This recipe for Tasty Carrot and Cumin Soup is amazingly Budget-Friendly, Easy and Quick as it takes just 30 minutes to cook on the stove-top. Its also wholesomely delicious and packed with the warming nutty, earthy flavours of cumin and the sweetness of fresh carrots. Carrot and cumin soup is perfect for vegans, vegetarians, plant-based diets, flexitarians, omnivores, anyone and everyone! Its also really easy to prepare as gluten-free.
Prefer a Carrot and Coriander [cilantro] Soup? It's a simple switch from cumin to coriander.
Carrots are a humble inexpensive vegetable that often get overlooked or just added as an after thought along with the main dish, but carrots can easily be the star of the meal. So next time you have a big bag of carrots to use up create the best budget-friendly carrot packed soup. My family loves sprinkling over a garnish of crushed walnuts or sunflower seeds along with a sprinkle of fresh parsley for a tasty light meal, lunch, or for a tasty dinner party starter soup.
History of carrot soup
Carrots have been cultivated or foraged for thousands of years, with their origins likely in Persia (modern-day Iran and Afghanistan).
Carrot soup can be traced back to medieval Europe, mainly to the French town of Crecy. This town is famed for Crecy carrots, also known as red carrots, which were a popular medieval variant. In France, carrot soup is referred to by several names, including Potage Crecy, Puree a la Crecy, Soup a la Crecy, and Creme a la Crecy.
Contrary to modern beliefs medieval carrots were not actually orange. They actually had a wide range of colours including white, red, yellow, black, and purple! The familiar orange colour we associate with carrots today only emerged around the 17th Century. Dutch plant breeders, inspired by a mutated yellow carrot, developed this orange version and it quickly gained popularity due to its sweeter taste and the ease with which it could be grown to a uniform size.
The cultivation of carrots had already taken root in Western Europe, including Britain, by the 13th Century, and they were frequently added to soups and soups known as potages. And when settlers from the West journeyed to the New World in the 1600s, they carried with them carrot seeds, introducing this vegetable to North America at the Jamestown settlement.
Cumin arrives in Britain
Cumin has been used as a spice for thousands of years across various civilizations and its origin can be traced back to the East Mediterranean and Southwest Asian regions.
In Britain, cumin was already known in the Middle Ages, thanks to the spice trade, as it was used for both cooking and medicinal purposes. Additionally, cumin seeds have been found in archaeological digs of ancient monastic sites and other settlements, indicating its use during medieval times.
Although, during the medieval times cumin was probably only available to richer folks as spices were very expensive, so cooks would wear a little spice pouch on their belts to protect the spices from theft!
There is also evidence that cumin dates further back in Britain, and was part of the Anglo-Saxons [410-1066AD] diet along with fennel, coriander and dill. The Saxon period is also known as The Dark Ages or early medieval period, and dietary evidence has been excavated in London Saxon settlements, as well as Hamwic which was a Saxon settlement in Southampton.
How to prepare carrot and cumin soup
For our soup we like to retain the carrot skin, but we do give them a good scrub and remove any blemishes, as well as trim the ends. The skins have lots of nutrition so it just makes sense to keep those.
Our soup can also be prepared as oil-free or with oil or butter, the choice is yours. As we are a plant-based family we use a vegan margarine or butter but of course you can use whatever you normally use.
Prefer a carrot and coriander [cilantro] soup? You can still use this recipe but replace the ground cumin powder with ground coriander powder, and the cumin seeds for coriander seeds.
Prepare the carrots and onions.
Melt the margarine within the soup pot, or heat up the oil. Alternatively for an oil-free soup heat about half a cup of vegetable stock.
Add the carrots, onions, garlic powder and cumin seeds.
Cook for 15 minutes stirring frequently.
Sprinkle in the cumin powder and season with salt and pepper, and stir well.
Pour in the hot vegetable stock.
Simmer with a lid propped over the pot for 15 minutes or until the carrots and nice and soft.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice can be added if you like the zesty fruity kick.
Using a stick immersion blender puree the soup until smooth. or blend in a food processor.
[If using a food processor or stand blender do check your manual for guidance on blending hot soups as its generally advised to allow soup to cool before blending.]
Alternatively, leave the soup chunky if preferred.
Dish up the carrot and cumin soup with a garnish of crushed walnuts, fresh parsley and a sprinkle of red pepper or chilli flakes.
A drizzle of plant-based cream is a tasty addition. We like Oatley oat cream or Alpro single soya cream.
Recipe Notes and FAQ's
Store leftovers within the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3-4 months. Thaw thoroughly before reheating.
Pour the carrot soup into a non-stick pot and over a medium heat gently bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes until the soup is piping hot. Or reheat within a microwave.
Yes, carrot and cumin soup is perfect for gluten-free diets as long as a gluten-free vegetable stock is used. If you use a plant-based margarine, check that it is suitable for gluten-free diets, although they usually are its best to be sure.
We like to use plant-based margarine or butter, or oil, to saute the carrots as this adds extra flavour but we have also prepared this soup as oil-free and we provide advice on how to do this within the recipe. Its just a case of omitting the margarine or oil and using about a half cup of vegetable stock to saute the carrots.
Whether to peel the carrot skins off your carrots is mainly personal preference but leaving the skins on does have several benefits. The skins contain valuable nutrition that will be lost once the peel is removed, and keeping the skins intact also cuts down on food waste. If keeping the skins on the carrots, its best to scrub and wash them well and to remove any blemishes before using.
Yes, we have a few ideas for substitutions:
* the garlic powder can be replaced with 4 or more diced fresh garlic cloves
* not a fan of cumin? switch out the ground cumin for an equal amount of ground coriander. If you use coriander seeds they will need toasting in a dry pan until fragrant before using for the recipe as doing so will release their tasty flavours.
* not a fan of spices? omit the spices or replace with a flavour you do prefer such as paprika or thyme
* switch out the carrots for parsnips, celeriac, butternut squash or sweet potato
* the walnut garnish can be replaced with any nut available such as flaked almonds, crushed brazils or hazelnuts, pine-nuts, mixed chopped nuts, or broken cashews, toasting the nuts in a dry pan helps add more flavour
* or replace the nuts with a seed such as sunflower, pumpkin, sesame or poppy seeds, toasting the seeds in a dry pan helps add more flavour
* fresh parsley can be replaced with chopped fresh coriander [cilantro], dill, chives, or spring onions [green onions]
Yes, we especially like to add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice as a seasoning at the end of cooking as it provides a nice zesty kick. Also, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, paprika flakes, or chilli flakes is a tasty seasoning that compliments the carrot and cumin flavours.
Additionally, if your lucky enough to source carrots with the greens and stems intact then some of the greens and stems can be fine chopped and added to the soup along with the carrots. The carrot tops will add extra flavour dimensions and extra nutrition.
Yes, you could add some diced sweet potato, butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, diced celery, parsnips, or some fine chopped kale, collard greens, red cabbage, or any variety of cabbage or green leaf veggie including spring greens. Shredded spinach leaves could be stirred through the cooked soup so that they wilt in the heat.
Yes, for a creamy carrot and cumin soup simply add a drizzle of plant-based cream over the soup before serving. Or stir some plant-based milk through the finished soup. Of course, if your not vegan then you can use your regular milk or cream.
Alternatively, add a scoop or two of plant-based or your regular creme fraiche, soft cream cheese or plain yogurt, to the finished soup either in the pot or add to each bowl.
Of course not, if you prefer a chunky soup then by all means leave the soup unblended.
A few ideas:
* a wedge of fresh baked Irish soda bread [100% wholemeal, no knead, no-yeast, no-rise and no-added fat traditional bread]
* a few slices or a wedge of Australian Damper Bread, warm from the oven, is really delicious dunked into soup. Damper bread is similar to a plain soda bread.
* a few Scottish oatcakes, we also have an oil-free oatcake - Oil-Free Oatcakes
* quick dinner rolls [just three ingredients and quick baking]
* saltine crackers
* crostini bread
* plain British scones
* American biscuits
* cornbread muffins
* rice cakes, rye cakes, corn cakes, lentil cakes
* a delicious sandwich such as our Tofu 'egg' & Cress Sandwich or our Old-Fashioned Walnut & Celery Sandwich. Or a simple sandwich favourite such as - cucumber sandwiches or tomato sandwiches - they are always a delicious easy option.
* a nice crispy green salad
Yes, if you would prefer a coriander [cilantro] and carrot soup, then simply replace the ground cumin and cumin seeds with ground coriander and coriander seeds. Although its best to dry toast the coriander seeds in a non-stick pan until they are nice and fragrant before using for this soup recipe, as doing so will release their tasty flavours. Finish with a fresh coriander garnish.
Carrot and cumin soup with shop-bought Italian crostini for croutons, fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, and crushed walnut garnish. Second bowl has a vegan cream [Oatley oat cream] swirl with fresh parsley, red pepper flakes and walnuts.
More Tasty Carrot recipes
Carrots are very versatile veggies and can be used for lots of different types of tasty recipes from Old-Fashioned Carrot Cakes to vintage Christmas puddings! - WW2 Christmas Pudding and even replace meat-based hotdogs! - Vegan Carrot Hotdogs And of course carrots are at home in the soup pot -Orcadian Oatmeal Soup.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Tasty Carrot And Cumin Soup
- large soup pot with lid
- Stick blender or a stand blender, for pureeing soup, optional as can leave the soup chunky.
- 2 tablespoon plant-based margarine [or vegan butter, oil, or your usual margarine or butter] [or replace with ½ cup vegetable stock, adding more as required]
- 1 kilogram carrots [diced small]
- 1 large onion [rough diced, about 220 grams]
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder [or 4 diced garlic cloves, use more if liked]
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1.2 litres vegetable stock [hot]
- 6 tablespoon walnuts [crumbled, or replace with flaked almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds]
- 6 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley [or other fresh herb especially coriander]
- Melt the margarine or heat the oil in the soup pot.Alternatively, if using vegetable stock bring half a cup [120mililitres] to a simmer.2 tablespoon plant-based margarine
- Add the carrots, onions, garlic powder, and cumin seeds. Over a low-medium heat cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. If you used vegetable stock - stir well and pop a lid over the pot [but leave a gap for steam to escape].1 kilogram carrots, 1 large onion, 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- If the vegetables start to stick to the pot just add a few tablespoons of water - add the water even if you started off with the margarine or oil.1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- Next sprinkle in the cumin powder, season with salt and pepper, and give it a good stir.2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pour in the hot vegetable stock. [We say hot because it will reduce the time it takes for the soup to come to a boil, so if you use cold stock factor in a few minutes extra cooking time]1.2 litres vegetable stock
- Bring the soup to a gentle boil, and place a lid over the pot with a gap for steam to escape. Over a medium heat cook for 15 minutes or until the carrots are nice and soft.
- To finish, blend the soup with a stick blender to a puree and season with salt and pepper to taste. [If using a food processor or stand blender do check your manual for guidance on blending hot soups as its generally advised to allow soup to cool before blending.]Or leave the soup chunky if preferred.
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice can be added to the pot of soup if a fresh zesty kick is liked.
- Garnish each serving with crushed walnuts and chopped fresh parsley.[A sprinkle of paprika or chilli flakes is a tasty addition]6 tablespoon walnuts, 6 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- For a creamy carrot soup drizzle a swirl of plant-based cream over each serving.
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Info does not include optional walnut, parsley or cream garnish.
- Walnuts can be replaced with any nut available such as flaked almonds, chopped mixed nuts, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts. Or seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin or sesame. Adding walnuts or seeds provides healthy fats and more protein to an otherwise low fat and low calorie soup.
- This recipe results in about 2 litres [2 quarts] or about 8 ¼ cups of carrot soup. Enough for 6 good sized portions but will stretch to 7-8 smaller servings especially if used as a starter or first course, or feeding smaller appetites.
- Store leftover soup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Or freeze for 3-4 months.
- Reheat by pouring the soup into a non-stick pot and gently bring the soup to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes until piping hot. Or reheat using a microwave.
- For a gluten-free carrot soup choose a gluten-free vegetable stock.
- Prefer coriander [cilantro] and carrot soup? Simply replace the ground cumin and cumin seeds with ground coriander and coriander seeds. Although its best to dry toast the coriander seeds in a non-stick pan until they are nice and fragrant before using for this soup recipe, as doing so will release their tasty flavours. Finish with a fresh coriander garnish.
- We are a plant-based family so we use vegan ingredients for all our recipes, so suggestions will be plant-based focused. Of course, if you have a different dietary requirements you can use your usual ingredients instead.
Prepared this delicious Budget-Friendly Carrot and Cumin Soup? Or perhaps you switched out the cumin for coriander?
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It's very much appreciated. Thanks so much! Love Jacq x