There are so many reasons to eat Carrot and Cumin soup. You might not fancy a big meal, perhaps you’re a bit under the weather, it might be really cold outside and you need warming up, or maybe you’ve got the remains of your vegetable drawer to use up before your next shop. This soup is also pretty quick to make and fairly self-sufficient whilst cooking, so you can have a meal on the table with minimal faff.
Using up leftover vegetables to make something delicious is also a great way to avoid food waste, so you have the added benefit of being able to revel in your own smugness whilst you eat it!
Whatever your reason for making soup, it’s probably a good one. Mine is often that I have some vegetables leftover – maybe a lonely leek, a crinkly celeriac, or a clutch of carrots, and it’s those carrots that form the basis for this delicious Carrot and Cumin Soup recipe.
Why is carrot and cumin soup so good?
Cumin, a member of the parsley family, is the natural bedfellow for carrots in this recipe, imparting a gentle warmth that complements the subtle flavour of the carrots rather than overpowering it.
A common combination with carrots in soup is coriander, and I do use coriander stalks and leaves in this soup. But I really love the warmth and aroma that freshly toasted, cracked cumin seeds bring to this recipe and wouldn’t choose to eat carrot soup without it.
And the addition of the fresh ginger – not too much – serves to add just a little more depth to the overall flavour. All without reducing the intensely orange colour that helps to make this soup so appealing to eat.
What can I use instead of cumin seeds?
I know this is called carrot and cumin soup, but if you don’t have any cumin seeds, you do have choices! Consider swapping the cumin seeds for any of the following. Some may intensify the flavour of the dish, but won’t change its overall flavour profile:
- ready ground cumin powder – reduce the amount just a little
- coriander seeds, treated in the same way as the cumin seeds in this recipe
- ground coriander – again, reduce the amount to just under a teaspoon
- a mild or medium heat curry powder
Can I add or change anything else in this carrot and cumin soup recipe?
At risk of this no longer being carrot and cumin soup, yes, you can! All of the hacks below should maintain the vibrant colour and warm, subtle flavours.
I love the subtlety of the carrot flavour, but if you don’t have enough carrots, you can add similar quantities of any squash that has a vibrant orange flesh. Doing so should not significantly alter the flavour profile of the soup.
You could also use an orange-fleshed sweet potato, but it is likely to overpower any carrot flavour that you have in there.
To add more protein to this dish you can do several things:
- Sprinkle in 1.5 tablespoons of finely ground hemp seeds before blending
- Add half a tin of cooked cannellini beans before blending
- Blend in 150grms of cooked red lentils
You can also find a few more ‘protein hacks’ in my Guide to Vegan Pregnancy blog. You don’t have to be pregnant to read it!
Roast the vegetables first
If you roast the vegetables first, it will give this soup a delicious, caramelised flavour, although the appearance will be darker.
Cut the onions into wedges and the celery into diagonal chunks instead of chopping. Add these, and the carrots and potato, to a roasting tray with a couple of tablespoons of oil and roast in a hot oven for about 30 minutes, turning once. Add the garlic, still in its skin, after 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté the ginger, coriander stalks and cumin seeds before adding the roasted vegetables and continuing with the recipe.
Here is my Recipe for Carrot and Cumin Soup
Carrot and Cumin Soup
- 1 Hand held or worktop blender/food processor
- 1 Pestle and Mortar
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil Use organic if possible
- 1 large white/brown onion roughly chopped
- 1 celery stick roughly sliced
- 1 large clove of garlic peeled and chopped finely
- 2 cm piece of fresh ginger peeled, then grated or finely chopped
- 1 dsp cumin seeds I use a 10ml measuring spoon
- 15 grms fresh coriander, leaves and stalks separated and chopped finely keep leaves and stalks separate
- 600 grms carrots, chopped into 2-3cm chunks just scrubbed if organic, peeled if not
- 1 medium potato peeled and cubed
- 750 ml vegan stock I use Marigold's vegan bouillon
- a splash of plant-based milk optional
- 1 small handful pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil to finish optional
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a small frying pan (without any oil) over a medium heat and toast the cumin seeds for a minute or two until fragrant. Keep them moving so they don't burn, then crack them in a pestle and mortar with a few bashes - you don't want to grind them to a powder.Using the same frying pan, toast the pumpkin seeds in the same way, then tip into a small dish to cool.
- Heat the rapeseed oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat and add the cracked cumin seeds, onion and celery. Sauté gently for a few minutes until they start to soften, but not brown, then add the coriander stalks, garlic and ginger. Sauté gently for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Now add the chopped potato and carrots, stirring to coat in the onion and spice. Add a pinch of salt, lower the heat to a whisper and cover with a lid. If you want to get cheffy, use a round of greaseproof paper directly on top of the vegetables before putting the lid on. Leave to sauté very slowly for 10-15 minutes - lift the lid occasionally to make sure it is gently sizzling away without burning. Stir once or twice if necessary. Your aim is to gently soften the vegetables, drawing out their sweetness.
- Now remove the lid and your cheffy greaseproof paper if used, and add the stock. Bring to the boil then immediately reduce the heat so that it simmers gently without the lid.
- After 5 minutes or so, the vegetables should be soft enough to blend (if not, continue simmering for a few more minutes). Check for seasoning and grind in lots of black pepper - go for about 20 grinds of the pepper mill, unless you really don't like black pepper!
- Blend the soup - a stick blender is great. If you prefer a smoother soup, use a food processor or table top blender. Add more stock if your soup is too thick and blend again to mix it in. Return soup to the pan.
- Add a splash or two of your chosen plant milk and stir in - this gives it a more creamy taste and appearance.
- Check seasoning and adjust. Reheat if necessary, then ladle into your serving bowls.
- Finish by sprinkling with toasted pumpkin seeds, another grind of black pepper, chopped coriander leaves and a drizzle of your chosen oil to finish. Then eat and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this carrot and cumin soup recipe. Please visit my recipes page for more vegan food inspiration!
You could add a pinch of dried chilli flakes to the onions whilst sautéing, or how about a dash of hot sauce swirled on the top of this delicious carrot and cumin soup before serving?
If you cool it fairly quickly and then cover it and refrigerate, it should be fine for 3-4 days.
Many soups will freeze very successfully and keep for 3-4 months in the freezer. I tend to avoid adding too much garlic or spice if I am freezing a soup though, and will add it to the soup when I defrost it and heat it up. Some spices can make a soup taste a bit ‘musty’ when frozen.
This really depends on whether or not the carrot is organic. If it is, then generally a good scrub with a vegetable brush under running water will do the trick. Just make sure you remove any grit or mud. If it’s not organic, I would always peel it.
Yes, I believe you can. Overcooked carrots in soup will behave in exactly the same way as if you overcook them to eat on their own. They are likely to tasteless and to loose all their ‘personality’!