I was invited by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to join the host committee for a fabulous event held earlier this month in Washington, D.C. EWG EATS: A Journey Through Food was a roving tasting adventure of local food and drink that is both good for the consumer as well as the planet. As with everything EWG does, the event was perfectly executed. An atmosphere of low lights, rustic furnishings and generous tastings contributed to the engaged conversations taking place throughout the space. Over the course of the evening I learned about a variety of EWG’s efforts which spanned the spectrum from skin care and cancer prevention to an exciting “new” development called Food Scores. I put “new” in quotations because while this project launches later today, it has been several years in the making with innumerable research hours logged and great collaboration between EWG project partners Grace Communications Foundation and Eat Well Guide.
EWG’s Food Scores houses information on over 80,000 products in a simple, searchable, online format designed to guide consumers to healthy, affordable food. Other food apps rate food products on nutrition, but EWG took it two steps further by also evaluating ingredient concerns (pesticides, mercury, etc.) and degree of processing. These three factors are combined into one score and housed in an easy-to-use online database and corresponding app that provides the information needed to make informed choices in mere seconds. Years of research literally at our fingertips. Now I’m sure that every product I choose will not have the highest rating but EWG’s Food Scores will certainly steer me away from foods with the worst ratings and towards healthier options.
Of all the incredible food I enjoyed at the EWG event–Broccoli Leaf Quesadillas being among the offerings (and you read it here first, broccoli leaf will be the next kale!)–the most memorable was a Sweet Potato and Lime Soup prepared by Susan Gage. The deceptively simple recipe belies the layers of flavor revealed in each bite of this lusciously smooth soup. I couldn’t wait to get home and make a batch myself. The end result was even better than I remembered because I was able to enjoy a large bowl as opposed to an elegant demitasse cup. It didn’t hurt to learn that sweet potatoes make EWG’s list of vegetables that pack the most nutrition for the lowest cost and they top the Clean 15 list of vegetables lowest in pesticide exposure.
Whatever your motivation, I encourage you to make this soup today and then again and again, every time you crave a simple soup that combines all of the taste sensations. If you are considering participating in or hosting one of the soup competitions that I have outlined in two past Soup’s On posts, keep this recipe in your back pocket. It’s a winner–and you also heard that here first!
- 1 Tbls olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 tsp crushed chili pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- zest and juice of one lime
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until softened.
- Add the sweet potatoes, chili pepper and broth.
- Simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft.
- Let cool for 1 hour and then blend using an immersion blender or blender. Add water by 1/4 cupfuls to get desired consistency (soup should be thick but pourable).
- Add the lime zest and juice.
- Heat and season with salt and pepper before serving.