Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Soup with Kefir

Ever wanted to combine the nourishment of soup with the probiotics of cultured dairy? It can be done. The problem with the usual recipes is the cooking of yogurt, kefir, or sour cream into the soup. This makes for a creamy soup, but it also kills all of the enzymes and probiotics that make these cultured foods so good. Instead, why not add freshly cultured milk kefir to a thick soup which has cooled just enough to keep the cultures alive? You don’t need a thermometer, though. A good rule of “thumb” is to place a clean finger into the center of the soup and if you can hold it in there without it feeling as though it might burn you, then your soup should keep your milk kefir alive and kicking.


  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small baking pumpkin, baked, seeded, and mashed
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups broth or a combination of broth and water
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • ½ tsp. allspice and nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 cups whole milk kefir


  1. Sauté onion, celery, and garlic in butter until vegetables begin to soften. Add vegetables, broth, spices, and honey, and season with salt. The broth should almost cover the vegetables. If it doesn’t, add more water as needed.
  2. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook 30 to 45 minutes or until all vegetables are very tender. Remove from heat and mash soup up with a potato masher until desired consistency is reached, or put it through a blender or food mill as desired. Cool 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Once soup has sufficiently cooled, stir in milk kefir. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Serve warm.

At A Glance

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 1 hour, 15 minutes
TOTAL: 1 hour, 25 minutes
YIELD: Makes about 6 cups.