Starting off the Vegan Food Week

And were off! Vegan week begins today, and I started my day with a big, thick green smoothie for optimum vegan nutrition. But you already hear enough about green smoothies, lets kick off vegan week with a hearty creamy cream-less soup, shall we?

This is the kind of soup that warms you from the inside out. Thick and hearty, with strong undertones of ground cumin and cilantro, brightened by the sweetness of the carrot.

I had a soup similar to this at a restaurant a while back, though I can’t remember where. What I do remember, however is that the flavors stuck with me. I loved the contrast of the carrot and cilantro, and for my own version I knew I wanted it thick and creamy- a meal worthy soup. I added a bit of red lentils for the satiety factor, but aside from that this soup couldn’t be simpler: carrots, onions, almond milk and a whole lot of bold spice.

Did I mention it’s vegan? Goes along perfectly with this week’s challenge, proving you don’t need milk or cream for a creamy, luscious soup.

Carrot Coriander Soup

4 cups roughly chopped carrots (about 1 lb)
1 vegetable bouillon cube or 2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup red lentils, dry
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced small
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
large handful fresh cilantro, trimmed
3/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch ground ginger
1 cup almond milk
sea salt to taste

1. Bring six cups of water to a boil in a medium stockpot. Add bouillon cube and stir to dissolve. (Alternately, add four cups of water and two cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil). Carefully add carrots and return to a boil.

2. Reduce to a rolling simmer, add lentils and stir. Let simmer 20-30 minutes until lentils are fully cooked and carrots are very soft. Drain in a mesh strainer, reserving 1 cup of broth and let cool slightly.

3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add onion and sautee until translucent but not browned. Add garlic and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.

4. Transfer half the carrots, onions, spices, cilantro and half the almond milk to a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, set aside.

5. Add other half of carrots to blender with the other half of the almond milk as well as a bit of reserved broth if needed for blending. Blend until smooth.

6. Add second half of blended carrots to bowl with first half. Stir well to combine all seasonings. If mixture is too thick, whisk in more reserved broth. Taste for seasoning and add more spices and salt as desired. Transfer to bowls, garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve warm. Enjoy!

Note: This soup keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days, and also freezes extremely well.