Gone are the days when store-bought soup satisfies me. Homemade soups are always better. Especially if they involve a new ingredient or an entrancing flavor combination. A recipe gets extra points if it is vegetable-laden. And this Vegan Curried Coconut Carrot Soup fits my soup profile to a “T” as my mom used to say.
This recipe riffs on one from TheKitchn, a site which generally has good recipes. I liked theirs, but ultimately couldn’t help tinkering with it. I’ve simplified the recipe, changed some of the quantities, added explanations and a few ingredients. Perhaps most important, I have simplified it by providing weights for the vegetables and rounded the quantities of liquid. (Who wants to measure out carrot chunks in cups? Not me!) In my version, you can use store bought cans and boxes without pesky leftovers or needing to open another can for a single ounce in the case of coconut milk.
The star ingredient in this Vegan Curried Coconut Carrot Soup is, of course, the carrots. I couldn’t resist adding rainbow carrots from my CSA (community supported agriculture) share because they are so beautiful as well as delicious. But don’t be shy about using store-bought. They can be just fine, as long as they’re tasty.
I pause here for an uncompensated pitch for local farmers and CSAs. My own CSA from Norman’s Farm Market, has been a bright spot during lockdown and I’ve already signed up for next year, glad for both the food and the smiles that I get weekly. I still go to grocery stores for other supplies, such as boxed broth and coconut milk, and even for some fruits and vegetables. But if you’ve gone into reverie after biting into a carrot or a tomato, a peach or a plum, I’ll bet it came from a local farm.
This soup is creamy yet dairy-free. The secret is coconut milk and puréed carrots. go for quality on both counts and you won’t regret it. I can’t be bothered to test out multiple types of coconut milk or broth, so I use the brand recommended by Epicurious and America’s Test Kitchen.
For carrots, there is no foolproof way to know in advance whether they will be delicious. The proof is, as the saying goes, in the tasting. So before you make this soup, chomp on a bit of one of the carrots you are going to use. If it’s sweet and scrumptious, carry on. If not, then I’d advise saving them for a dish that is less carrot-centric, and finding better carrots for this soup.
This Vegan Curried Coconut Carrot Soup has basically three steps. First though, like almost all recipes, it helps to organize your ingredients.
Measuring out the coconut oil, and peeling and chopping the vegetables takes a bit of time. But once that is done, the recipe is a breeze.
First you sauté the vegetables and spices.
Then you add the liquids (coconut milk and vegetable broth), cooking them until the carrots have softened.
And finally you purée the soup. Don’t be distressed if you find the color not quite right before the final step – believe me, all will be well.
Then all you have left to do is to enjoy the creamy carroty, slightly (or very) spicy soup.
Vegan Curried Coconut Carrot Soup
A simple and satisfying soup that you and your family/guests will love whether you're vegans, vegetarians or just food lovers.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil 5/8 oz /20g See note about refined vs unrefined
- 1 medium/large onion, peeled and chopped About 7 oz/200 g
- 6 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-2" pieces About 2 lbs/900 g
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and diced About 0.5 oz/15 g. See note about peeling ginger.
- 4 cups vegetable broth, homemade or store bought 32 fl.oz/946 ml
- 1 can coconut milk (full fat) 14-15 oz/414-443 ml. See note on types of coconut milk
- 1/2 tablespoon mild curry powder See note about curry powders
- 1/2 tablespoon hot curry powder See note about curry powders
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- chili flakes, chili oil, or hot sauce (optional)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, for color (optional)
- juice of 1 lime
- fresh herbs for garnish (optional)
Heat the coconut oil on medium-low in a large, non-reactive pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, until the onions become translucent.
Add the chopped carrots and ginger, stirring occasionally and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the curry powders at the end and stir until the vegetables are coated with the curry powders.
Pour the liquids (vegetable broth and coconut milk) into the pot, stir, and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Cover and cook the soup on low for about 10 minutes, until the carrots are softened. Uncover and let the soup cool to warm. Don't worry if you find the color unappealing at this stage. It will turn bright orange after blending, either just from the carrots or from the carrots and turmeric.
Using an immersion blender or carefully moving the soup in batches, puree the soup until it is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Now is the time to add salt and pepper, more heat if you'd like (using chili flakes, chili oil, or hot sauce.) If you feel that the color should be more orange, add the turmeric.
When ready to serve, add the juice of a lime and if desired, some fresh herbs for garnish.
Refined coconut oil has a milder taste than the unrefined type. I prefer the former for cooking, but in this case, where coconut is in the recipe in another form (i.e., coconut milk), you could use either.
I find that the easiest way to peel fresh ginger is with a spoon. If you prefer, using a vegetable peeler or small knife.
When cooking, I always use full fat coconut milk, I find that the low fat versions are too watery and don't provide sufficient creaminess. See the post for my recommendations on which brands to use.
Curry powders are really combinations of spices and they vary in heat (spiciness). I used mild and hot pre-mixed curry powders in combination. Check your curry powders to make sure they are still fresh, and decide how much of each to use based on how spicy you want your soup to be.