Pure and Simple: Spiced Carrot Soup

carrot puree

As a kid I was a peanut butter purist.  No fluff, banana or jam was allowed in a ten-foot radius of my habitual brown-bag sandwich.  Just chunky peanut butter and bread, period.

farmers market carrotsIt’s not that I didn’t like fluff or bananas or jam. In fact, I had never even tried any of the above (and have actually to this day never had fluff, come to think of it). But I figured that my world was just fine with plain old peanut butter, thank you very much.  Why mess with what works?

And until this week, I felt the same way about beautifully simple pureed carrot soup; sweet and fresh and flavored with a bit of onion and some sea salt, and not much else. But here’s the thing… if I never messed with what works, would I really have anything to write about?  Of course not.  And I can remember the day when I finally tasted the marriage of my beloved, slightly grainy, Smuckers chunky peanut butter and bright, sweet, Bonne Maman apricot jam (yes, Bonne Maman – my mom has long been a jam snob, thank goodness). The sticky jam cut right through the rich peanut butter, elevating the savory, salty roasted flavor of my dietary staple.  And the slick texture of the jam made the little chunks in my Smuckers all that much more appealing. 

Sometimes, even that which is pure and simple and beautiful can be improved. (Yes, peanut butter sandwiches are beautiful).

spiced carrot soupAnd while a plain old carrot soup can be quite lovely, especially when you have particularly sweet carrots, the garam masala here is like the jam to my peanut butter.  To think what I’ve been missing all these years of basic carrot soup!  The hint of heat and the up-front aromatic warmth of the spices make the carrots seem brighter and sweeter than they could possibly be on their own.  Especially considering that I made this soup with the dregs of the vegetable drawer.  I don’t even know how long those poor carrots had been lurking in there!

soup recipeI made the soup as a last-ditch effort to avoid wasting all of those lovely carrots, which seem to come in mountainous piles from Farmer Greg, who I swear sneaks extra carrots into my CSA basket when I’m not looking. I planned to make the soup and freeze it for a someday lunch (it does freeze well, just don’t add the yogurt until serving).  But a quick little taste and I went wild.  First I licked the ladle.  Then I moved on to run my finger along the edge of the blender, sucking off the silky orange puree.  By the time I got to the pot itself, I gave up and grabbed a bowl.  Not that I feel guilty… there’s nothing to feel guilty about here!  You gotta love a recipe that takes just 20 minutes to prepare and is jam-packed with nutrition. But it doesn’t taste like it took 20 minutes.  And it doesn’t taste like it’s healthy.  In fact, it tastes downright indulgent, especially if you swirl in the greek yogurt, making the whole bowl lusciously creamy.

healthy carrot soup

Spiced Carrot Soup

Serves 4

1 small onion, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cumin

3 cups peeled chopped carrots

3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup Greek yogurt, for serving

Saute the onion in the oil in a  stock pot over medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Add the spices and continue to cook, stirring every so often, for about 5 minutes more.  Add the carrots and broth and bring to a simmer.  Cook uncovered until carrots are very tender, about 15 minutes.  Puree the soup in batches and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with a dollop of yogurt, and some fresh herbs if desired.

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm  Comments (35)  
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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Mmm, how lovely and creamy this is! I know what you mean about being loyal to a certain recipe. I love my carrot/onion/potato soup. But I LOVE this with those splendid spices. 🙂

  2. Ok I adore carrots and anything with cumin and garam masala is right up my alley. Oh and with the yogurt! I bet this is soooo delish!

  3. Everything sounds delicious until CUMIN. This pungent herb makes me shudder. I could tell there was cumin in an Indian friend’s dish, but it was mellower. She said she toasted it first in a fry pan, and for me the only tolerable way to use this flavor that at it’s worst smells like (sorry, here) dry rot. So, yes, I’ll be trying this wonderful-sounding dish with that little modification.

    • Itsn;t it funny how what one person loves another hates? The cumin adds a nice smoky flavor here, but teh soup would still be great without it!

      • Hi Katie,

        In spite of my cumin remarks, I have to say your food blog is my favorite. After lurking around several sites I find that your recipies of hearty flavors without the heavy contents are just my style. You obviously came from good “stock”. And, I really will try one batch of toasted cumin in the carrot soup to see if it is something to maintain.

  4. I have garam marsala in the pantry that I just purchased. I can’t wait to give this a try with the wonderful carrots that just came in my CSA. Thanks!

  5. If this soup could get even a die-hard purist to branch out then it MUST be worth making! Love the flavors in it.

  6. This is my kind of recipe. Spice and yogurt simple love it.

  7. Dear Katie – This is totally my kind of soup. What a lovely way to jazz up same ole’ carrot soup. The cumin and garam masala makes it a winner for sure!


    Ciao,Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  8. I wasn’t sure I would like carrot soup when I thought about the title. After reading the ingredients and description, I may have to give it a try. I love Indian food, and it seems like it would have a similar flavor.

  9. What a thick and comforting soup! It looks fantastic!

  10. I don’t even really like cooked carrots, but this? YUM!

  11. cumin and garam masala, oh yes what a great addition to carrot soup..yum


  12. Anything with cumin in it is on my list of things to make! Seriously, this sounds delicious!

  13. Carrot soups are my favorites! They have this particular sweetness that comes out so well when pureed. Great recipe w/ a touch of spices!

  14. Mmmm, spicy carrot soup! I really like this recipe!

  15. this looks great! i love carrot soup but i have never made it myself.

  16. I am as food snobby as your mom; the Bonne Maman apricot is a firm favorite in our household.

    Garam Masala is such a complex blend of spices that elevates simple foods, especially in harmony with sweet fruits and veggies. Wonderful with carrots.

  17. So glad “tu t’es fais violence” you forced yourself to try something more in regards to carrot soup! I love it with cumin, and I love it with yogurt! (and with curry)
    Sometimes I say “don’t mess with pure” but messing with pure create something of beauty too (sometimes)

  18. Sometimes putting your very special personality to something pure and simple can go a long way.

    Thanks for such a twist on this soup ;o)
    Flavourful wishes,

  19. I love it when beautiful meets delicious in a bowl or plate. Your soup sounds wonderful. I hope you are havining a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  20. Love this! I’m a fan of the cumin 🙂 Would have never thought to add it to the soup though–great idea!

  21. Your soup looks wonderful! I love garam masala!

  22. I can imagine the burst of spices from this soup. I made fresh garam masala last month and I love this aromatic spice mix. Eating the soup with a some yogurt is a first to me. I really like this soup.

  23. nice and spicy, love it, a great twist!

  24. I’ve never actually thought that carrot soup looked good until I saw your recipe. I love those spices!

  25. You can keep the Peanut Butter; I take the Bonne Maman Apricot jam and the Carrot Soup! I just love carrot soup. Have you ever tried it chilled? It’s perfect for hot summer days as well!

    • Oooh, this soup would be great cold! I love the idea. Yum!

  26. I too, was a total peanut butter purist growing up but for the last few years, have added honey to my sandwiches. I feel so adventurous! I will be giving this carrot soup a go in the same spirit of adventure 🙂

    • I love honey with PB. Actually, I love honey with just about anything!

  27. I love carrots too, but have never tried a carrot soup… Sounds great for summer! Thanks for sharing!

  28. This looks SO yummy! I like switching out sour cream for Greek yogurt. Very interesting. Definitely making this soon!!

  29. This is pure and simply good.

  30. […] Pure and Simple: Spiced Carrot Soup « Cozy, Delicious And I can remember the day when I finally tasted the marriage of my beloved, slightly grainy, Smuckers chunky peanut butter and bright, sweet, Bonne Maman apricot jam (yes, Bonne Maman – my mom has long been a jam snob, thank goodness). […]

  31. I’m making this now!

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