In December, when I am loading up on cookies and single-handedly demolishing the cheese plate at holiday parties, I find my usual balance of healthy meals and sweets tipping towards sugar overload.
Not to mention, the extra sugar makes me susceptible to the first virus that sweeps through the city. So, why wait for January's resolutions? You can cook a healthy and delicious recipe with immunity-boosting qualities tonight.
By the way, there's a reason eating a healthy dinner can be a challenge, particularly at this busy time of year. I learned recently that making decisions actually takes more effort as the day progresses, because your brain has used most of its store of glucose. Turns out it's actually harder to choose to make salad instead of ordering in pizza. Keeping a batch of healthy soup on standby takes some work out of the equation.
But what does "healthy" mean? Here, it includes a hearty dose of anti-inflammatory turmeric, stomach-soothing fresh ginger, and calcium-packed carrots. (Turmeric is actually my go-to healing spice now, after a 101 Cookbooks post got me hooked on it.)
While this soup can definitely be vegetarian (just swap the chicken stock for veggie or water), homemade chicken broth has minerals like calcium and magnesium, among other great benefits, so I use it in my version.
Two tips for success: if you have a food processor and like the slicing blade, now is a good time to use it for quick prep. And, don't do like I did and use the coconut milk before mixing. Get a little workout by shaking the can well before opening.
As for the first cold of the season? It's banished. I'm thanking this soup.
Spiced Coconut Carrot Soup by Lindsay Hunt
Ingredients: ¼ cup canola oil 1 bunch scallions, green and white parts only, sliced ¼ to ⅓ cup chopped fresh ginger (use less if you don’t like a lot of heat) 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon ground cumin Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 ½ pounds carrots (about 8 large), peeled and thinly sliced 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade, or vegetable stock ½ cup coconut milk Lemon wedges, for serving Toasted pumpkin seeds, for serving Good olive oil, for serving
Equipment: A blender
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the scallions, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the scallions are very soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the carrots and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until barely tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cook until the carrots are very tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Puree in batches in a blender until very smooth. Serve garnished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, pumpkin seeds, a drizzle of your favorite olive oil, and extra salt and pepper.
Soup will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.