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:


Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. First for the croutons! Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180C, gas mark 6.

  2. 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.

  3. Spread the pieces on a non-stick baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp and golden.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Serve in a large bowl, and top the soup with the croutons and an extra sprinkle of coriander, if you like.

And enjoy!

Kesar

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