Saturday, April 21, 2018


Springtime harvest.

Carrots are so versatile! We tend to think of them as winter vegetables, stored in the root cellar, essential to hearty cold-weather soups and stews. But pulled from the damp spring earth, carrots are bright and sweet, delicious raw or cooked.

This sumptuous carrot soup, vegan or not, with subtle spicing makes a lovely starter for a spring meal. It can be served hot or chilled, so will take you right into summer menus.

A creamy carrot soup with no cream, thickened with almonds and rice.

Chopped fresh mint gives carrots a springtime flavor.

This is a creamy soup without the dairy cream. Ground almonds and rice are the thickeners and olive oil gives richness. For a vegan version, use a well-seasoned vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Fresh goat's milk cheese.

The soup is good with a swirl of queso fresco or Greek yogurt. If you prefer the vegan version, just omit the cheese. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs—mint, fennel, parsley, tarragon or cilantro are all good with carrots. Chopped scallions add a sprightly touch.

Carrot Cream Soup
Crema de Zanahorias

Serves 6 to 8.

3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup blanched and skinned almonds
5-6 carrots (12 ounces), chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 clove chopped garlic
¼ cup short-grain rice
Strip of lemon zest
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of ground cloves
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chopped fresh herbs and scallions to garnish
1 ounce queso fresco (soft cheese) (optional)
2 teaspoons hot water

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the almonds and fry on medium heat until they are toasted. Skim them out and reserve.

Add the carrots, leek and garlic to the oil. Sauté until vegetables just begin to turn golden, 5 minutes. Don’t let them brown.

Carrots and rice cook til tender.
Stir in the rice, lemon zest, ginger, cardamom, cloves and pepper. Add the stock and salt to taste. Bring the soup to a boil, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Place the fried almonds in a blender with 4 tablespoons of the liquid from the pot. Blend to make a smooth cream. Stir it into the soup and cook until carrots and rice are very tender, 10 minutes longer.

Remove and discard the lemon zest. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender. Add the lemon juice and reheat the soup before serving. Garnish with chopped herbs and scallions. If desired, mash soft queso fresco with hot water to serve as an accompaniment. 

Garnish soup with chopped scallions and herbs. Serve softened queso fresco on the side.

Fresh goat's milk cheese is softened and mashed.

Swirl the soft cheese into the soup.

Next year perhaps I will try growing purple carrots. I bet they would make a pretty soup.

More vegetarian recipes with carrots:

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