Tag: Carrot

Sunflower Carrot Risotto with Hazelnut-Pea Shoots

This dish rings in spring in the best way possible. A creamy carrot-sunflower puree helps keep the risotto vegan while the fresh pea shoots bring the greens. 

Close-up overhead photograph Sunflower Carrot Risotto with Hazelnut-Pea Shoots

Making a creamy carrot risotto

While I love making a delicious, cheese-based risotto, there’s something magical about taking this classic dish and making it vegan. My first attempts were alright but as time goes on, I find a few more tricks to make a delicious dish without one ounce of cheese.

The Grains

This might be a bit like cheating but it gets the job done. Traditional arborio rice releases starch, which is where some of the creaminess comes from. Whole grains don’t quite act the same. However, if you pulse the grain in a food processor or blender a few times, you get a bit of grain dust. This dust turns into the thickening agent in the vegan risotto.

The best part about this: it’s a formula you can use with many different grains. I’ve found this works well with spelt, einkorn, farro, and barley. I’ve also had success with using whole oat groats (although I find the texture to be a bit gummier than the others mentioned).

Side-angle of Vegan Carrot Risotto Topped with Pea Shoots and Dill Hazelnuts.

The Sunflower Cream

In the realm of alternative dairy choices, sunflower seeds are still relatively not used. Sure, you could use almond, cashew, coconut, soy, or oat but I really love the cheapness, ease of use, and flavor of the sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds puree smooth with relatively little soaking time.

Of course, you don’t have to feel obligated to use sunflower seeds. Cashew cream, almond cream, or even something like this millet cream could work (although it’s rare that I double down on two grains in one dish unless I’m making a pilaf).


Also, I’m a bit of a carrot lover and they cook tender in the broth. You could, however, use squash puree, sweet potato puree, or I’ve been know in the summer to use a homemade version of creamed corn.

The Topping

I realize this recipe is more involved but it’s worth it. Once you get the risotto going, the topping comes together quickly. For the ultimate spring risotto, I love using the pea shoots. I feel like the shoots are everything wonderful about spring: fresh, tender, and vibrant.

Add to that the dill and hazelnuts, it’s a winning salad-like topping. You could also use sunflower seeds in the topping but I like the flavor and crunch of the hazelnuts. My second choices would be almonds slices.

Overhead photograph of two bowls of Creamy Vegan Carrot Risotto Topped with Pea Shoots and Dill Hazelnuts.


Sunflower Carrot Risotto with Hazelnut-Pea Shoots


Sunflower Cream

½ cup raw sunflower seeds

¾ cup water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Zest from ½ lemon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Risotto Broth

4 cups vegetable broth

3 cups water

1 ¼ cup peeled and sliced carrots (about 2 medium carrots)


2 medium shallot

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/4 cups cracked pearled farro (see note)

Risotto Topping

¼ cup packed fresh dill

Zest from half a lemon

3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups pea shoots


  • About an hour before starting the meal, place the sunflower seeds in a bowl and cover with water.
  • When ready to start, get the broth going. Place the 4 cups broth and 3 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then add the carrots. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the carrots are tender. Once the carrots are tender, use a slotted spoon to remove and keep the broth at a simmer. You can start the risotto while the carrots are cooking.
  • Heat a dutch oven or large, high-sided skillet over medium-low heat. Peel and mince the shallots. Add the oil to the pan, followed by the minced shallots. Cook until the shallots are tender then add in the cracked farro. Toast the farro for about a minute then add in 1 cup of the simmering broth.
  • Let the risotto cook until nearly all the broth has been absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup and let absorb again, repeating the add broth/let absorb, stirring frequently, until the farro is just about tender, about 40 minutes. You might not use all broth/water- just taste along the way until the farro is tender. Also, this is a good time to add a pinch of salt if the farro is tasting a bit bland (this will depend on how salty your broth is).
  • When the carrots are done, drain the sunflower seeds and place in a blender along with the carrots, ¾ cup water, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed to blend smooth. The puree should still be thick and creamy.  Taste and adjust salt if needed.
  • While the risotto still cooks, place the dill on a cutting board. Zest the lemon on top and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Chop the dill together with the zest, seeds, and salt until it forms a gremolata-like texture (everything should be well blended together with no big pieces of dill left).
  • Place 3/4 of the sesame mixture in a bowl and set aside the remaining 1/4 (you can use this as the final garnish). Place the hazelnuts on the cutting board and chop into smaller pieces. Place in the bowl along with the dill mix. Add the olive oil and stir to combine. Add in the pea shoots and toss until everything is well combined.
  • Finally, once the risotto is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, stir in the carrot cream and cook until it’s warm. Remove from heat, divide into 4 bowls, and top with the pea and hazelnut mixture then finish with a final dusting of the reserved sesame mixture.


To crack the farro, blitz in a blender or food processor a few pulses. Around half the grains should be cracked and a bit of dust should have formed around the sides and bottom of the blender. Also, you can use whole grain farro. You will need to have a bit extra broth ready and about 20 to 30 minutes longer. 

Keywords: farro risotto, carrot risotto


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An Exceptional Ginger Carrot Dressing

Blender dressings are great, in part, because they’re fast. Everything into one container, puree, and you’re set. This is a dressing I tend to make quite a lot in the fall, and then I just keep on going all the way through winter. It’s an incredibly versatile blend of favorite ingredients like carrots, turmeric, coconut milk, ginger, and sesame. Also, lots of shallots. Which, as we know from last week, I rarely skimp on.
An Exceptional Ginger Carrot Dressing

A Versatile Dressing & Ways to Use It

I use this dressing on green salads, grain salads, and as an A+ finishing touch over sautéed, steamed, or simmered vegetables. It works nicely in cold, summery noodle salads, and as a dipping sauce for crudité. This is all to say, it’s great on many things. I’ll list of some specific ways I’ve used it recently below!
An Exceptional Ginger Carrot Dressing

Shredded Winter Salad: Add some winter citrus segments, to a bowl of shredded baby romaine, endives and radicchio, and toss with the ginger carrot dressing and lots of toasted sesame seeds.

Noodle salad: Toss soba noodles with it and then go from there, adding other favorite seasonal ingredients – roasted vegetables, toasted seaweed, tofu or whatever protein you like, etc.

Brussels Sprouts: Pan-fry some brussels sprouts along these lines, transfer to a serving bowl, and toss with a bit of the dressing.

Farro Salad: I did this as a side for Thanksgiving – combine farro, lots of toasted seeds, and plenty or arugula in a large bowl and toss with a generous amount of the ginger carrot dressing.

Summer / Early Autumn: tossed with green beans and topped with deeply roasted cherry tomatoes +toasted almonds

A number of you were curious about a winter miso chowder I posted a photo of to my instagram feed recently. I’m going to write it up next. Making it again tonight, and fine-tuning the ingredient amounts. It’s definitely a hearty, winter warmer.

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5- Ingredients Carrot Ginger Soup

5 Ingredients carrot ginger soup | Playful Cooking #soup #carrot #ginger #5ingredients #winterfood

Warm and silky to the palate with a hint of heat from the fresh ginger. This 5- ingredients Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup can warm you inside out! I can go for a bowl of soup anytime of the year but on days when I am under the weather, a hearty bowl of soup feels just right.

5 Ingredients carrot ginger soup | Playful Cooking #soup #carrot #ginger #5ingredients #winterfood
Last week was not very productive for me. First half of the week, I couldn’t find my mojo and the second half was spent taking care of my baby. Avyan had cough and cold. Although he was quite fine, running around like a monkey the entire day, he felt the need to find me close to him all the time. A lot of cuddling around and as expected, he transferred the bug to me. So, while he went to school today quite excited to hang around with his friends, I am here trying to get work done with an itchy throat and a bad headache. Hence, the soup to the rescue!

5 Ingredients carrot ginger soup | Playful Cooking #soup #carrot #ginger #5ingredients #winterfood

You know how some ingredients are just meant to be together, like a marriage made in heaven! Chocolate and Orange, Dill and Cucumber, Nectarine and Rosemary, Mango and Chili, Carrot and Ginger are few such flawless flavor combinations. You can barely go wrong with these pairings. When I pick these ingredients for pairing, I try to stay focused just on them and avoid adding too much spices or herbs. I just let these ingredients shine through and blend harmoniously.

Is roasting important?

Absolutely not! You can just let everything simmer in a large pot until softened and blend it into a smooth consistency. However, roasting does enrich the flavors and gives extra richness to the taste.

Few tidbits to keep in mind!

Use Fresh Ginger – You could use pre-grated frozen ginger or ginger powder or even ginger paste from a store-bought jar but the freshness and zest that you will get from fresh ginger is incomparable.

The Stock – I use stock instead of water only because there are no other spices or herbs that go in. It a quick 5-Ingredients soup and you will get great gravity in flavor from chicken or vegetable stock.

Heavy Cream or Coconut Cream – This is completely optional! I like to drizzle a little cream on my soup because it looks pretty and adds lushness at every spoonful.

5 Ingredients carrot ginger soup | Playful Cooking #soup #carrot #ginger #5ingredients #winterfood

5- Ingredients Carrot Ginger Soup

5- Ingredients Carrot Ginger Soup


  • 3 carrots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-inch fresh ginger
  • 2 cups vegetable/chicken stock
  • for garnish (optional)

  • heavy cream or coconut cream to drizzle on top
  • fresh herbs finely chopped
  • roasted pine nuts or pumpkin nuts or any variety of nuts you like


  • Pre heat the oven to 400 F.
  • Peel the carrots, onion and sweet potato. Dice roughly in chunky cubes. Layer these evenly on a cookie sheet and drizzle with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, tossing once in between.
  • Place a pot at medium high heat and pour the stock. If the stock is sodium-free, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring it to a boil and then, add all the roasted carrots, sweet potato and onion. Grate the ginger and add it the pot. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Using either a hand blender or a stand blender, blend it into a smooth consistency. Check for salt and add any, if needed.
  • Just before serving, add the garnish mentioned above or serve as is.



Copyright: Playful Cooking

5 Ingredients carrot ginger soup | Playful Cooking #soup #carrot #ginger #5ingredients #winterfood5 Ingredients carrot ginger soup | Playful Cooking #soup #carrot #ginger #5ingredients #winterfood

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Carrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake

Carrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake | Playful Cooking #cake #photography #christmascake #fruit #baking

Good amount of moistness with delicate crumbs, this Carrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake is quick and bakes to perfection. I baked the cake repeatedly three times and while serving, everybody loved it and asked for the recipe. With no alcohol and no caffeine, this is one of a kind Christmas cake!

Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of Christmas traditions except for one and that was a Christmas cake. Ma always baked a simple vanilla flavored Christmas cake in her ginormous round oven that she still has and uses occasionally. She never liked alcohol! Then, my brother took over and started baking rum-soaked fruitcake (traditional Kolkata Christmas Cake) which is so rich and dense. We absolutely love his cake. This year, for the first time, I baked my version of Christmas cake – Carrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake! I steered clear of the alcohol even though I know it bakes off, making the cake harmless for kids. But I am one of those paranoid Moms and had to find an alternative.

Carrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake | Playful Cooking #cake #photography #christmascake #fruit #baking

This cake is a blend of the traditional Kolkata Christmas Cake that my brother bakes and Nigella Lawson’s Carrot Walnut Cake! The orange juice was a very last-minute thought and worked out so perfectly. The first time I baked this cake, I did it without soaking the fruits in orange juice. It was tasty but it did lack the subtle moistness that you get from soaking the fruits.

Soaking the dried fruits!

I tried soaking the fruits in orange juice for overnight and also for an hour. Both turned out equally great and pretty similar in taste and texture. Alternatively, you could always use dark rum, brandy or tea to soak the fruits.

Greasing the pan with oil and flour is extremely important. Because the cake has orange juice, it adds a lot of moisture and releasing the cake from the pan will be tough, if it’s not prepared properly. You can surely also add a parchment paper instead.

Carrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake | Playful Cooking #cake #photography #christmascake #fruit #bakingCarrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake | Playful Cooking #cake #photography #christmascake #fruit #baking

When it comes to baking the cake, I always look for an easy route where I can just throw everything in one bowl, whisk it up and done. This cake is so fuss free that even if you don’t bake often, you can easily pull it off without much effort at all.

Carrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake

Carrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake


  • Dry fruits and nut:
  • ¼ cup dried pineapple
  • ¼ cup dried raisins
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup crystalized dried ginger
  • ½ cup dried apricot
  • ½ cup walnut
  • other ingredients:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1¼ cups grated carrot
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar for dusting on the cake (optional)


  • Roughly chop the dried fruits. Do not grind as you want the chunky bites in the cake. Also, roughly chop the walnut. In a mixing bowl, pour the orange juice along with the chopped dried fruits (NOT THE WALNUT, it will be added later). Mix it around and keep it aside for minimum an hour or overnight.
  • In a big mixing bowl, crack the eggs and whisk it with the brown sugar. Then, pour the oil and whisk it again to mix everything.
  • Next, sift all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Whisk it again. The batter will be thick and not too runny.
  • Finally, add the soaked dried fruits and the carrot. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, mix everything.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch round baking pan with oil and dust it with flour. If you want, you can also line a parchment paper at the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour the prepared batter in the pan and layer the batter evenly. Tap the cake pan a couple of times to set the batter. Place it it the preheated oven on the middle rack for 50 minutes.
  • After the cake is baked, take it out of the oven and let it cool down on the pan. Do not try to release the cake at this point. Give it a good 10 minutes to cool down completely.
  • Release the sides of the cake before try to flip the cake. Dust it with powdered sugar (optional) and serve.
  • You can surely add a cream cheese frosting or even serve the cake with some freshly whipped cream or ice cream. I personally prefer it just as is with a cup of tea!



Copyright: Playful Cooking

Carrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake | Playful Cooking #cake #photography #christmascake #fruit #bakingCarrot Orange Christmas Fruit Cake | Playful Cooking #cake #photography #christmascake #fruit #baking

I love to see your creation from my blog, so if you make this spice mixes, tag me on social media @playfulcooking.

Learn about the vibrant cuisine of Kolkata – Check out my book Taste of Eastern India and follow the #tasteofeasternindia

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Masala-Chai Carrot Cupcakes with Spiced Maple Frosting – A Cozy Kitchen

I’m currently in the middle—what I like to call—autumnal chaos. I am busy editing photos every night until 10pm, which also means I’m consuming a large amount of reality television. I’m incredibly embarrassed to admit that I have watched every.single.episode of Shahs of Sunset and I have so many opinions about them. The other day I went to their neighborhood (West LA) and I was like, “If I run into one of them…I won’t be able to control myself!” I was bummed I didn’t see them.

One recipe that was at the very top of my to-make list this season was to fall-ify carrot cupcakes. This is inspired by some ras al hanout carrot cupcakes in Casablanca: My Moroccan Food.

Carrot cake is already filled with spices but with these cupcakes we’re just adding WAY more, while also adding some other spices in the mix.

These cupcakes are glorious to freeze. And then thaw in the fridge when you’re ready to eat and serve.

This frosting is delicious and buttery, filled with a spike of maple and topped with cinnamon.

In other news, I’m going to see Drake tomorrow night and am incredibly excited. Two years ago I went to a Kanye concert and loved it (RIP KANYE). I had to add a disclaimer to this chicken & dumplings recipe because people kept sending me messages on Instagram asking me how I could support him. Haha. It was 2016—it was a different time! We were so innocent.

Anyway, I hope you find some time to make these cupcakes because they’re bomb. Also, if you want to see a step-by-step on Insta Stories, hop on over to the app.

Masala-Chai Carrot Cupcakes with Spiced Frosting

Masala-Chai Carrot Cupcakes with Spiced Frosting


    Carrot Cake Dry Mix:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Carrot Cake Wet Mix:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup pepitas/pumpkin seeds
  • Spiced Maple Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, sifted over each cupcake


    To Make the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two (12-cavity) cupcake tins. I used cooking spray. You can also line them with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cloves and salt. Set the dry mixture aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, with the paddle attachment, add the butter, white sugar and brown sugar; beat until nice and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the oil and eggs. Beat until combined.
  4. Alternating between the buttermilk and the dry mix, add them to the butter mixture, until just combined. Lastly, add the carrots and walnuts and mix until thoroughly distributed throughout the batter.
  5. To fill up the cupcake tin, I used a cookie scoop to make it easy on myself. Fill each cupcake tin about half way. I baked these in batches because doing two at the same time didn’t end well for me. Transfer the first cupcake tin to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Repeat with the second batch of batter.
  6. Allow them to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool before adding the frosting.
  7. To Make the Frosting:

  8. To the bowl of a stand-up mixer, sift in the powdered sugar, add the vanilla extract, salt and heavy cream. Beat the frosting for about 3 minutes. The fluffiness from the heavy cream really lightens up this frosting so be sure to beat it for the full 3 minutes. If the frosting is too loose, feel free to transfer it to the fridge to chill for about 10 minutes. Then beat it one last time.
  9. Decorate the cupcakes however you like! Garnish with sifted cinnamon.



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Gajar Halwa | Carrot Pudding

Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding) | Playful Cooking

This year, for the first time in a very long time, we are celebrating the festive season in full swing. Avyan is at an age where he can understand these things and he is also thoroughly enjoying it. Yesterday, we had a Diwali Potluck Party at our home and it was a blast. There were a wide variety of delicious treats and I really wish I had taken a photo of the entire spread! My contribution to the spread was Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding) and Moong Dal Khasta Kachori (Mung Bean Filled Flaky Dumplings). I will be sharing the recipe for Moong Dal Khasta Kachori soon.

Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding) | Playful Cooking

While growing up, Diwali for me was all about busting crackers and helping Mom lighting diyas (little oil lamps). All the glitters and shimmers, everyone wearing new outfits, the feeling was something that is not easy to describe in words! Then, there was the array of Diwali treats that she would start prepping for almost a week in advance. However, Mom never made Gajar Halwa that often. It would be mostly payesh or sondesh. For Arvind, Gajar Halwa is a must during Diwali and I wanted to make it for him. He has a huge sweet tooth and with all these traditional desserts, he prefers the classic version without any twists.

Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding) | Playful Cooking

What is Gajar Halwa ?

Sprinkled with raisins and cashews, infused with the aroma of cardamom and ghee, Gajar Halwa is one of the most popular Indian sweets. Gajar meaning carrot and Halwa meaning pudding is also a winter welcoming delicacy. Traditionally, grated carrots are slow cooked in whole milk by frequent stirring until the carrot softens and turns into this creamy deliciousness. To fasten the process, most people lean towards either condensed milk or evaporated milk. I like to go with evaporated milk only because condensed milk makes it overly sweet and takes away the taste of carrot.

In terms of nuts, I stick to cashew and raisins but you could also use almonds or pistachio.

One KEY POINT to remember is that while preparing the pudding, add sugar only after the carrots are almost softened. Adding sugar in the beginning will slow down the softening the grated carrots.

Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding) | Playful Cooking

Gajar Halwa might need some effort but at the end, it always feels so worth it. You can wow your guest easily with this creamy rich lusciousness.

Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding)

Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding)


  • 2lb orange carrots
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 5 green cardamoms
  • 24oz/ 710ml evaporated milk
  • 16oz/ 473 ml whole milk
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup cashew


  • Peel and grate the carrots using the big holes or a box grater.
  • Place a heavy bottom pan at medium heat and pour the ghee followed by crushed cardamoms. Let the cardamom sizzle for a few seconds and then, add the grated carrots. Toss it around to coat the carrot in ghee and keep stirring for 5 minutes until the carrot cooks a little and changes its color to a vibrant orange.
  • Pour the milk and evaporated milk, stir around and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Stir very frequently as it cooks and softens.
  • After 30 minutes, the carrots should be pretty much cooked through. The milk shouldn’t be completely absorbed but reduced. If not, cook for some more time. If the milk is almost absorbed, add a little more milk.
  • Once the carrots are cooked though, add the sugar, raisins and cashew. Stir around and cook for 5 more minutes or until the milk is almost absorbed. Check for sugar and if you prefer it much sweeter, add more sugar and cook for a while.
  • Allow the gajar halwa to cool down a little. Sprinkle more cashews on top and serve.



Copyright: Playful Cooking

Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding) | Playful CookingGajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding) | Playful Cooking

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Easy Miso Carrot Soup Recipe

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big, BIG everything else: flavor, ideas, holy-cow factor. Psst: We don’t count water, salt, pepper, and certain fats (say, olive oil to dress greens or sauté onions), since we’re guessing you have those covered. This week, we’re burning carrots—sort of on purpose—to make fall’s new favorite soup.”

Mirepoix is a trio of vegetables as special to French cooking as butter. Classically, it involves 2 parts onion to 1 part each carrot and celery. You chop them, cook them, and end up with a very flavorful foundation for something like soup.

Except in this recipe, the mirepoix is the soup.

Well, more or less. I wanted to make an easy, creamy carrot soup, to store in my freezer from now until spring. So I started with a mirepoix. Only, flipped the ratio: 2 parts carrots to 1 part each onion and celery. And then I burned the vegetables.

Between you and me, this wasn’t on purpose. While a lot of mirepoix-based soups take place on the stove, I didn’t want to stand over the stove as much as I wanted to binge-watch the fifth season of The Great British Bake-Off on Netflix. Is that too much to ask?

Photo by Ty Mecham

Enter: oven. We’ve used this method to make soup before. It’s as easy as it is riffable. Roast vegetables in the oven, then puree in a blender with some sort of liquid. That’s it. So I thought I’d give it a try.

I cranked up the oven to 425°F in the hopes of ultra-caramelized edges. Checked at 20 minutes, but it needed more time. I checked again at 40, but it wasn’t quite where I wanted it. Then I checked at an hour, and oops. One could call the edges ultra-caramelized, but one would be, you know, lying. They were charred.

But I was 90 percent of the way there, I figured, so I might as well finish the soup. I’d hate it and then I’d throw it out and start again. No biggie. This is why we develop recipes, is it not? I added the vegetables to the blender with water and my magical fourth ingredient and—a soup miracle!—it was wonderful. Like, eating-straight-out-of-the-blender wonderful.

Photo by Ty Mecham

But you’re probably wondering about that magic fourth ingredient.

It’s miso. Buttery, mellow white miso. I’ve been known to eat this brand out of the container with a spoon (judge me not), but whatever you can find will work well.

It’s the amount that’s a game changer here: 1/4 cup. Which, admittedly, is a lot of miso for one batch of soup that, originally, had nothing to do with miso. But, like those charred edges, the miso adds a depth that you wouldn’t expect when looking at a bowl of unassuming carrot soup.

Or, whatever-vegetable soup. This formula is so easy and riffable, I’m going to keep it on repeat all fall and winter long, swapping out carrots and swapping in…parsnips? Sure thing. Rutabagas? Yes please. Sweet potatoes? Get at me. Just keep the ratio the same (2 root veg: 1 onion: 1 celery)—and don’t forget to burn the vegetables. You know, on purpose.

Serves about 9 cups

  • 2

    pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks

  • 1

    pound celery, chopped into 1-inch chunks

  • 1

    pound yellow onions, halved, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks

  • 3

    tablespoons canola oil, divided

  • 1 1/2

    teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4

    cup mellow white miso, divided

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What are some of your favorite fall or winter soups? Share in the comments!

Carrot, Dinner Tonight, Big Little Recipes

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