Carrot Cream Soup with Basil-Mint Swirl

Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 15 minutes

Serves:Makes 4 cups

By Meredith McCarty DC, NE
Potato adds to the smooth, light texture of this multi-season soup that satisfies without the ubiquitous can of chicken broth, the dairy products usually included in creamed vegetable soups-butter, half and half or cream-or a roux (flour and butter sauce).

The Basil-Mint Swirl sauce a couple of days ahead. Color, flavor and consistency are maintained with refrigeration. A smaller volume is difficult to blend in a food processor.

Ingredients

  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 1/2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 1 potato, sweet potato or yam, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded and sliced (optional, in season)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3-inch piece kombu sea vegetable
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (optional)
  • Basil-Mint Swirl:
  • 3 cups basil, leaves only
  • 1 1/2 cups mint, leaves only
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp water (optional)
  • mint sprigs for garnish

Directions

Place vegetables in a pressure cooker or pot with water, kombu, salt and pepper. Bring to pressure or boil and cook until tender, 5 minutes in pressure cooker, 10 to 15 minutes in pot. Remove kombu.

Puree ingredients until smooth. Add non-dairy milk only if more liquid is needed. Return to pot to heat through.

To make Basil-Mint Swirl, process all ingredients except water until fine. Add water only if needed to make smooth.

To serve, place a heaping teaspoon of topping on top center of soup. With a chopstick or spoon handle, swirl herb paste in a spiral pattern out from the center. Garnish with a sprig of mint. (Basil darkens when placed on hot soup.)

Note: For larger amounts, such as 3 times this recipe, multiply all ingredients by 3 except water and non-dairy milk. Reduce water to 4 cups instead of 6 cups. Add non-dairy milk gradually to texture desired, about 2 cups instead of 3 cups.

Variation:
Curried Cream of Carrot Soup: Add 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon cumin and a pinch of cayenne. Top center of swirl with a dollop of tofu sour cream and a sprig of mint.