Main Course/ Vegetarian

Carrot Ginger Soup with Crème Fraiche

January 22, 2020
carrot ginger soup with small bowl of pistachios, nutmeg, and napkin

There are a crazy ton of carrot soup recipes out there on the Internet. (To the extent that I don’t expect anyone to find this recipe beyond you, dear reader.) Maybe that’s because carrots are inexpensive and easily accessible in many areas. In fact, they are a seasonal eater’s dream, because while they don’t grow in the dead of winter, they store so well that they are easy to find even in January. And unlike greens that wilt within a few days in your produce drawer, the hearty carrot will stick around for a while. Anyway, my point is this. Lots of people love carrot soup, and you may well have a favorite recipe already. But if you don’t, or you just want to try something new, I do wish you’d try my favorite version: this Carrot Ginger Soup with Crème Fraiche. 

To be honest, the base of this recipe is not mine. It comes from a 2004 recipe published by Food and Wine magazine, back in the days when I diligently marked recipes in my magazine and then cut them out to stick into a large photo album-style cookbook organized by course. Or, more often than not, tucked into a file folder of recipes I intended to cut out and stick into my cookbook album. (A file folder that kept growing, and growing.) But this recipe made it, and it’s one I went back to in my old-school album for years. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, but the combination of a light and bright carrot soup with a creamy finish has stayed the same. 

bowl of carrot ginger soup with creme fraiche and pistachios

What’s so great about Carrot Ginger Soup?

Now that I’m cooking more vegetarian meals, this carrot soup is part of my repertoire of easy veggie dishes. Just sauté sliced carrots, leeks, ginger, and a touch of nutmeg briefly in butter and olive oil, then add vegetable stock. Let simmer until carrots are tender, then blend. That’s it! Garnish with crème fraiche and a sprinkle of pistachios for a little extra protein. The result is a soup that is cozy, nourishing, and lightly spicy without being heavy.

For a vegan version, you can omit the butter and creme fraiche, and still have a delicious soup. This soup is also fantastic for babies and toddlers. You might dial back the ginger slightly at first, but this is a perfect way to introduce little ones to some new flavors in a very healthy soup. Try it, and I think you’ll find that you enjoy it as much as I do. I just hope it makes it into your equivalent of cookbook album and not your massive file of unsorted recipes. 

Ingredients for Carrot Ginger Soup: carrots, broth, butter, ginger, olive oil, leek, pistachios, nutmeg, creme fraiche

How do you make Carrot Ginger Soup?

Start by prepping your leeks and carrots. Rinse, peel, and thinly slice 1.5 pounds of carrots. Rinse a large leek and peel off outside layer. Cut leek in half and cut each half into thin half moons. If leek has dirt in between its layers, add leek slices to a bowl of cold water and swoosh them around. Then let sit for 10 minutes before removing with a slotted spoon and patting dry.

prepped ingredients for carrot ginger soup: carrots, leeks, ginger

Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, leeks, 1.5 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently, and turn down the heat if the vegetables start to brown.

sautéed carrots, leeks, and ginger in butter and olive oil in large pot

Then add 4 cups of vegetable stock and bring soup to a gentle simmer over medium or medium-low heat. Cover and continue to simmer gently for 20-25 minutes.

carrot ginger soup in large pot, before pureeing

While soup is simmering, remove 1/2 cup pistachios from their shells and chop roughly. When carrots are completely tender, use an immersion blender to purée soup completely.

pureeing soup with immersion blender in large pot

If you don’t have an immersion blender, let soup cool slightly before puréeing in small batches in a regular blender. If you find that soup is thicker than you would like, add a little vegetable broth or water. Reheat briefly. Then add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, add a dollop of creme fraiche to each bowl, a tablespoon of chopped pistachios, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and a dash of pepper. 

Ingredient Tips

This is an easy soup that takes well to substitutions. Besides carrots, these are the ingredients you can sub out:

  • Leek: can replace with an onion or shallots
  • Butter: can replace with olive oil
  • Vegetable stock: can replace with chicken broth
  • Crème fraiche: can replace with sour cream, plain yogurt, or coconut milk/cream
  • Pistachios: can replace with toasted almonds, or replace nuts entirely and garnish with chives, parsley, cilantro, microgreens, or green onions

Can I make this Carrot Ginger Soup vegan?

Yes, as noted above, making a vegan version of this soup is easy. Replace the tablespoon of butter with another tablespoon of olive oil. Then either omit the crème fraiche completely or sub in some full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. Voilà!

What should I serve with this soup?

This soup is the perfect start to a delicious vegetarian meal. Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla on the side. Of course almost any kind of sandwich would go well with this soup, vegetarian or not. Or how about a thick slice of avocado toast? If you’d like a vegan option, serve this with a green salad or any kind of grain salad. Here are some recipes that would be delicious along with this soup.

Can you freeze Carrot Ginger Soup?

Yes! This soup freezes perfectly, though freeze it without its crème fraiche and pistachio garnishes. For little ones, freezing small portions in ice cube trays and then filling a freezer bag with soup cubes is perfect for later, when you just want to defrost a tiny portion. Freeze for up to 3 months. 

Is carrot soup healthy? 

Yes! Carrots are a very nutritious vegetable. They are low in calories and are packed with fiber, Vitamins K and B6, potassium, and beta carotene. Beta carotene is responsible for their orange color, and believe it or not, eating too many carrots can turn your skin slightly orange as well! But don’t worry, you’d need to eat a half cup of carrots every day for months for this to happen.

Have you heard that carrots are good for your eyesight? Eating them won’t bring you 20/20 vision, but your body converts the beta carotene in carrots into Vitamin A, which is good for your vision. The antioxidant lutein is also good for eye health, and can be found in carrots as well. One note on “baby carrots”. Watch out for the ones that are pre-cut and packaged in plastic bags at the grocery store—these carrots are sometimes washed in chlorine before being packed. Wherever possible, use whole carrots that you peel and slice yourself. 

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Carrot Ginger Soup is so easy and delicious—just simmer carrots, leeks, and ginger in vegetable broth until tender and blend. Top with crème fraiche and pistachios!

Ingredients

  • 1 T. butter
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs (680g) carrots
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only
  • 1 1/2 T. (15g) finely chopped or grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cups (95cl) vegetable stock
  • 1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. (55g) creme fraiche
  • 1/2 c. (60g) pistachios
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

    1. Start by prepping your leeks and carrots. Rinse, peel, and thinly slice carrots. Rinse leek and peel off outside layer. Cut leek in half and cut each half into thin half moons. If leek has dirt in between its layers, add leek slices to a bowl of cold water and swoosh them around. Then let sit for 10 minutes before removing with a slotted spoon and patting dry.
    2. Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
    3. Add carrots, leeks, ginger, and nutmeg and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently, and turn down the heat if the vegetables start to brown.
    4. Then add stock and bring soup to a gentle simmer over medium or medium-low heat.
    5. Cover and continue to simmer gently for 20-25 minutes.
    6. While soup is simmering, remove pistachios from their shells and chop roughly.
    7. When carrots are completely tender, use an immersion blender to purée soup completely. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let soup cool slightly before puréeing in small batches in a regular blender.
    8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    9. To serve, add a dollop of creme fraiche to each bowl, a tablespoon of chopped pistachios, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and a dash of pepper.

Notes

If the soup is thicker than you would like after you blend it, add more vegetable stock or water and reheat briefly before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 15mg Sodium: 515mg Carbohydrates: 11g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.

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  • Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes
    January 24, 2020 at 12:21 am

    Love these beautiful flavours – makes for a delicious bowl of soup!

    • Chef Molly
      January 24, 2020 at 5:03 pm

      Absolutely! Carrots + ginger = 😍