The vibrant orange color of fall is captured in this easy-to-prepare soup. The soup combines the flavor of subtly sweet carrots with the sweet, yet slightly tart taste of orange and is accented by the pungent essence of ginger.
When broth (chicken or vegetable) is combined with puréed carrots, orange juice and ginger, a smooth, fluffy and velvety quality results that will warm and satisfy you.
Wild carrots have been around for millennia, but the cultivated variety is believed to have originated in Afghanistan around the 9th century. By the 1100s carrots had spread to Spain through the Middle East and North Africa. Today they are available year round in grocery stores. When buying, look for plump, firm carrots without cracks.
Try to use fresh ginger because it has a mellow, full-bodied taste, whereas ground ginger is spicier. Buy ginger tubers that are smooth, heavy and firm with a spicy fragrance. Also, while you can use store bought orange juice, the soup is tastier if you prepare fresh orange juice for the recipe. And a bit of fresh lemon juice balances the sweetness of the carrots and orange. Beta-carotene from carrots, vitamin C from orange juice and orange zest and gingerol from ginger – all provide beneficial antioxidant properties and abound in this year-round soup, which also is delicious served chilled during the summer time.
For an autumnal garnish, sprinkle soup with roasted pumpkin seeds or add crunch with a few whole-grain croutons. This soup can be served as an appetizer or entrée or paired with a sandwich for a light meal. This soup can be enjoyed later as a coveted leftover.
Carrot Soup with Orange and Ginger
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cups chopped carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (vegetable stock or broth may be substituted)
4 large strips orange zest
1 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, optional
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped chives (dill may be substituted)
In large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat and add carrots and onions. Sauté about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté additional 2 minutes.
Add broth and orange zest strips. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, uncover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Let mixture cool for several minutes. Discard orange zest strips.
Working in batches, in food processor or blender purée mixture until velvety smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in ginger and orange and lemon juices. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Over low heat, let soup simmer for 5 minutes for flavors to mingle. Garnish with chives and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 150 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 23 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 140 mg sodium.
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