Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Clean Eating Cream of Carrot Soup

After a weekend full of Superbowl festivities and food, I have been anxious to get back on track with healthy eating. I honestly can feel the difference in how I feel and function when I'm eating cleaner than when I am eating processed, junky food. I actually had a stomach ache from all the appetizers this past weekend. Funny enough, I used to be able to eat greasy, rich food with no real problem. Interesting how your body adapts. Anywho, that's enough of my back-story. I decided to make a clean cream of carrot soup for dinner tonight since it's so miserable outside--rainy weather is like snow to Californians. I just had a bowl and it was so warm and satisfying! I decided to post the recipe right after I ate since the cream of broccoli soup I made in the beginning of January seemed to be well received by many people. I had some inspiration from the cream of broccoli soup in terms of ingredients and measurements.

Serves 4-6
- 5 cups of baby carrots
- 4 cups of low sodium organic chicken broth (I use water and Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base)
- 3 cups almond milk (can use soy or non-fat skim milk instead, I personally like the nutty flavor with carrots)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 of a medium yellow onion, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
- 1 tbsp agave nectar (optional based on how sweet your carrots are, some are more bitter than others)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp allspice (yes, believe it or not, allspice makes this soup very flavorful) 

1. Boil your carrots in a large stock pot until the carrots are soft enough to mash with a fork. Turn heat down to medium. (This usually takes me about 20 minutes or so.)
2. Strain carrots and set aside.
3. Heat 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil in same pot and add the chopped onion and garlic. Caramelize the onion with the garlic until the onion is transparent.
4. Next add the chicken broth to this same pot and bring to a simmer.
5. Add the 3 cups milk and stir.
6. Add in the carrots to the broth.
7. If you have an immersion blender, use it to puree the soup. (I love mine--Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk and Chopper Attachments) Otherwise, you can pour the soup into a blender and puree — be careful, as the soup is very hot.
Note: I prefer a smooth and creamy consistency so I puree my soup for a good 30 seconds to 1 minute, mixing the soup around with the immersion blender in a circular motion. If you prefer a more chunky soup you can puree by using short pulses.
8. Add cayenne, paprika, and allspice. Mix well.
9. Salt and pepper as desired.
10. Serve immediately.



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