Roasty Toasty Carrot & Squash Soup

November 15th, 2012 at 8:08 am
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I don’t share soup recipes with you all that often, which—quite unfortunately—has been sending the wrong message, I think. Because in reality, there’s nothing I love more than soup on a cool autumn or winter day. I make some kind of soup or stew or one-pot/skillet meal at least twice a week. And truthfully, I would make it more often if I wasn’t worried about getting soup fatigue. I don’t want to fall into the too-much-of-a-good-thing trap.

If I’m being totally honest, one of the biggest reasons—if not the biggest reason—I don’t post many soup recipes is because, like beverages, I find them really hard to photograph. If the light isn’t just right, and the ingredients aren’t super bright and colorful, a bowl of soup—say brown lentil and kale stew, for instance—can look pretty awful, even though it might be delicious and packed with healthy ingredients. And the last thing I want to do is to start putting a disclaimer with all of my soup recipes saying something like, “Don’t be afraid of this ugly soup. It’s actually amazing and really healthy.”

No, that just won’t do.

But in the coming months, I’ve resolved to share more soup recipes so long as they’re delicious and photogenic. They’re just too simple to make, nutritious, and affordable to leave on the sidelines.

A few weeks ago, I received a copy of Lora Krulak’s new book, Veggies for Carnivores: Moving Vegetables to the Center of the Plate. Lora’s book debunks the common myth that veggies are boring, flavorless, and lackluster…so why bother with them? Drawing on her many global travels and her professional culinary training, Lora pulls together simple ingredients in wholesome and delicious ways in all of her recipes.

In Veggies for Carnivores, Lora proves that “you don’t have to become a vegetarian to embrace vegetables.” From dressings to sauces to salads to sides, the book offers tips for…

  • Creatively incorporating veggies into every dish
  • Mastering basic skills and techniques to make preparing veggies simple
  • Stocking your kitchen with useful staples and tools
  • Bringing ethnic flavor to your own kitchen table

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Upon browsing the soup section of the book, I was inspired to use the seasonal produce in my pantry and refrigerator to whip up this Roasty Toasty Carrot & Squash Soup. Lora has several recipes that employ the good old roasting technique, one that I think is under-utilized by just about everyone! So I decided to roast the vegetables before blending them into my soup as a way to add more flavor. As Lora says, “the flavors intensify [and] the veggies get sweeter.” I couldn’t agree more.

Lora is all about using seasonal produce whenever you can, and what could be more seasonal right now than squash? I’ve been exploring the wide world of squashes quite a bit this fall and have found a new favorite: delicata. It’s so creamy and sweet it can almost pass for dessert. I had a hunch that it would be a killer complement for the carrots in this soup…and I was right. One spoonful just blooms with autumnal flavor. Roasting the vegetables and lightly toasting the spices boosts their flavors in a big way.

If you’re looking to work more veggies into your diet and break out of some classic “carnivorous” patterns, Lora’s book is a great place to start. (It’s available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.)

And now, the soup…

 

Roasty Toasty Carrot & Squash Soup

Serves 4 (or 6 for smaller servings)

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2  1/2 pounds delicata or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil (or use more extra-virgin olive oil)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4-6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

4  1/2 – 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth (less for thicker soup, more for thinner soup)

Grade B maple syrup, to taste (optional)

Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the squash, carrots, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt together on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and lightly brown in spots. Set aside.

Heat the coconut oil (or olive oil, if that’s what you’re using) in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, cumin, coriander, and ginger. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute to toast the spices. Add the roasted vegetables and 4  1/2 cups broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

Puree the soup using an immersion blender if you have one, or use care and puree it in a regular blender in batches. (Be very careful when pureeing hot liquids!) As you blend, add additional broth if needed to thin the soup out to your desired consistency.

Taste and add more salt if needed along with a drizzle of maple syrup, if desired, to bring out the sweetness of the vegetables. Serve garnished with pumpkin seeds (if using).

Disclosure: I was provided with a free of copy of Veggies for Carnivores to review, but my opinions are my own.

Comments

  1. I have to agree that photographing soups can be a challenge but wanted to suggest a few tips:
    - for blah-colored soups, try a colorful bowl or pretty napkin in the background, something that will provide a nice contrast
    - garnish, garnish, garnish!
    - some soups photograph better cold, after they’ve thickened up a bit (also, garnishes are less likely to sink.) so wait till you have leftovers!

  2. I did just about the same in my house yesterday before I saw your post. Roasting various left over vegys in the oven gives the soup an amazing taste and using cumin seeds etc in a large pot gives the soup another layer of tastiness that is hard to beat. Yum. I will definitely be doing your version.

  3. Your soup looks and sounds so tasty! I totally agree with your description of how roasting veggies brings out the flavors in them. I’m sure my family would love this soup.

  4. Yum! I made this for supper tonight, and it’s so delicious. I opted for the butternut squash. Even my husband, who doesn’t like vegetables, said this was really good.

  5. Looks delicious! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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