five spice + curried sweet corn soup

A warm and cozy winter soup with a hint of spring. #Glutenfree with #vegan mods. Find the full recipe at

A warm and cozy winter soup with a hint of spring. #Glutenfree with #vegan mods. Find the full recipe at
Two years ago I gave up soda and factory farmed fast-food for the New Year, and they both stuck. Aside from hippie, home-brewed ginger beer and the like, nary a pop has crossed these lips. Nor a Double Double (thank god for In n’ Out’s grilled cheese is all I have to say about that…). Or a chicken nugget.

Okokok, there may have been a little c-nug situation this one time at the Denver Airport because cravings and short layovers and crippled self-control, but I sweaaaars to you, that was it. I also swear I’m not (nor was I ever) really much of a fast food junkie, but once it’s off the table, it suddenly seems so forbidden and risky and deliciously alluuuuuuuring.

Thank god for In n’ Out’s grilled cheese is all I have to say about that.

Since it seems unlikely that I’ll ever be able to stick to another resolution with that same discipline and finesse (except for that one time at the Denver airport. Thank god for In n’ Out’s grilled cheese is all I have to say about that!), I’m saying to hell with new resolutions and hello to my always faithful friend moderation.

Ah, moderation. She’s a sexy beast. I’d call her Mod, but properly naming a practice that allows me to responsibly pump butter-like product onto my movie theater popcorn just seems silly.

A warm and cozy winter soup with a hint of spring. #Glutenfree with #vegan mods. Find the full recipe at
Moderation, in fact, is what makes particularly tasty-yet-waistline-friendly soups like this one so appealing. You gotchur veggies. You gotchur detoxifying, gut-busting spices.

You gotchur hefty glug of half & half.

And, as with any pureed soup, you gotchurself an opportunity to drink your lunch out of a Care Bear Thermos!! On a cold day, I can think of almost nothing more comforting. 🙂

A warm and cozy winter soup with a hint of spring. #Glutenfree with #vegan mods. Find the full recipe at
Whether or not you’ve made any dietary commitments for the New Year, I urge you to give this soup — or at least a version of it — a good ol’ hearty whirl. I won’t tell if you swap the half & half for coconut milk (to the contrary, I think it’d be pretty badass) or sautéed your veg in oil instead of butter or skipped the toppings completely. (Note that doing all of the above would make this delectably vegan!)

I mean, if we’re really talking about freedoms here, you can dunk a whole damn sandwich into your bowl if the mood strikes, and your secret’ll be safe with me.

Thank god.
For In n’ Out’s grilled cheese.
Is all I have to say about…that?


Good luck with those resolutions, guys and gals! Soup for one and all.

A warm and cozy winter soup with a hint of spring. #Glutenfree with #vegan mods. Find the full recipe at A warm and cozy winter soup with a hint of spring. #Glutenfree with #vegan mods. Find the full recipe at A warm and cozy winter soup with a hint of spring. #Glutenfree with #vegan mods. Find the full recipe at

five spice + curried sweet corn soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes: 4-6 servings
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, cut into about 1" pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 T coconut sugar
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1.5 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp good curry powder (we always use Vindaloo)
  • ½ tsp tumeric
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 16 oz bag frozen sweet corn
  • sea salt + freshly cracked black pepper
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt and chives or cilantro, for serving
  1. In a large Dutch over or soup pot, melt butter. Add leeks and carrots and saute until veggies just begin to develop color, about 10 mins.
  2. Add potatoes, garlic, sugar and all spices; cook 1-2 minutes until spices are browned and fragrant and potatoes are well-coated with seasoning.
  3. Add stock, 2 cups water and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
  4. Working in batches if necessary, transfer soup to a blender and carefully blend until smooth. (Note: hot soup + blender can easily = soupsplosion, so be sure you allow an opening to let steam escape while blending.)
  5. Return pureed soup to heat. Stir in half & half and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve soup piping hot topped with sour cream or Greek yogurt and herbs. (Pomegranate seeds are fun, too!) Enjoy!
Vegan variation: Use veggie stock, swap the half & half for light coconut milk (it will result in a slightly different -- though very complementary -- flavor) and skip the sour cream topping or opt for a cashew cream version. 🙂
A warm and cozy winter soup with a hint of spring. #Glutenfree with #vegan mods. Find the full recipe at


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friday links 01.02.15 - and happy new year!

25 Comments on “five spice + curried sweet corn soup”

  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Hoping this isn’t the proverbial “dumb question” but could one use an immersion blender in lieu of (transferring contents to/from) the blender?

    1. Hi Dave! Not a dumb question at all. You can absolutely use an immersion blender if you like, but I find that when I’m blending soups where the veggies have a little more fiber (like think of all those little corn skins…), it never gets it as smooth and silky as a full-blown blender (particularly a super blender, like a Vitamix). If you’re ok with a little more texture in your pureed soup — or, one less implement to wash, which I am always a fan of! — immerse away. 🙂

      1. Em (if I may), thanks for comments re immersion blender. I get your point re smoothing out all the fibrous materials for a truly creamy concoction. Might do half and half, just for yuks.

    1. Happy New Year!!! And yes, you absolutely can. Do they have In n’ Out down there, Grace? (For your sake, I hope the answer is a resounding YES!)

  2. I’ve never had an In n’ Out grilled cheese and I kiiiiinda feel like I’m cheating life right about now.

    I’m with you on the no fast food thing, I gave it up in 2012 and don’t miss it. Ok I actually did have a kids meal from Chic-fil-a one day this summer but I was drunk sooooo…….

    This soup though! Sweet corn is <3 <3 <3

    1. It’s cool, Graham. I feel like pregnant slip-ups and drunken slip-ups are one and the same, and we should all be forgiven at least a few. After all, one inevitably leads to the other. (Drunk –> pregnant, duh, but I can also guarantee you that this pregnancy is going to lead to plenty of drunkenness later in life…) Also: SWEEEET CORRRRRRRRN <3 <3 <3 !!!!

  3. I may not be able to forget about all those ‘bad for me, but taste so good’ food I ought to give up, but I can’t (well, I won’t). Though this soup looks so good it will help postponing my thoughts about those bad food one more day 🙂

    Your photos are stunning 🙂

    1. Thanks Pang! Coming from you that’s the biggest compliment. <3 And I'd never ask you to forget about all those so-bad-but-so-good-foods! Just use them as a dangling carrot, of sorts. (As in, if I eat all these carrots -- or this soup, or this salad, or this other healthyish crap -- I can sink my teeth into THAT BURGER!!!) 🙂

  4. EM! I’m all about this soup. And kudos on the no fast food. I def go for a cheeseburger not grilled cheese at In n’ Out. Happy new year, lovely mama!! xx

    1. I mean, I’m not gonna lie and say an actual In n’ Out burger doesn’t sound ridiculously good, Alana. But after a couple of years of convincing myself that “the true In n’ Out flavor is in the toasted bun, the grilled onions and the sauce,” I’m just gonna keep on drinking the koolaid. Happy New Year, love! <3

  5. We’ve been eating a lot of soup lately. Mostly because it’s so cold here that your eyes will freeze if you try to keep ’em open outside. (It makes walking very interesting.) The soup sounds like something that might give us the will to keep on keeping on. Here’s to slurping for survival!

    1. Ooof, your poor eyeballs! I’ve not experienced cold of that degree (<--HAHAHAHA, puns...), but I did have a few "oh cool, so breathing is freezing the nosehairs I didn't know I had" situations when we lived in the Midwest. It was...interesting? Anyhoo, if this soup can thaw your peepers -- or at least warm up the rest of you -- I'm so glad! Slurp away, friend! 🙂

    1. Thanks Aubrie! And speaking of gorgeous and bright, I was just checking out your Rainbow Veggie bowl. Anything classified as a bowl food is alright by me! 🙂

  6. Sounds and looks delish, Em! Random question: do you use store-bought Chinese 5-spice or make your own? If you buy from a store, do you have a brand rec?

  7. Aw how cute. Your pomegranates are so tiny! I have the same tea towel too. 😀 Your photographs & food styling look wonderful. I too gave up the things you did, except I only drink soda when alcohol is involved, but even then, I prefer juice! In-N-Out’s grilled cheese is the best! How do you have yours? I always get me some extra toasted buns, chopped chilies, animal style with both types of onions. Amazing every single time. Also, well-done fries? WELL DONE INDEED, the only kind of well-done I need. 😀

    Love the ingredients you used for this. Very tasty, I can tell already. If you’re ever having trouble with laying the heck off fast food, which you said you never really did, a cause really really helps. Have you ever read Fast Food Nation? 1 million percent recommend it. You’d never be tempted by a chicken nugget again, even if you feel like you’re weak from traveling, because your belief in a cause is much greater than a New Years resolution! But yes, everything in moderation.

    I could stare at your food photography all day!

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