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Creamy Carrot Soup with Parsley Almond Pesto

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A simply delicious, creamy carrot soup topped with parsley almond pesto. No milk or cream.

two glass containers holding smooth carrot soup topped with a parsley almond pesto, with two spoons on the side.

How do you make creamy carrot soup without using a ton of milk or cream? 

The secret is to use a blender — either a handheld immersion blender or countertop blender makes a creamy puree that’s so satisfying to eat, and tastes like the essence of carrot.

All you need is a handful of everyday ingredients to make a tasty carrot soup. 

Aside from the carrots, a tasty soup can be made with just onion, celery and water.

Do carrots need to be peeled before cooking?

Did your mother (or someone else who presumably cared about your well being) ever tell you that peeling a carrot takes away all its vitamins?

It’s one of those things that gets stuck in your head for the rest of your life.

Those whose job it was to see that you grew up with all body parts intact did their best to point out every which way you could inflict damage, wreaking havoc on not only yourself, but others, too. You know:

  • Don’t run across the room with that sharp pencil or you’ll put someone’s eye out!
  • You’re going to fall off that tree/roof/high-up-dangerous place on top of the swing set and crack your head open!
  • If you sit so close to the TV in this dark room YOU”LL GO BLIND!

Oh, there was something about Vitamin C — not enough and you’d become riddled with scurvy and toothlessness.

Other than that my takeaway from the old-school nutritional wisdom remains: All the Vitamins Are In the Skin.

In fact, peeling carrots has absolutely little effect on the nutrients contained therein.

Not only that, but most of the valuable vitamins, minerals and beta carotene in carrots is best absorbed from cooked carrots, not raw ones.

two glass containers holding smooth carrot soup topped with a parsley almond pesto, with two spoons on the side.

Is carrot soup good for you?

But it turns out that some of the best stuff in carrots, like the beta carotene, is in there all the way through, peel or no peel.

Lots of vitamins, antioxidants and magical cells live in the colorful parts of fruits and vegetables, and if the food is the same color inside without its skin, no harm done.

I peel carrots when they have an abundance of stiff, old root hairs and tiny clods of dirt. Who wants to eat that??

Plus they look brighter and prettier without the skin.

Fresh baby carrot bunches with their green tops on don’t usually have that problem.

Ultimately, it won’t make much difference if the skin is on or off the carrots in this soup recipe since they get pureed in the end.

It’s your call, and either way you’ll end up with a pot of wholesome, delicious and nutritious carrot soup.

What seasonings are good in carrot soup?

Vegetable Literacy, a must-have cookbook for veggie lovers and cooks, dedicates a whole chapter to The Carrot Family, whose members include:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Cilantro 

Because they’re all in the umbellifer family, it’s not surprising that these related plants taste good together — they interlock like pieces of a flavor puzzle.

If you’ve ever wondered what herbs and spices are good to use with carrots, you won’t go wrong when you choosing from this list.

The pesto recipe here includes fennel seed and parsley, but it will also be delicious with a mixture of cilantro and parsley.

More healthy carrot recipes:

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Carrot Soup with Parsley Almond Pesto

Karen Tedesco
An easy to make, smooth-textured carrot soup gives you all the healthy benefits of carrots, without cream or milk. 
Print Pin
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Soup and Stew
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
  • 2 pounds (900 g) carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 6 cups (1.5 l) water or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pesto:
  • 1 bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup (125 g) sliced almonds, toasted
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, optional
  • ½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • ½ cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions 

  • Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan until butter melts. Add the carrots, onion, celery, salt sugar and coriander. Stir the vegetables around and cook until they begin to release liquid and become softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour in 6 cups water or vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cook about 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Remove from the heat and cool for a bit, then puree the soup in a blender until completely smooth. Stir in lemon juice and taste for salt.
To make the pesto
  • Reserve a few parsley leaves for the garnish and chop the rest in a small food processor until finely chopped. Add all but 1 tablespoon of the almonds and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped and the mixture forms a paste. Add the fennel seeds, olive oil, salt to taste and the cheese and pulse to combine.
To serve
  • Serve the soup with a spoonful of pesto and sprinkle with remaining parsley leaves and almonds.

Notes

  • Use any leftover pesto within a day or two, tossed with roasted vegetables or spread on a warm crostini.
  • To make this vegan, substitute the butter with coconut oil or use all olive oil.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 652kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 941mg | Potassium: 996mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 38758IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 316mg | Iron: 2mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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14 Comments

  1. Linda Pilcher says:

    All of these soups look delicious!
    Your photos are gorgeous–the soup just jumps off the page (into my mouth!). Can’t wait to try them, starting with the chorizo-chickpea stew.

  2. I found this on Pinterest and have made it twice in the last few weeks. I’m making it again today. I love it. I posted it on my FB page and encouraged my friends to make it. The pesto really sends it over the top. Thanks.

  3. This is an absolutely stunning soup. Love it! Thanks for sharing it.

    My mother used to tell me all the vitamins were in the potato skin (smile).

    Velva

  4. I almost never peel carrots, but not out of regard for the nutrients–it’s because I’m lazy and don’t feel like dealing with the peeler. 🙂 This soup looks so vibrant and beautiful! I love the idea of the pesto too.

    1. Thanks, Eileen. I’m guilty of lazy moments too. Sshhhh.

  5. lesley Jones says:

    I enjoy making soup, all that chopping is therapeutic, instantly soothing I find, and then you get to relish the results. This sounds like a sophisticated soup, elegant enough to serve for a dinner party, we have friends coming on Friday evening so I’ll let you know how I get on.
    By the way, have you tried carrot and carciofi soup? I love these two flavours together, I have to admit I use a jar of sliced carciofi to make life easy, so far the fresh ones have defeated me!
    Will visit again,
    Lesley

    1. Hi Lesley, Yes, please let me know how the soup turns out – I think it a great choice for a dinner party. Carrots and carciofi seem like a natural pairing – artichokes are a bit demanding to deal with! But I can taste how wonderful they’d be together…

  6. What a coincidence. I have been on something of a carrot soup binge myself lately! Yours sounds wonderful. While mine is quite plain – I’ll call it straightforward to be kind to myself – yours sounds multi-layered with a complex flavor, also known as fantastic! The addition of pesto is the perfect finishing touch. Nice work, amica! Complimenti!

  7. I love carrots and snack on them daily with hummus or salsa. This soup is such a lovely color, and I love the pesto topper!