Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup With Lemon

by | Sep 15, 2010
Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup With Lemon

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup With Lemon

Last weekend I bought some amazing, gnarly looking chantenay carrots from the San Francisco Ferry Plaza farmers market. When I found them at Tierra Vegetables they were just begging me to turn them into soup. I rose to the challenge, but first I had a few problems to solve.

Usually when I eat or make carrot soup it is in one of two styles. It can come either curried, warm and spicy, or gingered with hints of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. While I love these soups, they feel a little too much like fall and winter for me to get excited about them when summer in SF is just starting.

I didn’t want a soup that is warm and wintery, I wanted a carrot soup that is bright and summery.

To achieve this I started with carrot and ginger, but add a twist. Rather than spicing the soup with cinnamon and other fall flavors I added tumeric and a few Thai chili peppers to give it color, flavor and some heat. Then I brightened it up with lemon juice and preserved lemons. The soup is finished with crème fraîche, scallions, ginger flowers and lemon-scented olive oil.

To my delight this soup turned out amazing and unlike anything I had ever tasted. And it was exactly what I wanted. If you don’t have preserved lemons, I’m sure zest would produce a similar effect. Likewise, you can swap a serrano pepper for the Thai peppers and sour cream for crème fraîche. Ginger flowers and lemon oil are just bonus.

To blend the soup I used my new Cuisinart immersion blender (aka hand or stick blender), and I was very pleased with the result. I’m really happy about this because the Cuisinart is half the price of the Braun blender I used to use.

You can make the soup in a regular blender if you do not have an immersion blender.

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup With Lemon


  • 3 chantenay carrots or 5-6 regular carrots, peeled and cut into half inch slices
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, grated
  • 2-3 Thai chilies or 1 serrano chili, chopped and seeded (optional)
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 qt vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 lemon juiced (and zest if desired)
  • 1/2 tbsp preserved lemon strips
  • Crème fraîche
  • Scallions
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • salt to taste

Heat butter or oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot and add onions. Saute until they become translucent then add the carrots, half the ginger, peppers and tumeric and cook until carrots are tender, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. If the vegetables start to brown, lower the heat.

When the carrots are soft add broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until the carrots are very tender and can easily be cut with a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove soup from heat, add the rest of the ginger and preserved lemons and blend until smooth, about 5 minutes. Add water as needed to thin the soup. I ended up adding 2 full cups.

If you are using a regular blender, be very very careful when blending hot liquids. Only fill the blender half full and blend in batches, holding the lid down with a kitchen towel. I’ve had many steaming soups explode and burn me, and it is not fun. That’s why I love my hand blender.

At this point you can filter the soup through a fine mesh strainer if you like, but I prefer to keep all the fiber in the soup and simply blend it very well. The texture is rich and silky this way, but will be thinner if you filter it.

Whisk in lemon juice and adjust salt to taste. Ladle hot soup into a bowl and garnish with crème fraîche, scallions and lemon oil.

This makes a fairly large batch of soup. However, carrot soup freezes extraordinarily well so feel free to freeze a couple pints for later. The soup will keep 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

What is your favorite way to make carrot soup?

Originally published Sept 7, 2009.

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24 Responses to “Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup With Lemon”

  1. This looks really good!! I too usually like either a curry-style carrot soup, or more of a nutmeg. I love what you have going on here: some spice, along with some coolness…..perfect for this time of year!

    Soup is one of my favorite things to make…and eat!! So easy, versatile, and a wonderful way to get your veggies. I always make a huge batch, then I have enough for the week and also freeze some for later (like you suggest). This way I have something quick & easy on a day I’m too busy (or lazy) to cook!

  2. Sandra says:

    Recipe looks great. I just made the Carrot and Red Pepper soup from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Really amazing- everyone loved it. I can’t wait to try yours too.

  3. I have two carrot soups on my blog, one for fall with pumpkin and curry (that I made in spring) and one for winter that I made in winter (with nuts pomegranate). Now I will like to try your spring-summer soup going into fall!

    P.S. I did a shout out about you on my recent cherry macaroon tart post.

  4. sian says:

    with butternut milk

  5. Healthyliving says:

    Great looking soup Darya, I can’t wait to make it; I think my kids will like it too!

  6. mojgan says:

    I highly DO NOT RECOMMEND putting soup in a blender if you do not have an immersion blender. YOU WILL BURN YOURSELF! I’ve done that once, and then my husband thought it was ridiculous and that I must have been “doing it wrong”, and then when he made soup the next time, he burnt himself as well! It all just comes out and makes the lid explode off the blender, spewing hot soup everywhere. If you want to wait until the soup cools, then that’s another story, but it has to be *really* cooled… and hardly anyone has the patience for that!
    Although I died laughing when my husband had his soup catastrophe, we were lucky his burns were only superficial. We were certainly surprised by just how far the splattering went around our kitchen cabinets and walls….

    word to the wise — get an immersion blender. they are freaking awesome.

    • Eleanor says:

      @mojgan: I had many blender explosions that spewed scalding soup all over the kitchen, until I read this tip somewhere: remove the little round insert in your blender lid, then cover the top with a dish towel. The hot liquid stays where it belongs, and any random splatters get absorbed by the towel!

      • mojgan says:

        @eleanor : That sounds like an interesting trick. Its too bad that I’ve become such a wimp now that I don’t think I’ll try it 😛 I guess we are a product of our conditioning. Mine says, stay with what you know works…. I *heart* my immersion blender. If, in the apocalyptic future my immersion blender were to die, I’ll definitely try your trick! ^.^

  7. This soup is gorgeous! i love carrots and often make a baked carrot souffle for my daughter that we all adore.

  8. Sonya in the City says:

    Just made this recipe for dinner. Delish!! It was surprisingly rich for having so little fat in it. Nice and spicy. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This sounds delicious. I’ve been making the Moroccan Carrot Soup from Bon Appetit –http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Moroccan-Carrot-Soup-357911–lately, but I’ll give this a try too.

    LOVE my immersion blender. One of my favorite kitchen tools.

  10. Adrienne says:

    Oh, my goodness, this looks good! I think I’ll make it on a chilly day.

  11. kaye says:

    Wow cant wait ti taste this one. cant wait to make this. Thanks for sharing

  12. Liz says:

    I just made this—-absolutely DELICIOUS! The only thing I changed was that instead of chicken stock I used veggie stock, and I add cumin, but left out the salt.

  13. Eric says:

    Thanks for the idea, I had a bunch of carrots left from my csa box. I changed it a little adding cumin and replacing the creme fraiche with cocoanut milk. I served it cold with a small mound of warm rice in the bottom of the bowl. I really like the contrast of the cold and warm. Thanks again

  14. Meghan says:

    I just discovered your site in a search for a carrot ginger soup recipe with a bit of kick. I made it today, and particularly loved the addition of the lemon. I’m eager to make more of your recipes!

  15. This delicious. love my soups. Thanks for sharing this.


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