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Posted on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

An early taste of spring with carrot and ginger soup

By Jessica Webster


Carrot and ginger soup.

Jessica Webster |

I may have mentioned this before, but New York Times food writer Mark Bittman is a major part of my life in the kitchen. In fact, I find that I use his name as a verb (I'm going to Bittman this recipe and add some fish sauce and lemongrass") and as an adjective ("I love this recipe —it's so Bittman) with some frequency. So of course I've been devouring his latest book, "Food Matters."

The book is equal parts food commentary — along the lines of Bittman's new New York Times column —  advice, menus and recipes.

I've been salivating over many of the recipes as I read, but this carrot ginger soup really caught my attention. My plan had been to wait until I could use carrots out of my own little backyard garden, but with the plethora of carrots available in the grocery stores, I am simply not patient enough to wait.

In typical Bittman fashion, the recipe is simple and easy. Most of the work involved is chopping the vegetables, which can be very cathartic if you have a nice sharp knife and a large cutting board.

One of the modifications Bittman suggests is adding coconut milk, tofu and a dried chile, and garnishing with cilantro, scallions and peanuts. You can also replace the carrots with another root vegetable, like parsnips or celery root if you prefer.

Creamy Carrot and Ginger Soup, adapted from a recipe by Mark Bittman

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
1 large starchy potato, such as a baking potato, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cups of vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the carrots soften. Add the cumin and the stock and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 20 minutes or so.

2. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pan. If you do not have an immersion blender, cool the mixture slightly (don't mess with hot soup!) and blend it in the blender or food processor, in batches if necessary.

3. If you're serving the soup hot, gently reheat it, stirring frequently. If you are serving the soup cold, cover it and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Either way, taste and adjust the seasoning and garnish with parsley before serving.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Drink section for the community team. You can reach her at



Thu, Mar 17, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.

Thanks Jessica, I will try it this weekend. Mark Bittman is an inspiration, isnt he? :)

Jessica Webster

Thu, Mar 17, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.

Excellent point, Mary! I've added that crucial information. Thanks!


Thu, Mar 17, 2011 : 11:32 a.m.

It would help me if you added the amount of carrots to the ingregient list.