Carrot & Coriander Soup with Paprika Croutons
I think I’ve said this lots of times before, but I am such a big fan of soups. Soups are quick and easy to make; put into your pan whichever vegetables you fancy, add some vegetable stock, simmer, blitz and voila - you have a soup that is full of goodness and can be eaten for days!
One of my go-to soups is my carrot and coriander soup, topped with spicy croutons. I love the crunch of croutons, and I often play with the flavour. In this recipe, I have used smoked paprika, but I’ve also used zaatar or ras-el-hanout - just to keep things fresh and exciting!
As usual, I just want to touch on some of the nutritional goodness in this soup - I don’t know about you, but if I’m eating a bowl of goodness - I want to know what about the ingredients make them so special and vital to include, as part of a healthy, diverse and varied diet. So here are a couple of highlights:
First up - carrots obviously I love the colour, and the sweet taste. But, what about them makes them so great to include in our diets? In this recipe, I’ve used 500g carrots - in 100g of carrots you will get good levels of vitamin A, vitamins K and B1, and the mineral potassium. Carrots are also a great source of the phytochemical beta-carotene - which like all carotenoids, is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules; protecting the body from free radicals. Free radicals damage cells through oxidation - so it is important we include foods that are good sources of antioxidants.
Coriander - one of my most favourite herbs - I garnish with coriander on most meals! I love the taste - refreshing, with a touch of citric vibes. You might also be interested to know that coriander has traditionally been used (especially in Asian cultures) to soothe a troubled digestive system - studies show it can inhibit the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCA) - carcinogenic compounds that are created when meat is cooked at very high temperatures.
Here's the soup:
And here is how to make it:
2 wholemeal pitta breads
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 white onion, chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
500g carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
Small bunch coriander, chopped
First for the croutons! Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180C, gas mark 6.
You want to cut the pitta breads into bit-sized pieces, and then place in a small bowl. To the bowl add in 2 tbsp olive oil, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. Give this a good toss, ensuring that the pitta is completely covered in the oil and paprika.
Spread the pieces on a non-stick baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp and golden.
Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a large non-stick pan and when hot, add the onion with a big pinch of salt, and fry for 5 minutes or until the onion has softened.
Then add the ground coriander, ground cumin and ground turmeric and cook for a minute or so until the spices become fragrant. Then stir in the carrots and potatoes. Give this all a good mix, and then pour in your vegetable stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Pour everything into a food processor (or you can even use a stick blender) and blitz until smooth. Once smooth, pour back into the pan, stir in most of the coriander, taste and then season if necessary.
Serve in a large bowl, and top the soup with the croutons and an extra sprinkle of coriander, if you like.