I have been on a soup kick lately, because soups--along with air-popped popcorn and microwaved bowls of quick oats--are what I turn to when I need an edible security blanket. The past few months have been a topsy-turvy period of transition, an effort to close the gap between the person I am and the person I want to be. I feel like I've dropped a bundle of pick-up sticks on the floor, and I'm staring down at a multicolored jumble without a clue of how to start picking them up again. I know that I eventually will. But at the moment there is uncertainty about how exactly that will happen, and uncertainty ranks up there with snakes and heights as something that really scares me.
So I have been eating soup: the miso ginger sweet potato soup that always gives me a reassuring sense of confidence. The delectable curried cauliflower chowder that I started making this past winter. The creamy tomato soup that has been on the meal plan nearly every week, partly because it manages to taste like far more effort it actually is and partly because I have no idea what else to do with the pint of half-and-half in my refrigerator. And finally, this carrot soup, inspired by necessity in the form of a pound and a half of aging carrots left over from a soba, sesame, and carrot salad.
I am biased, and obviously predisposed towards soup in general at the moment, but this carrot soup was a revelation on a gray Saturday evening. You start by roasting carrots and onions with garam masala, which brings out a lovely warm sweetness. Then you puree them with a can of coconut milk and add a touch of lime juice and a hint of salt to balance everything out. The finished soup is creamy and vegan and gluten-free and all those sorts of food blog buzzwords, but what it really tastes like is an enveloping hug at the moment when you need it most.
I don't know what's going to happen with the pick-up sticks yet, how I'll start picking them up or if maybe I will just sit with them for awhile longer. But if I have the sort of problems that can be alleviated with a bowl of carrot soup, I know that everything will be okay.
Adapted from A Beautiful Plate
Yield: about 4 (1 cup) servings
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1 inch pieces (about 4 cups)
- 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- (13.5) ounce can light coconut milk
- juice of one lime (about 3 tablespoons)
- pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the carrots and onions on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with coconut oil, and sprinkle with garam masala, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper. Toss to evenly coat vegetables with spices.
Roast until vegetables are very tender and starting to brown, stirring halfway through baking time, about 25 minutes.
Add coconut milk and half of the roasted vegetables to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add remaining vegetables and blend until smooth. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 cup of boiling water. Blend until smooth. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.