Carrots love spice. And they can handle a good dose of it: One of my favorite treatments is to sprinkle them with an assortment of warming, perhaps smoky, sometimes even hot spices before roasting, and then drizzle them with a little honey for sweetness and citrus for balancing tartness. Delicious.
Those same carrots take well to blending, too. Just last week, I had an oversupply, so after a few days of eating them in bowls and alongside mains, I remembered just how much I loved the carrot hummus from the “River Cottage Veg” book a few years back, so I pureed them with chickpeas and tahini. It extended their usefulness by almost another week.
Puree them with even more liquid, naturally, and you’ve got a lovely soup. Add cashews and a little nondairy milk, the way Aran Goyoaga does in her new book, and the soup is silky and vegan. This recipe doesn’t employ — or need — honey or sugar, but allows the natural sweetness of the carrots to carry that side of the balance sheet.
My only adjustment was to increase the cashews — not the ones that go in the soup, but that ones that go on top for serving. As much as I like a creamy soup, especially one with all these flavors, a little crunch in every bite makes it even better.
Roasted Carrot and Cashew Soup
Active: 20 minutes | Total: 40 minutes
6 servings (makes 9 cups)
This simple, creamy (but vegan) soup gets a dose of complexity and heat from the spices, which help balance the carrots’ natural sweetness. Pair with a dark, toasted bread, if you like, for a satisfying meal.
Make Ahead: The roasted carrots can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before finishing the soup.
Storage Notes: The finished soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.
2 pounds carrots, trimmed, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium shallot, quartered
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground sumac
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 cups no-sodium-added vegetable broth
1 cup (6 ounces) roasted, unsalted cashews
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk or cashew milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice or apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the middle.
In a large bowl, toss the carrots with the garlic, shallot, oil, salt, black pepper, coriander, sumac and red pepper flakes. Transfer to a sheet pan large enough for the carrots to fit in a single layer. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth in a saucepan over low heat and keep warm.
Place 1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) cashews in a high-speed blender. Add the coconut milk and puree until smooth. Chop the remaining cashews for garnish.
Add the carrots and vegetable broth to the blender and puree until smooth. (If necessary, puree the soup in batches, combining about half of each — the stock, carrots and cashew puree — in each batch and stirring everything together again before serving.) Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
If needed, return the soup to the saucepan over medium heat and warm until heated through. Stir in the lime juice or vinegar and divide the soup among serving bowls. Top with chopped cashews and drizzle with olive oil. Serve hot.