Good nutritional sense tells us that if we concentrate on getting the most variety of colorful ingredients on our plates we can hopefully cover all the main components for optimal health. In our “Captivating Creamy Carrot Soup” we have the dominant bright orange color which contains ample amounts of beta-carotene. This is used to create Vitamin A in our bodies, a valuable factor in maintaining good eyesight. The addition of fresh ginger add a plethora of vital healing elements to our soup.
Luminous yellow or orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers and fruits like apricots, cantaloupe and mangoes are high on the list to fill that part of the nutritional color wheel. They provide us with the important quality of Vitamin A, also called retinol, which helps prevent cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and night blindness. Coupled with the stunning healing properties of dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach, the essential carotenoids called lutein also helps to maintain our precious eyesight. Another color we may include in our meals is dark blue, as in blackberries and blueberries. These also aid in helping to add anti-oxidants to our diets which are disease fighting compounds that maintain healthy vision.
The trick to making Vegan creamy soups is to incorporate a thickening agent which when soaked, added and whipped into the soup with a stick hand blender or food processor, renders the vegetable into a delicious, creamy texture without fat or oils. Some of the common thickeners that can be used are: cooked potatoes, soaked raw cashews, chia seeds soaked into a paste, arrowroot powder, and oats or oat fiber. Even tapioca flour, a grain-free, product made from the starch of the cassava root, can be used as a thickener.
There are other thickening agents that are less well known and are generally more exotic that can be used with some degree of investigation. Use these sparingly at first until you get familiar with the ingredients and the proper proportions for your recipe. Some of these are:
- psyllium husks: very high in fiber, calorie free, gluten-free and aids digestion.
- coconut flour: non-grain, tasty, good texture and excellent thickener
- agar-agar: from seaweed, animal-free gelatin, fat and sugar free
- chickpea flour: gluten-free, high in nutrition, good for pancakes, vegan omelets and to coat vegetables for baking.
Our healthy creamy carrot soup starts with the best carrots available, hopefully organic or better yet veganic. Always buy the most vibrant colored carrots with the green tops intact, this shows that the vegetable is still alive and growing. Cut the tops off and save a few for juicing, although slightly bitter they are loaded with important nutrients. Once cut, clean the skins well with water and a brush and slightly dry to store in a crisper at cool temperature. Avoid purchasing any that are “hairy” or limp but are strong and straight.
Some people use these root vegetables without peeling off the outer surface because they believe there are valuable nutrients just under the skin. This is especially important for juicing as the peels add valuable factors to the rich juice. Some find carrots skins slightly bitter in taste or do not like the inherent color variations when left unpeeled. No worries, these characteristics are easily masked by the other ingredients in soups and stews. Many will prefer to gently peel for salad or crudities. Try to make peeled carrot ribbons with the new spiralizers.
Our latest carrot discovery are called “rainbow” or magical
“kaleidoscope” types which are white, yellow, dark purple, red or better yet, a combination of all the colors in one bunch. These are exciting to look at, to eat and to puree into the most delicious, rich and velvety concoctions that provides abundant nutrition for the eyes, brain as well as they are yummy in the tummy.
Cream of Carrot Soup
7 medium size organic carrots (peeled), cut small
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 large onion chopped into small pieces
3 stalks celery, with a few leaves , chopped
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated finely
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped small
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2-3 hours,
drained and discard water
4-5 cups Vegan broth (delicious but quite salty)
optional addition: 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
- Sauté the onions, celery, ginger and garlic in the olive oil until tender and translucent, about 8 min.
- Add the cut carrots, potato and the broth
- Use a food processor to grind the cashews as finely as possible, adding a few drops of water to liquefy nuts, then add to soup
- Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally until the carrot and potatoes are tender, about 30-40 min.
- Transfer in small batches to the blender or processor and whip until creamy. Combine all the pureed batches together and heat again on stove before serving.
- Delicious with a blend of fresh herbs: cilantro, dill, chives, chopped very finely and placed on top of each bowl. Can easily be served with a dollop of Vegan sour or cashew cream, to compliment the herbs as a pillow.
Eat well and be well !