We are getting to that point of the year – because it is an annual occurrence – in which winter begins chipping away at my sanity. I start manically searching flights to Mexico. My utility bill climbs. I tell my boyfriend, fist shaking in the air, tears streaming down my face, that I simply cannot take it anymore. Like when my mom used to threaten she’d “turn this damn car around” when my brother and I were fighting on the way to get ice cream.
He went out and bought some Vitamin D supplements and one of those “happy energy” sun lamps the next day.
And speaking of remedies, there is also this soup recipe. Which arrived in our inbox just in time, thanks to our guest writers on the blog today, Sabrina and Shannon of Club Sweet Potato (who, we’ll admit, drew us in with their Instagram handle). It is everything you’d ask of a soup: comforting, warming, flavorful. And to top it all off, that pesto … why have I never thought of using carrot tops that way? Genius.
Take it away, ladies!
Soup doesn’t have to taste like penance for winter indulgence, or the inside of a tin can for that matter. Instead, it can be bright, unexpected, and serve as a reminder that winter doesn’t actually last forever. Roasting carrots with warming spices gets everything all toasty and caramelized, intensifying their inherent sweetness while effortlessly building depth of flavor that so many bland soups lack. Don’t be wary of coconut milk here, the fat adds just enough richness to leave you full and steers clear of anything resembling a pina colada (although, one of those sounds pretty good right about now).
While we typically celebrate making do with whatever you have on hand, we’ve been perfecting this soup for years, and will caution that the freshest carrots are best. After all, they are the star of the show. Save the aging shriveled carrots chilling in your crisper drawer for making stock on a rainy day. Speaking of stock: feel free to use a boxed variety you like, but if you’ve never made your own, it is kinda fun. A good stock or bone broth can convert one from a soup hater to a soup lover (or at least really good soup friends). Visit our Instagram page @clubsweetpotato for a rundown of how we do it.
This recipe is easily (and deliciously) adaptable to be vegan. Use vegetable stock and coconut oil in place of any ghee or butter called for, and leave off the yogurt swirl (or sub plant based yogurt). You’re the boss after all, but whatever you do, don’t skip the toppings.
Spiced Ginger Coconut Carrot Soup + Carrot Top Pesto
Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a starter
- 2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut in half
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or avocado oil)
- 2 tsp ground cumin, divided
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter (or coconut oil to make vegan)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2″ knob of fresh ginger root, peeled and coarsely sliced
- 1 quart/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (1 box)
- 1 15 oz can of full fat coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- In a large bowl, toss carrots with coconut oil (melted in the microwave for about 30 seconds if solid) and only 1 tsp of cumin, plus all remaining dried spices (cumin, coriander, allspice, cayenne) and a ½ tsp salt.
- Spread carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet in one layer, leaving a little space between each carrot, and roast for 30-40 minutes, tossing half way through, until they are very tender and have taken on some color.
- While carrots are roasting, in a large pot melt butter/ghee over medium heat. Add onions and ginger, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add stock and coconut milk to pot with onions, and cook to warm through. Don’t worry if your can of coconut milk is solid, just scoop it in and it will melt down.
- When the carrots are done roasting, add them to the pot with broth mixture, then turn off the heat.
- Using an immersion blender (if you don’t have one, skip to the next step), puree all ingredients in pot until it becomes as smooth as possible. This will take a few minutes. If it’s too thick, add more liquid or water in small increments.
- If you are using a traditional blender instead of an immersion blender, let the mixture cool slightly (about 20 minutes) and puree in small batches making sure to let steam escape as you go. Add each pureed addition to a large bowl until everything is blended and is as smooth as possible, then add all soup back to your pot. If it’s too thick, add more liquid or water in small increments.
- Bring heat back up to medium and taste to adjust for seasoning. Add the remaining 1 tsp of cumin depending on your preferences. You many need more salt here, depending on how much salt was already in your broth. Once you have this right, it’s ready to serve!
- This is delicious garnished with a large dollop of whole milk Greek yogurt (or coconut based yogurt), and lots of freshly chopped cilantro. Dunk a piece of crusty bread, or garlic naan in for an even more filling meal. OR…
BONUS ROUND: Carrot Top Pesto
If you bought the carrots with the green tops intact, cut the leafy green parts off (about 1 cup), rinse and dry them, then throw them in a mini food processor with a clove of garlic, a handful of mint or cilantro (¼ – ½ cup), juice of half a lemon, and 4 tablespoons or so of olive oil. You can throw in ¼ cup of pepitas or almonds if you want it to be a thick pesto, or leave them out if you want more of zingy green sauce. Blitz it all up until until it is as smooth or chunky as you like, add salt and pepper to taste, and thin out with more lemon juice or olive oil if needed. Swirl a spoonful over warm carrot soup and use the leftovers on fish, eggs, or whatever else your heart tells you.
About Club Sweet Potato
We are identical twins (Sabrina is on the left, Shannon on the right) that happen to share an identical love for food. Club Sweet Potato is our little community, where we help each other decide what to have for dinner through a combination of taking a look at what is already knocking around in the pantry or freezer, and using up what’s fresh and in season. We want to demystify the process of getting a warm dinner on the table, and encourage a sense of empowerment as a result. Every meal is an opportunity to celebrate where our ingredients come from, the way they make our bodies feel, and how they all come together to create something delicious. Come be a part of our little club, and get inspired to cook for yourself, or maybe even someone else!