Mmm, velvety vegans. So soft… so downy… so devoid of animal products.
Regardless of its meatless-or-otherwise pedigree, this soup (I really want to call it a "bisque," but it can't be a bisque with a vegan base and no dairy products in) is delicate, yet satisfying, and heartier than its rather spare ingredient list would lead one to believe. The cumin, ginger, jalapeno and cilantro make it more interesting (but not "hot") than a straightforward carrot puree. Another time, I might even try simmering a piece of lemongrass with the vegetables, then removing it before pureeing. But this time… I was working with plain ol' WinCo ingredients, and this is what was available.
I had not-quite-enough carrots to round everything out, so I used one small white-fleshed sweet potato. If you have more than five carrots, by all means, feel free to use the extra in lieu of sweet-or-otherwise potato.
Velvety Vegan Carrot Soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium-to-large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, minced
A 2" piece of fresh ginger, minced or grated (Microplaned! It is the only way!)
1/2 tsp salt
5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 smallish sweet potato, peeled and cubed
5 cups vegetable broth or stock
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus a couple more tablespoons whole or nearly-whole leaves
Salt and pepper to taste (and maybe a drizzle of hot sauce for those who love spicy food)
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, ginger and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes.
Add carrots, sweet potato and broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until vegetables are all very tender.
Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro. Using an immersion blender if you have one, puree soup until quite smooth (or, alternatively, ladle it out in batches, puree it in a blender and return it to the pot).
Heat through, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve garnished with cilantro and optional flourishes of hot sauce.