Soups for the soul

Colombians love soup, even though it is hot outside, nothing like a bowl of healthy goodness! Not to mention it works wonders for me now living in England where it is cold much more often. For me nothing touches my soul more than Colombian cooking. The smells & flavours take me back! Colombian Sancocho has many variations depending on the region you come from and this one hails from the Atlantic Coast.

It has delicious root vegetables with a herb flavoured broth alongside the staples in Colombian cooking: achiote, garlic, bell peppers, spring onions/scallions. Now normally this soup contains quite a lot of meat & takes a while for all those flavours to combine. But in keeping with the green cuisine vibe, I have altered this so it is totally free of any animal products thus making it take about half the time to cook. So it a be a Sunday or Monday night meal for you and your family! Leftovers are great as well, as they marinade overnight and taste even better! This could also be done in a slowcooker for those who are busy bees during the day. Make the sauces/condiments the night before. Super easy as all it takes it a food processor to do all the hard work of chopping! I have included all the recipes here for everything so you don’t have to bounce around tabs and get your computer/laptop/ipad dirty!

Sancocho Costeño

atlantic coast sancocho

Sancocho Costeño

Serves: 2-4

Serve with: White Rice, Avocado & Lime on the side

Ingredients: Sancocho

  • 1 ear of corn, cut into 2, or grab a bag of frozen corn pieces and use one per person of those
  • 6 cups of water or more if needed
  • 1/2 cup of aliños (ingredients & recipe below)
  • Salt and pepper
  • green plantains, peeled and cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 ripe plantain, peeled and cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 3 medium white potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1/2 pound fresh/frozen yuca cut into big pieces (also known as cassava)
  • 1 cup of pumpkin/butternut squash, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 small cabbage, cut into pieces
  • dash or 2 of smoked paprika (optional)
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander/cilantro

Ingredients: Ají Picante

  • 1 seeded small hot pepper or 1 red habanero pepper
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup chopped spring onions/scallions
  • ½ cup chopped tomato

Ingredients: Aliños

  • ½ medium green pepper, chopped
  • ½ medium red pepper, chopped
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 4 spring onions/scallions, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tablespoon mix of turmeric, saffron, veg stock powder or sazon Goya con azafran if you can find it!

Ingredients: Colombian White Rice

  • 1 cup long grain white rice, rinsed until water runs clear
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil



  1. First get your condiments/sauces sorted as they are easy & can be done ahead of time.
  2. Aliños– Place all the ingredients in your food processor or blender & process to make a paste. Transfer this to a glass jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  3. Ají- Put the vinegar, water and habanero pepper in a blender for about 2 minutes. Then place the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix. Add the vinegar and habanero mix to the bowl and mix well. Pour in a glass jar and cover. You can refrigerate this for up to 10 days.
  4. Soup– In a large pot, place the corn, aliños, vegetable bouillon, salt & green plantain. Add the water and bring this to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes. Add the potatoes, ripe plantain, yuca, pumpkin and cabbage. Continue cooking for 30 more minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender. Stir in the coriander/cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like, add in the paprika now if you wish. Serve in large soup bowls, dividing the vegetables & giving piece of corn to each person.
  5. Rice– while the soup is cooking away get started on your rice! Or the rice can be done easily beforehand. Take coconut oil and let melt in the pan, then add the rice and make sure it’s coated evenly. Then add the salt & water. Bring this to a boil for about 30 seconds, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes and serve topped with chopped coriander/cilantro

sancocho costeño sancocho costeñocolombia


2 thoughts on “Soups for the soul

  1. Oh my, maybe it’s an Equatorial thing! Jamaicans love their soups too! I grew up eating soup on a Saturday winter and summer, freezing winter or burning summers. There’s just something loving about soup.


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