I thought I would say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016 with a recipe that sums up how I approach healthy cooking day in and day out, year in and year out. This Curried Carrot Soup is a no-fuss, nourishing, delicious, and despite all of its simplicity, beautiful bowl of goodness.
Certainly some of the things I whip up in the kitchen require quite a few steps- I am looking at you Chocolate and Hazelnut Praline Truffles- but then again, those lengthier processes can be a bit meditative. This soup, on the other hand, is for the majority of days, when I am cooking not for the process, but for the finish line. One pot and a mere 25 minutes, and dinner is served.
I share this soup with you because it celebrates what I strive to show in every recipe post here on the blog- nutritious food that is also.....wait for it....delicious. Yes, lick-the-wooden spoon-and-perhaps-even-the bowl-delicious. I often hear people announce that they fall into two categories, that is, they "live to eat" or that they "eat to live." Being a member of the first camp implies that you eat only to enjoy, to savor, to indulge. While subscribing to the second statement implies that you eat for sustenance, out of necessity, because your body needs those vital nutrients to function. This soup, fragrant with curry and subtly sweet with coconut and a zing of fresh lemon and ginger, proves that you can have it both ways; you can eat to enjoy while nourishing yourself from the inside out. This soup just tastes good. The fact that it happens to be really, really good for you is just sort of icing on the cake...or avocado on your toast if we are going with the healthy theme.
Alright, I will get to the recipe soon enough, but one more thing that made me want to finish the year off with this soup is that it is gorgeous without even trying. It is like those girls who wake up with just enough smudge of eyeliner from the night before, throw their hair in a loose ponytail, and toss on those cool jeans and that cozy sweater and just walk out the door. Needless to say I have never been one of those effortlessly chic types, but I like to channel that vibe in my food. Looks sell, and this is even more important in healthier dishes, when "plant-based" conjures up images of lettuce-noshing rabbits. In this soup, I let the natural beauty of the ingredients speak for themselves, without a mask of a heavy sauces or cloak of condiments. The golden orange comes from the carrots and curry powder, and it is just the tiniest bit tempered by the coconut milk. Cilantro, just roughly chopped, and lightly toasted coconut get dusted on for a little contrast and to compliment the southeast Asian flavors. Beauty in a bowl this is.
While the soup is perfect served alongside a grain of choice or a nice whole grain bread for an everyday dinner, think about serving it as a little shooter for your next party. I promise they will want the recipe.
Curried Coconut Soup
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 pound carrots, washed, peeled, and sliced into 1/4-inch coins
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup water
1 cup coconut milk (I used homemade full-fat)
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1/4 lemon, zested and juiced
pinch of cayenne powder (optional, if you like a bit of spice)
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped fresh cilantro, optional garnish
toasted unsweetened coconut, optional garnish
Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add carrots, curry powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and saute until curry becomes fragrant, about 30-45 seconds. Add water and stir, making sure carrots are submerged. Bring mixture to boil, and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes or until carrots are easily mashed with spoon.
Either transfer mixture to blender or using an immersion blender right in the pot, blend mixture until desired consistency is reached, adding coconut milk as you blend. Add freshly grated ginger, lemon juice and zest, and cayenne powder, if using and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm on low heat on the stove top until serving. Garnish with cilantro and/or toasted coconut, and serve. Enjoy! Makes 4 bowl servings or 12 shooter servings.