This Carrot Ginger Soup will warm you up from the inside out. Simple and delicious.
This carrot ginger soup is simple, rustic, and feels like your getting a hug from the inside out. As the temps across the US start to drop, many of us are craving foods that are warm and comforting. Unfortunately that can mean things that are less than healthy. Things like pasta, risotto, and cheesy goodness. This carrot ginger soup however, comes in at 357 calories for a 1.5 cup entree sized serving. Not that I count calories regularly, I was just curious so I plugged it in over at My Fitness Pal’s Recipe Calculator. Why don’t I count calories? For me, counting calories makes me far too judgmental of my choices and less in tune with what my body is craving. I did it for thirty days once and ended up restricting my food intake, gaining 7 lbs, and starving all the time. Oh, and I was grumpy, mean, and no fun at all to be around. However, on occasion curiosity gets the best of me and I have to know how something rates by the numbers.
Learning to make a tasty homemade soup should be a staple to any home cook. They are easy to throw together, most of them don’t take a lot of effort or time, but they can be customized to your own personal tastes. I have two versions of carrot soup that I like to make, a carrot dill soup for the spring that I serve cold and this carrot ginger soup that is perfect for the fall. This soup is gluten free and easily adapted to be vegan, I’ll list both swaps as we go. I suggest using a a 2 quart sauce pan. You can go bigger, but the smaller diameter of a 2 quart pan makes it easier to blend with an immersion blender.
Start with your onion. No need to finely chop it up as it will be blended anyway, but you do want to slice it fairly thin so that it takes less time to cook down in the olive oil. Peel and grate your ginger with your favorite microplane. I find that it takes a chunk of ginger that is 3/4″ by 1″ by 1″ to make a solid 1 tablespoon of grated ginger. The garlic should be peeled and chopped into quarters. Carrots should be washed, peeled, and chopped into 1/2 inch rounds.
On a side note: I was very excited to use my new vegetable peeler for this recipe! When I tried to peel the apples for the Apple Crumble post last week, my peeler wouldn’t even cut through the skins. I’ve had quite a few chef friends recommend this vegetable peeler so I went for it. I had seen them before, but always passed judgement on the fact that they are so cheap! However, I am hooked! It works so well and at that price, I can justify replacing it every 6 months or so when it gets dull. If you do decide to buy one (or the three pack), make note that the blade is made of carbon steel. It makes for a very durable and sharp blade, but it means you cannot put it in the dishwasher and you should never leave it to air dry. It will rust and it won’t take long. After you use it, quickly hand wash it and dry thoroughly with a towel. Fairly simple, but very important! Now back to the soup.
Warm your pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and give it a minute to heat up. Add in the onions and cook 3 – 5 minutes stirring occasionally. The onions will begin to soften, become translucent, and will smell yummy. This will take less time if your onions were sliced thin and more time if they are thick. Once they look done, stir in the garlic and ginger. Allow it to cook for about 1 minute more, until it becomes fragrant. Then add in your chicken stock. I used homemade chicken stock, which I will cover in a future recipe, but you can substitute vegetable broth to make this vegan friendly. Bring the stock to a boil and stir in the carrots, salt, and turmeric. The stock will turn an intense yellow cover and should just barely cover the carrots, as you can see in the photo above. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 12 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will know the carrots are done when you can pierce them easily with a fork. The moisture will cook down and look similar to the picture below when it’s done.
When it’s done, turn off the heat before you begin to puree. I used this immersion blender, which I cannot live without. If you choose to use a food processor or a blender, make sure that you allow the soup to cool for a couple of minutes prior to blending so that the heat doesn’t crack your glass or plastic container. If you are using an immersion blender check your clothes. If you don’t want them stained with carrots either go change or grab an apron. It never fails that an immersion blender will send a few splatters flying your way when blending this amount of food.
Before adding your coconut milk, you will have the consistency of baby food. Which is exactly what baby food is, but perhaps without the additional salt and turmeric. Pour in your coconut milk and add in one teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce. The Worcestershire Sauce adds depth to this carrot ginger soup and takes it from an okay dish to a great one. This is also the second substitute you will need to make this soup vegan friendly, as Worcestershire contains anchovies. A great substitute would be a balsamic vinegar, a wine vinegar, or a little bit of lemon juice. Any of these will provide a small amount of acid that will react with the sweetness of the carrots and create a better balance. Speaking of balance, this carrot ginger soup gets a wine pairing!
With the Thanksgiving holiday a month away, this soup would make a great first course when paired with cornbread and white wine. Typically my go to would be a Sauvignon Blanc for this soup. However, I wanted to reach outside of my own comfort zone and find something different. I was already in Trader Joe’s so I scouted out their wine selection and found both of these. A dry style Gewurztraminer from Vintjs in Mendocino County, CA, and a Viognier from Trader Moon Wines which sources grapes from multiple locations. I called my friend Lorena over to help with the tasting and we both came to the same conclusions.
The Honey Moon Viognier has a heavier mouth feel, but was slightly sweet with notes of honeysuckle and, true to it’s name, honey. We both feel that it would be a passable match, but that it work better if the soup had a spicier element to it. Without that spice the wine finishes a bit flabby. However, when paired with the cornbread alone, it was quite good.
The Vintjs Gewurztraminer had a fuller body with low acid and a lingering mineral finish. The nose is very fruity, with hints of apricot, apple, pear and honey blossom without being too sweet. Unlike most Gewurztraminers, which tend to be very sweet, almost dessert like, this one was refreshingly dry. The Gewurztraminer was our hands down winner when matched with this soup.
The best part of this wine pairing is that both of these bottles came in under $6, which always amazes me about Trader Joe’s. I have yet to find inexpensive wine elsewhere that I would actually recommend, as most of it is just cheap.
If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, I would suggest looking for something fruity and dry, with no oak and a heavier body. A couple others that would pair well are the 2013 Zaca Mesa Viognier for $16.99, this 2011 St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc at $20.99, or one of my all time favorites 2014 Hall Sauvignon Blanc for $22.99.
In the time it takes to cook the cornbread you can whip up this carrot ginger soup, open a bottle of wine, and throw together a yummy week night dinner or the first course to something impressive.
What’s your favorite type of vegetable soup? Have you ever made vegetable soup from scratch? What’s your inexpensive wine pairing? Let me know in the comments below!
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Carrot Ginger Soup
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 TBSP fresh grated ginger
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups chopped carrots approx. 6 - 8 medium to large carrots
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Slice the onion, chop the garlic, grate the ginger, peel and chop the carrots.
- Warm a 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add your olive oil and allow to warm.
- Add the onions and cook 3-5 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and ginger, cook 1 minute more or until fragrant.
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- Stir in the carrots, turmeric, and salt.
- Cover and reduce heat to medium low.
- Simmer for 12 - 15 minutes or until carrots can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Remove from heat and puree mixture using an immersion blender. If using a blender or food processor, allow the mixture to cool a couple of minutes before processing.
- Stir in coconut milk and Worcestershire sauce.
- Serve warm.