Late spring through December is peak season for carrots when they are plentiful, robust, and at their most flavorful. Whether roasted to caramelized sweetness with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, eaten raw as a snack with a delicious dip, added to hearty warming chili, or made into a soup like this, you can’t go wrong with these delicious roots. Though this recipe calls for orange carrots, some of my favorite carrots are heirlooms, which come in many colors (purple, yellow, white, and various hues of orange). I highly suggest you experiment with cooking heirlooms too. The different colors represent the various antioxidants they contain, each of which has its own powerful role in enhancing our health.
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 3 bowls
2 cups carrots
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to season
3 cups water, plus more if needed
1 ½ cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the carrots in a Pyrex dish and lightly brush them with olive oil. Season with salt and transfer to the oven. Roast the carrots until they are tender, about 15 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes so that they cook evenly. When done, remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water and vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, then transfer the carrots and broth to a blender. Puree until the soup is smooth. Add more water if needed for a thinner consistency.
Pour the soup back into the saucepan. Add the coconut oil and teaspoon of salt, and stir until combined. Salt more if desired, and pepper to taste.
Place the sunflower seeds in a toaster oven or oven. Heat until golden, about 3 minutes (check after 2 minutes to make sure they don’t burn).
Pour the soup into your serving bowls. Garnish each bowl with some seeds and serve warm. You can also let cool to room temperature, then store in an air-tight container for up to a week.
Nutritional Benefits of Carrots
Carrots are replete with nutrients. They are famous for the antioxidant beta-carotene, which gives them their orange color and is critical for eye health, immune function, and cell growth and development (our bodies convert it to vitamin A). Carrots are also full of fiber, vitamin K1 (critical for blood clotting and bone health), and potassium (which is key for blood pressure control), while low in fat and calories, which because they are filling, makes them a great food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight. In addition, because the fiber in carrots is soluble, they can lower cholesterol, enhance the gut microbiome, and slow the digestion of sugar, which can keep insulin levels in check. Finally, in addition to beta-carotene, carrots have a host of other beneficial antioxidants that can be protective against certain cancers and heart disease.
How long should I roast carrots for a soup?
This soup is so easy to make, but it does take time. To get your carrots optimally sweet and soft, you must roast them for about 45 minutes (the exact time depends on their size as larger ones take longer and slimmer ones shorter). So, if you’re in a rush this is not the soup to make on the spot (others like my broccoli and asparagus are very quick). Roast the carrots when you have time to chill, work, or spend time with your family, and then once their done, you can whip up the soup in a jiffy and make enough to last the whole week if you want (feel free to double the recipe).
What Does Roasting do to Enhance Flavors of Carrots?
Techniques that cook carrots in dry high heat like roasting, release and intensify their natural sugars, which give them that perfect sweetness I’m sure you’ve tasted in the past. Perfectly roasted carrots are to die for, and sometimes even remind me of candy!
Vegan Carrot Soup
Vegan carrot soup can be made in its barest form with only four ingredients: carrots, olive oil, water, and salt. That said, it can be easily enhanced with onions, ginger, and various herbs and spices (think cumin, dill, turmeric). If you like your carrot soup creamy, add some cashew cream, which acts just like regular cream, and if you’re missing a buttery flavor, a teaspoon or two of plant-based butter is a delectable add-in.
What to Serve with Roasted Carrot Soup
Roasted carrot soup is terrific served with a healthy seed bread, flatbread, sourdough bread, focaccia, or whole grain toast (don’t hesitate to dip your bread in extra virgin olive oil). It also couples well with any salad. Because carrots are so rich in their orange, purple, and yellow colors, I prefer to marry them with green and white vegetables as opposed to more of the same. Carrot soup is also a great appetizer for main courses such as fish, chicken, and red meat dishes. Although these are some of my top choices of things with which to eat carrot soup, truthfully, it is a versatile dish and you can marry it with anything.
Leftover Carrot Soup Storage
Leftover carrot soup can be stored in the refrigerator for about five days or in the freezer for several months. To defrost the soup, it’s best to transfer it to the refrigerator for two days. If you want it in a pinch however, you can microwave it or heat it up on the stovetop (either way make sure to stir the soup consistently as it heats for even warming).