A rich winter soup flavored with roasted carrots and fennel, leeks and the amazing umami of miso. Roasted Carrot Miso Soup is the perfect appetizer soup, warm and comforting!
Soup, I think, is a plant-based cook’s best friend. Everyone loves soup, right? Or, at least everyone should love soup, says this soup addict. 😉
It’s easy to load up soup with the season’s best vegetables, and even if you have side-eye-giving vegetable skeptics in your life, you can just blend ’em up, and nobody will know the better.
Look at these colorful beauties! Did you know that carrots are winter vegetables? Long varieties like these can take a while to grow to this length, but once they do, they can hang out in the cold ground, waiting for their destiny in a beautiful recipe like today’s carrot miso soup.
And I can’t think of a single root vegetable whose flavor doesn’t bloom by roasting. Not a fan of carrots? Okay. Try roasting them. They sweeten and turn earthy and wonderful. And it’s absolutely true that a portion of the carrots on this pan did not make it into the soup because they took a detour right into my mouth.
I added several secret — and now not-so-secret — ingredients that made this carrot soup extra special. First, I roasted a fennel bulb along with the carrots. Fennel — sometimes called anise at the grocery store — is a lovely root vegetable with a bright flavor that’s kissed with a hint of licorice. Just a touch. I love fennel raw in salads, and roasted in soups. Delish.
And the other ingredient is sweet white miso. Miso has become my go-to magic sauce for flavoring up my winter soups. Miso comes in many shapes and forms, from strong red miso to light and entirely approachable white. Miso — a traditional Japanese ingredient ‐ has come into its own in the United States, and we even have artisans creating new and unique blends.
My favorite miso and miso-making company is South River Miso. They make an incredible dandelion leek blend that I can just spoon into hot water and enjoy as a soothing broth.
Here, the miso gives the roasted carrot miso soup deep umami flavors that you just can’t begin to reach without loads of salt or very-not-vegetarian fish sauce. Miso is the perfect culinary foil for the sweetness of the roasted carrots.
Miso buying tip: many misos are made with dashi, which includes shrimp or tuna flakes. So, be sure to check the ingredient labels.
Roasted carrot miso soup is rich, creamy, and comforting, and is equally lovely in a big mug that you can hold in your hands to keep them warm (#bombogenesis2018) or serve as an appetizer soup to guests you want to impress with your veggie-strong cooking skillz.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound carrots tops removed and scrubbed (peeled if you don't know their source)
- 1 fennel bulb sliced in half lengthwise
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 leeks chopped white and light green parts only
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons white/sweet miso
- 1/4 cup cashew milk
- kosher salt
- chopped carrot greens for garnish
- chopped cashews or almonds for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
Brush the carrots and fennel bulb lightly with one tablespoon of the oil. Spread on the baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes.
While the carrots and fennel roast, heat the remaining oil in a 4-5 quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the leeks and saute until. Add the ginger and garlic. If the mixture is dry add a splash of the vegetable broth. Stir until fragrant. Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender jar.
When the carrots and fennel have finished in the oven, slice the carrots in half (so they'll fit in a blender) and add them to a blender jar (fennel, too). Add two cups of the vegetable broth and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into the soup pot, along with the rest of the vegetable broth. Bring the soup to a very gentle simmer (bubbles should just start to break the surface), stirring frequently, then reduce heat to medium low.
Spoon the miso into a small mixing bowl, and add about 1/2 cup of the hot soup. Stir well to dissolve the miso into the liquid, and add to the soup, along with the cashew milk. Stir the soup until smooth and creamy. Taste, and add salt as needed.
Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish if desired. Serve immediately.