I think I’ve stumbled upon the Holy Grail of soups. Smoky Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon and Bleu Cheese is the most wonderful combination of flavors- smoky, spicy, and slightly sweet pureed soup is topped with crunchy bacon and sharp, tangy bleu cheese crumbles. It’s packed with tons of sweet potatoes and carrots, some of the most nutritious veggies out there. It will definitely keep you warm during these last few weeks of winter (she wrote from sunny, 80 degree Texas… sorry, Northern folks).
There are two things that give this recipe its smoky deliciousness- bacon (yum), and smoked paprika (one of my favorite spices). The bacon is cooked until crispy, removed and reserved for garnish, and the bacon grease incorporated into the soup instead of your usual butter or oil. A big ol’ heaping teaspoon of smoked paprika is added, as well as chili powder and cayenne pepper for a bit of a kick.
I don’t want you to miss out on this soup if you are vegan or vegetarian. While you may miss out on the crunchy bacon or bleu cheese topping, there are some simple omissions and substitutions you can make to make these meat-free or plant-based (see recipe notes below). You can top it with croutons for a bacon-free crunch on top!
You can also easily make this paleo/whole30 compliant by omitting the cheese and using a sugar-free bacon.
This soup requires blending to make it velvety smooth. I highly recommend using an immersion blender, or stick blender, for this purpose. I think it’s my FAVORITE kitchen tool. Just stick it in the pot of soup and press on- the soup purees perfectly. I use mine for smoothies- just put all the ingredients in a glass or wide mouth mason jar and blend it right in there! A day of not cleaning a blender is a good day in my book. But if you don’t have one, you can also blend this soup in batches in a standing blender.
Recipe for Smoky Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon and Bleu Cheese below! Stay warm and hang in there, people of the North… Spring is coming. Promise :-)
Smoky Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon and Bleu Cheese
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4-6 cups chicken broth
- 4 carrots peeled and cut roughly into 1-inch pieces (approximately 2-3 cups)
- 4 sweet potatoes peeled and cut roughly into 1-inch cubes (approximately 4-5 cups)
- 4 oz. bleu cheese crumbles for serving
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish if desired
- Cook the bacon until crispy in a large pot over medium heat. Remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel to drain.
- Sauté the onion in the bacon grease until softened and starting to brown (2-3 minutes)
- Add the garlic, smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat for one minute, or until garlic becomes fragrant.
- Add 4 cups chicken broth, the carrots, and the sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Meanwhile, chop the bacon into small pieces.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup (or a standing blender in batches). If the soup is too thick, add more chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time, pureeing each time for a creamier texture.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve with bacon pieces and bleu cheese crumbles on top, garnished with parsley if desired.