Dairy-Free Carrot Yam Panch Poran Soup

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It’s that time.  Again.  It’s cooler and crisper in the morning than we’d like to admit we enjoy; a chill that makes you walk a little faster when you’ve forgotten your scarf.  And we’re in that “phew-Thanksgiving-is-over-but-man-I-ate-too-much-turkey-must-get-ready-for-Christmas-parties” phase that sends us all flocking to the gym and revisiting healthy recipes to whip up.  Salads aren’t exactly a cold-weather go-to meal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your daily quota of healthy veggie-packed lunch (or dinner) from a soup.  And it’ll warm you up after your chilly evening run, right?  This soup is easy, and quick, healthy, and delicious!   We recommend making a big batch of it that you can tuck away in your freezer for those nights when you need a super quick meal; just heat and serve.  AND, it can easily be made vegan with just a few adjustments.

We really took the “healthy” in this recipe to heart and omitted the usual addition of heavy cream, milk, or coconut milk to thicken carrot soup.  While we agree that it makes the soup more robust and luxurious, the vibrant-veggiriffic-ness of this soup sans dairy is a much lighter option for those watching their waist lines or the lactose-intolerants.  Can you add the cream?  Knock yourself out!  Do you need to?  Absolutely not.  It’s a personal (and often dietary) preference really; we like it both ways.

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Market-Sourced Ingredients

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + more for garnish

1 medium onion, diced from Innisfail Growers

1 large apple (variety is left up to you, we used Honeycrisp), peeled & chopped from Souto Farms

1 medium sized yam from Souto Farms

1.5 pounds carrots, chopped from Beck Farms found at Innisfail Growers (once you taste these famous Nantes carrots, you’ll never go back)

1L vegetable broth from The Stock & Sauce Co.

3 tbsp of Panch Poran, toasted from The Silk Road Spice Merchant

Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper (or pink peppercorns as we opted for), to taste

In a large pot, add 1 tbsp olive oil over low-medium heat.  Add chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.  Reduce heat to low and let caramelize slightly.  Add chopped apple, yam, and carrots and cook for a few minutes more.

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Curry and carrots are very common combination, particularly in a Fall soup, but we wanted to do something a little different.  So, instead of the typical curry powder/paste addition, we’ve added the not-so-common Panch Poran.  A blend of nigella seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds, Panch Poran comes from the Bengal region of India.

Panch Poran Collage

We dry-roasted the seeds in a hot pan for two minutes before grinding in a mortar and pestle. Panch Poran works especially well with vegetables like squash, cauliflower and potatoes; a perfect Fall pairing without the pungent punch of curry (which we love, but isn’t for everyone).  The spice in this soup is a subtle, warm flavor that will appeal to even the most discerning of palates.

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Add the vegetable broth with another litre of water, stir, and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 20 minutes covered, or until tender.

Carefully transfer half of the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth making sure to allow steam to escape through the lid.  (You can use an immersion blender but to achieve that unctuous, creamy soup, you’ll really want to use your blender).  Remove blended soup and set aside.  Now add the other half and blend again.  Be careful as it’s very hot.

If you choose to add dairy, now would be the time.  Place soup back in the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve and garnish with freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

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