Have a big bunch of carrots sitting in your refrigerator? With less frequent trips to the grocery stores due to social distancing, you want to make use, as much as possible, of the foods and produce you have at home. And that is exactly what I’ve been doing these past few weeks — getting creative in the kitchen to avoid wasting food and minimise trips to the store.
Made with carrots, sweet potato, celery, garlic, cooking onion, yellow or red lentils, the flavour of this carrot lentil soup is enhanced with ginger, cumin, turmeric and paprika. The spices blend in perfectly with the sweetness of the carrots and sweet potato. Packed with vitamins, plant-protein and immune-boosting properties from the lemon juice, ginger and turmeric, one bowl is a complete healthy meal. It will keep you satisfied during these trying times.
Spicy carrot lentil soup
Oven 200°C / 390°F
1 large baking sheet lined with parchment paper
1 big soup pot
- Extra virgin olive oil (for sautéing/baking)
- 4 cups (700 gr.) carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium-size (350 gr.) sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) dried thyme
- 1 big cooking onion, chopped
- 2-3 garlic buds, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 heaping tablespoon (tbsp) finely chopped ginger root -or- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp finely chopped turmeric root -or- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp mild or hot paprika powder (your choice!)
- 1 tsp granulated sugar cane or brown sugar
- ½ cup dry yellow or red lentils
- 6 to 8 cups of water (add more for a desired textured)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Salt and cracked pepper, to taste
- Add some cream, about ¼ cup (dairy or nut cream such as coconut, cashew, walnut or almond)
- Topping (option): seeds, nuts or herbs. I added dried parsley and pistachios.
Put the chopped carrots and sweet potato in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add thyme. Toss until well coated with oil and thyme. Spread on the baking sheet and bake in preheated oven on the middle rack for 30 minutes until tender.
While the carrots and potatoes bake, prepare, chop and measure the remaining ingredients. Put the onion, garlic and celery in one bowl. Put the ginger, cumin, turmeric, paprika and sugar in another small bowl.
In a big soup pot, heat up 3 tbsps of olive oil. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, garlic and celery and sauté for 4 minutes. Add the spices and sugar and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add a bit of water if ingredients stick to the bottom.
Add the yellow (or red) lentils and toss them well until they are coated with the oil, spices and other ingredients. Add a little more water again if it sticks and adjust heat.
Add the baked carrots and sweet potatoes and toss until blended.
Add the 6 cups of water and ¼ cup lemon juice. With cover half on, simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Purée the ingredients directly in the pot with a handheld blender until smooth or you obtain a desired texture. You can also use a stand up blender and purée the soup in batches.
Add an extra 1 or 2 cups of water, or as much as you prefer. For a more fluid soup, do add more water.
Add salt, pepper and cream. Additional cream can also be added to individual portions.