This Carrot Ginger Soup is so easy—just simmer carrots, leeks, and ginger in vegetable broth until tender and blend. Top with crème fraiche and pistachios!
Now that I’m cooking more vegetarian meals, this Carrot Ginger Soup with Crème Fraiche 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.
This recipe is inspired by 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. 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.
Why Make This Recipe
- Even Picky Eaters Love Carrot Soup: Everyone I have ever served this soup to has loved it, even kids! You can make it for babies and toddlers too. It's a perfect way to introduce little ones to some new flavors in a very healthy soup, though you might dial back the ginger slightly at first.
- Cozy But Low-Cal: I love soups in the fall and winter, when the weather is chilly. This soup is warming and comforting, but also won't weigh you down. In fact, it's low in calories even with the dollop of crème fraiche and pistachios!
- Low-Cost, Easy-to-Find Ingredients: 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.
This is an easy soup that takes well to substitutions. Besides carrots (which are kind of essential to this recipe 😊), 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
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.
Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, leeks, 1.5 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently, and turn down the heat if the vegetables start to brown.
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.
While soup is simmering, remove ½ cup pistachios from their shells and chop roughly. When carrots are completely tender, use an immersion blender to purée soup completely.
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.
🧐 Recipe FAQs
Yes, making a vegan version of this soup is easy. Replace the tablespoon of butter with a tablespoon of olive oil. Then either omit the crème fraiche completely or sub in some full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. Voilà!
Yes! This soup freezes well, 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 when you just want to defrost a tiny portion. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Yes! Carrots are a very nutritious vegetable, and this soup is mostly carrots. Carrots are low in calories and are packed with fiber, Vitamins K and B6, potassium, and beta carotene. Eating carrots won’t bring you 20/20 vision, but your body converts beta carotene 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.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can purée this carrot ginger soup in small batches in a regular blender. Use caution though, because blending hot soup can cause it to explode out of the blender—wait until soup has cooled for at least 10 minutes before blending.
Caution on using “baby carrots”. Watch out for the baby carrots 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.
Recipes to Eat with Carrot Ginger 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.
- Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Miso Dressing
- Pear Gorgonzola Salad with Glazed Walnuts
- Orzo Pasta Salad with Black Beans and Corn
- Quinoa Grain Bowl with Sesame-Ginger Dressing
- Kale Salad with Cranberries
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below—I read them all, and your feedback is invaluable to me. And please follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook or subscribe to my newsletter. I'd love to inspire you with more delicious, healthy, and seasonal recipes!
- 1 T. butter
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 ½ lbs (680g) carrots
- 1 large leek, white and light green parts only
- 1 ½ T. (15g) finely chopped or grated fresh ginger
- 4 cups (95cl) vegetable stock
- ¼ t. freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ c. (55g) creme fraiche
- ½ c. (60g) pistachios
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 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.
- Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- 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.
- Then add stock and bring soup to a gentle simmer over medium or medium-low heat.
- Cover and continue to simmer gently for 20-25 minutes.
- While soup is simmering, remove pistachios from their shells and chop roughly.
- 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.
- 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.
If the soup is thicker than you would like after you blend it, add more vegetable stock or water and reheat briefly before serving.
Freezing: This soup freezes well. Package in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 3 months. For babies, you can freeze carrot soup in ice cube trays, and reheat a little at a time!
Vegan Instructions: To make a vegan version of this soup, just replace the butter with olive oil, and either don't use the creme fraiche or replace with coconut cream.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 515mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.