One of my oldest and best friends is a vegetarian.  Now, that in and of itself, isn’t really that noteworthy except for the fact that she doesn’t like tomatoes.  Doesn’t like tomatoes!  It never occurred to me that was an option.  In fact, I’ve said to her on more than one occasion that, if I could get summer-sun-warmed, vine-ripened tomatoes all year around, I could consider vegetarianism.  But, as long as we get the manky, flavorless, pasty, gawd-awful excuses for them between October and June, I just can’t do it.  I can, however, embrace the occasional meatless, tomato-less dish … I just can’t make a lifestyle of it. 

So, today’s dish is for her.  It’s for anyone who’s on a budget.  It’s for anyone who wants an easy, filling meal.  It’s for anyone who likes a bit of the spice.

Spicy Carrot Soup with Shallots

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red chili, seeded and sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/4 lb carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/2″ slices
  • 4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 4 shallots, sliced into 1/4″ slices

In a large pot, heat a couple of glugs of olive oil over medium-high heat and add the onions and chilli, stirring to coat and cooking until soft.  Add the cumin, coriander and a little salt and pepper and toast for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add the carrots, stirring to coat with the spices and onions.  Pour in the stock and raise heat to bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat, stir in the beans then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the carrots are tender.  While that’s cooking, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat and brown the shallots – you want them browned and slightly crisp to garnish the soup.  Once the carrots are cooked and fork-tender, puree in batches in a blender, stir in the yogurt and taste for seasoning, then serve topped with a forkful of the shallots.