My cousin Laura is famous for her rich-tasting but still low-calorie soup that uses a combination of potatoes and slow cooking to coax out a cream-like quality without a single drop of cream. It's comfort food during the cold months with possible medicinal qualities – no promises but some do say! Vegetarian and for Weight Watchers, just 2 PointsPlus.
"... the best-smellin', best-tastin' soup I've made in a long time!" ~ Beth
"I've made this soup twice in the last couple of weeks and love it!" ~ CMN
"... so impressed2 weeks ago, that I'm just about to make a double batch to take to church tonight!" ~ Beth
"... if the other [Weight Watchers] recipes are as delicious as this, I'm all set!" ~ Katrina
"... absolutely yummy! " ~ Vinaya
"... my so very non-vegetarian hubby loved it." ~ Sonali
"... total hit at our house, even with our 6 year old son. VERY tasty ..." ~ Katrina
The "Laura" in LAURA's HEALTHY CARROT SOUP is my cousin, mom to four energetic kids and a long-time vegetarian. She cooks meat for her family but often slips in meatless soups, stews and main dishes.
This smooth, flavorful carrot soup is a family favorite, hers and mine both. Some swear by its medicinal facilities too. In my book, it tastes as good as chicken soup when you’re down with a cold or the flu. On a damp or chilly day, add a small sandwich for a light, healthful lunch.
STOCK This recipe was first written with 4 cups of water mixed with 4 teaspoons instant bouillon or a bouillon cube. That totally works! But these days, I always have a big supply of No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock usually frozen in canning jars. That totally works too! I thought the salt might need some adjustment but it doesn't. ONIONS Don't just "sweat" the onions, in kitchen lingo that means to gently cook the onions without letting them turn golden. Instead, let some color develop, the extra time enhances the overall flavor. I learned this lesson with the big favorite How to Make Homemade Vegetable Soup. CARROTS The soup will turn out a bit creamier and sweeter if you peel and chop whole carrots. However, the grocery-store bags of peeled carrots are so convenient, don’t hesitate to use them in a rush. I do NOT recommend using those bags of multi-colored orange, purple, yellow and white carrots from Trader Joe's. All good looks, no taste! A LITTLE RICHER? For a richer soup, use 2% or even whole milk. But even with skim milk, this soup already tastes much richer than it is, almost too rich if you're looking for a light soup. Some times I drop back to just one tablespoon of butter or use a smaller potato, since both contribute to the creaminess. ORANGE COLOR Yes, the color really is that orange! Halloween, anyone? MORE CARROT SOUPS? In summer, I love this Chilled Carrot Soup with Honey. For a vegan paleo carrot soup with coconut milk, try Paleo Carrot Soup.
LAURA’S HEALTHY CARROT SOUP
Time to table: 30 – 40 minutes
Makes 9 cups
- 4 cups stock, vegetable (for vegetarian) or chicken
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 large potato, skin on, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground dill
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-1/2 cups skim milk
Heat stock in the microwave until hot. This is an optional step but if timing is important, it does speed up the overall cooking time.
In a large, heavy pot, heat butter or oil on medium heat until shimmery. Add the onions, celery and garlic as they're prepped, stirring to coat with fat and then occasionally, letting real color develop in the onions and celery.
Stir in carrots, potato, thyme, dill, salt, pepper and Stock.
STOVETOP OPTION Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Let simmer until carrots are tender, 30 – 40 minutes.
SLOW COOKER OPTION Transfer ingredients to a slow cooker and let cook on High until carrots are tender, about 3 hours.
ONCE COOKED Purée in small batches in a blender or food processor. (An immersion blender works too, use it right in the Dutch oven or slow cooker. Do know, the soup's texture is slightly less smooth.) Return mixture to the cooking pan.
ADD MILK Add milk and bring back just to a boil, without allowing to boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve immediately or let cool, refrigerate and serve later.
FREEZING LAURA'S HEALTHY CARROT SOUP For a godsend some future busy day, make a double batch, some for now, some for the freezer. So easy. That's my kinda freezer food!
The trick is to freeze the mixture << before >> adding the milk. Two reasons. First, it saves freezer room. Second, milk doesn't freeze well, the carrot and milk will separate, not nice.
Another trick! Without the milk, a double batch fits perfectly into three one-quart containers. I label each container, "Carrot Soup Base. To serve, add 1 cup milk." That means for every quart container, you've got five cups of soup to serve.
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