicy. Such a great mix.

  66. Queen Bitty says it’s your fault I spewed water on her from laughing and then made her watched Enchanted for a PD fix.

  67. Kelsey says:

    This post and recipe are both so awesome to me. I can’t wait to make this recipe in hopes it will being McDreamy to Dreamland.

  68. kankana says:

    ur post cracks me up all time .. u are funny 🙂
    This is perfect comforting soup with a nice flavor kick.

  69. Allison says:

    This soup looks b-a-n-a-n-a-s! I want some NOW.

  70. Love the thickness of this soup. Sounds so delicious and really, peanut butter in anything makes it totally amazeballs!

  71. Sweet potato, peanut butter and spice… Sign me up!

    … I wish I dreamed…

  72. Raina says:

    You are so funny! Patrick Dempsey is so dreamy! This soup looks dreamy too. I did wake up with a sore throat and wish I had this delicious healthy soup right now:)

  73. Katie says:

    This soup sounds just incredible. I’m such a big peanut butter-potato fan. Beautiful photographs too!

  74. You are a Culinary Goddess and Patrick doesn’t deserve you. Not even a little bit.

    Cheers! Donna

  75. I SO agree with you about Derek! Come on, now. Love the soup.

  76. I have not seen harissa paste in any of the supermarket I shop in. Maybe it is there and I did not know about it. Now I will be more observant:D I learn something new again today. I can see this bowl of soup is packed with gret flavors!

  77. What a bowl full of goodness! Great way to sneak in the veggies:)

  78. Looks awesome though I have never tasted harissa paste before….

  79. Dana says:

    Admission #1: I don’t use sweet potatoes enough in my cooking – I love them, I don’t know why I neglect them. Admission #2: I have never watched Grey’s Anatomy. I KNOW! It supposedly takes place in Seattle and lots of people I love and respect watch it. I can’t explain myself sometimes!

  80. daphne says:

    I bet this will taste just as good with almond butter! pass me bowls of this please. I’m evening imagining garlic bread with such lovely soup! thanks for another inspiration.. *wink*

  81. That soup looks incredibly tasty and delicious! What a delightful combination of flavors and ingredients. Yummy!



  82. Claudie says:

    I think you’ve managed to create _the_ ultimate soup for my hubby. He eats harissa almost every day. And he loves peanut butter. I would have never thought of putting those together, so once more: brilliant recipe! 🙂

  83. Cate says:

    How have I never tried harissa!? That’s about to change

  84. Lora says:

    Licking. The. Screen. Now I have to go find me some harissa paste.

  85. You are too funny. 😉 This soup looks so thick and creamy and very virtuous too. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. 😉

  86. Chris says:

    The band REM made you make out with Patrick Dempsey? I had that same dream! ha ha

    The soup looks good but I was thinking with a few changes this would be a phenomenal marinade too.

  87. Sippity Sup says:

    I don’t watch that show, but Dreams say a lot. Trouble is there really is noway to know what they are saying… except I dream about soup and we all know what that means. GREG

  88. Kerstin says:

    Haha, great post. I’ve never cooked with harissa before – I need to change that, looks great!

  89. Lexi says:

    This was SO GOOD. Made it with my homemade harissa (a David Tanis recipe) and just used a potato masher at the end, rather than blending everything up. I think it’s one of those “even better the next day” recipes.

  90. Cara says:

    I totally agree. On Derek’s antics and the fact that this soup has everything good. I’ll take some of both!

  91. This looks and sounds fantastic. Super thick and creamy. I love all of the ingredients. Now I just need to try out Harissa!

  92. Anonymous says:

    Looks Yummy! Note of caution: Used that exact brand of Harissa in a sauce – while it was simmering, I noticed small particles that turned out to be a variety of dead insects. Just to be sure, also squirted some into plain water and watched the bugs rise to the top. Chunked the sauce and the tube and have been too afraid to buy it since.
    Karen in Louisiana

  93. Yummm I really want to make this soup! Love the peanut butter in it. Though I’ve never seen harissa paste.

  94. Eliana says:

    I think a bowl of this would cure just about anything. Looks amazing Joanne.

  95. […] years ago…Nutty Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Spinach, Honey Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese […]

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