Curried Lentil-Sweet Potato Soup

Curry powder works beautifully with slightly sweet ingredients, like sweet onion, carrot juice, and sweet potato. The vegetables' sweetness brings out the complex flavors in the spice blend.

4 teaspoons olive oil
2 large sweet onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/3 cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
3/4 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups water
1/2 cup carrot juice
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Add 1 of the onions and the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes.
2 Stir in the lentils, sweet potatoes, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons of the curry powder, the ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Add the water and carrot juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the lentils and sweet potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes.
3 Ladle the soup into a large bowl. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor and process to a smooth puree, transferring each batch back to the Dutch oven. Stir the sour cream into the soup.
4 Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and remaining 1 teaspoon curry powder over medium heat. Add the remaining onion and sprinkle with the sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Serve the soup topped with the curried onions.

Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 280 calories, 4.7g total fat (1.2g saturated), 3mg cholesterol, 16g dietary fiber, 47g carbohydrate, 15g protein, 322mg sodium.