When the winter weather is still decidedly chilly, there’s nothing more satisfying than snuggling on the couch with a bowl of comforting food and a pair of thermal socks. Soup is one of the meals that I make most regularly throughout the colder months and this super-simple and oh-so-comforting recipe is my new favorite. It’s fast and easy to make, and did I mention it’s vegan? BOOM.
You start with some carrots and lentils—almost any kind will do—but I always settle for red to maintain the vibrant color. Carrots, a powerful antioxidant, which can be converted into the precursor for vitamin A, is great for maintaining healthy eyes and skin. Lentils, the hassle-free compliment, are nutty and full of fiber, which helps you feel fuller for longer. They’re also a great source of protein and magnesium, a mineral that is responsible for many chemical reactions in the body, including regulating blood pressure, strengthening muscles and bones, and keeping your immune system strong (a MUST during the winter months!).
The coconut milk compliments the spices, while giving the soup a nice velvety texture that makes bread dipping essential to the enjoyment of the meal. The subtle hint of ginger rounds out the taste and is a great way to get your blood flowing and keep away the chills. And if you’re into spicy foods and want a bit of extra heat, you can add another habanero. But if you want to keep it on the milder side and still preserve the pepper’s delicious flavor, clear out the white pith, ribs, and seedy interior completely, and use the outer shell only.
And lastly, cilantro. I am a huge lover of cilantro’s pungent taste and distinct flavor. I truly believe that it adds depth to so many classic dishes. I typically use fresh cilantro in cold dishes, sides, and sauces, but adding the fresh leaves and stems to this soup really brings out a distinct flavor. Be sure to add the jagged leaves and stems shortly after cooking the soup and before you blend. The heat reduces the flavor of the herb, but if you keep the cooking time to a minimum, the leaves will still leave a rich taste.
This soup is not only fuss-free and easy to make, but it’s also a good meal to freeze for a quick and easy answer to dinnertime dilemmas. I like to make a big batch and set aside half to be portioned out and frozen for days when cooking seems like a chore. Just be sure to let the soup cool completely before freezing it. If you want to speed along the process, you can stick it in the refrigerator or an ice bath. Also be sure to leave about an inch of space to let the soup breathe and expand in the container.
Coconut Curry Carrot Soup— it’s a must make for winter. The soup comes together in less than an hour, prep included. I truly think the simpleness of it is really what makes this a great soup. Enjoy!
Coconut Curry Carrot Soup
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ pounds carrots, peeled, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup dry lentils
- Himalayan sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 habanero pepper, seeded, chopped
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- Handful of fresh cilantro
- Crushed red pepper flakes, cilantro leaves, crushed red pepper flakes, or flaky bread (for serving)
- Heat oil in a small pot over medium-high. Add chopped carrots, season with salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned around the edges.
- Add chiles, shallot, ginger, garlic, curry powder, and turmeric powder and cook, stirring often, until shallot and garlic are softened.
- Add coconut milk and water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until carrots and lentils are tender.
- Remove from the heat. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and stems, add to the pan along with some salt and pepper to taste.
- Purée with an immersion blender or carefully in small batches in a blender until smooth.
- Garnish with red pepper flakes, cilantro leaves, or crushed red pepper flakes and serve with warm, flaky bread.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julianka Bell is a Registered Dietitian, nutrition consultant, and founder of Nutrition Her, a platform focused on having an honest conversation about women and food. She works with food and wellness brands to help tell their story, and provides personalized nutrition counseling in New York City. She holds a Master of Science in Nutrition from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition. You can find Julianka on Instagram @nutrition.her.