Sunday, March 29, 2020

Carrot-Lemon Soup

Lovely lemon-y Carrot-Lemon Soup
This recipe for Carrot-Lemon soup was inspired by a Greek soup recipe.  When I was a kid, almost every local upscale eatery-- what we labeled "fancy restaurant" --was operated by Greeks who had emigrated to my town or city from the Old Country.  We all learned what was in a 'Greek salad' and were quite fond of the way seemingly all the Greek dishes were enrobed in melted mozzarella.  I realize now that the restaurateurs probably quickly tumbled to the fact that Canadian prairie people were dazzled by melted cheese, and they accommodated us.  And we-- or at least, I-- really loved the lemon rice soup that generally preceded a hearty meal of mozza-covered whatever.  But try as I did, I could never quite achieve that tangy citrus flavour... until now.

The original vegan recipe I was looking at for a similar soup used tofu.  Well, I like tofu well enough but we are in the midst of our 'take' on the COVID-19 "crisis" and tofu, like t.p. and chicken breasts, has apparently been "discovered" as a coveted hoard item. Short story: the stores are out of tofu.

But no worries, vegans that we are, we have lots of dried beans.  I cooked up a mess of chick peas for our daily Best Hummus allowance.  I spun up the chick peas (garbanzo beans) with the garlic, tahini, salt, and lemon juice and scooped about a cup and and a half up for the soup.

And my second major innovation was to cook up some quinoa as a substitute for the orzo or rice in the more Mediterranean cluster of ingredients.  We did this because: (a) no orzo in the house, plus it is made from wheat and I was looking for a gluten-free ingredient and (b) I just thought that quinoa would be a good fit... soupy, nutritious, neutral flavoured quinoa.


The third thing I did involves the lemon flavouring.  I have recently purchased a bottle of Simply Organic brand of lemon flavour.  The ingredients are listed as "organic sunflower oil and organic lemon oil".  The scent of fresh zested lemons floods the senses when you remove the cap.  I had already had wonderful results in using it to make a small batch of vegan lemon curd (usually made with eggs, but in this recipe made with coconut cream and corn starch).  You will still get a nice lemony result by juicing two lemons, but this just gives that extra lemony high note to the soup.  Totally optional. (get it through Amazon.com HERE).

Sooo..... here are the ingredients:

  • 3  /450 grams leeks, chopped
  • 1  /490 grams onion, chopped
  • 5+  /490 grams carrots, sliced or diced
  • 3+   cloves garlic, minced (there is additional garlic in the hummus)
  • 3-4 bouillon cubes (I used mushroom)
  • 1 1/2 cups / 300 grams of Best Hummus (or other hummus)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic lemon flavour (optional)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • finely chopped fresh parsley or lemon balm (melissa officianalis)

METHOD:
  1. I made this soup in an Instant Pot-- you can also use a regular large soup pot (dutch oven).  If using the Instant Pot, you will only need to use the saute mode (no lid) for this recipe.  Start by adding a small layer of water to the pot (about 1-3") and add the chopped leeks, garlic and onions.  Cook until translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon or silicone stirrer.  If using the soup pot, add the leeks, garlic and onions, cover with water, and cook for a few minutes until softened, on medium-high, stirring as above.
  2. To the Instant Pot: add the carrots and cook for about five minutes. Add in some more water and the bouillon cubes, stirring to break them up.  While the veggies cook, you can cook the quinoa in a separate pot on the stove according the directions on the box.  Or you can use pre-cooked quinoa (saves time-- but don't add the quinoa yet!).  Cook until the carrots are tender.
  3. If using the soup pot, blend up the bouillon cubes in a blender, with 4 cups of water.  Stir into the pot, along with the carrots.  Cook stirring, until carrots are tender. You can stir in about a teaspoon of turmeric if you want a lemony color and some extra turmeric goodness.
  4. Stirring the soup in either pot (yeah, this is classic soup-making), stir in the hummus and the lemon juice/flavour and the quinoa, along with the extra water.  When heated through, add salt to taste and remove the soup pot from the heat and turn off/unplug the Instant Pot.  Stirring.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls.  Crack some pepper over the bowls.  Add in sprinkles of parsley.  Serve with extra lemon wedges or slices if desired.
Harvest Recipes for vegan and gluten-free Mini-Carrot Cakes and Curry Carrot Soup
Got carrots galore?  Here are a couple of other wonderful recipes!  One for a lovely curry carrot soup and another recipe for mini-carrot cakes.  Both recipes are vegan.   Go HERE to get the recipes.

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