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Meatless Monday #4: Caramelized Carrot Soup

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Mmm mm good- the tagline for a famous canned soup brand in their ads and what you will say with your first spoonful of this quick homemade soup.

I’ve been enjoying the warm and breezy Spring weather of the past two weeks here in NYC (finally), but today is a bit grey, chilly, and damp.  Therefore, I needed a dish that would bring Spring flavors and some comforting warmth to today’s Meatless Monday dish.  I was lucky enough to come across my brother’s May issue of Food & Wine magazine last week while visiting the family.  I was instantly inspired by the featured pressure cooker meals by scientist and chef Nathan Myhrvold. I knew right away that his caramelized carrot soup would be perfect for today.

I made a few small changes to fit my needs and pantry. Since I’m refraining from eating any dairy and meat for a couple of weeks, I substituted the butter in the original recipe with half the amount of olive oil.  I didn’t have caraway seeds that is originally called for, but I found that the cumin seeds I did have were a suitable substitute.  The cumin and tarragon add a mild licorice flavor to the soup that gives it depth, and the ginger adds a slight warmth to the velvety, sweet and savory soup.


Recipe adapted from Food & Wine Magazine’s May 2011 issue

Total time: 35 mins/4 Servings


  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tspn. salt
  • 1/4 baking soda (helps in the browning process)
  • 2 cups carrot juice
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger (The ginger in the photos is thinly sliced for aesthetic purposes)
  • 1 tspn. tarragon, chopped
  • 1/4 tspn. cumin seeds, chopped



  1. Heat a pressure cooker over medium heat and add 3 Tbs. of Olive oil, the carrots, salt and baking soda. Cover and cook at 15 PSI* (see note below) for 10 minutes. If steam is coming out of the pressure cooker’s valve, the pressure is too high, and you need to lower the heat.
  2. Use a fork to carefully raise the pressure valve to depressurize the cooker, or run the pot under cold water to quickly cool the pot down and release pressure. Be careful not to run the water over the valve.
  3. Once the lid can be removed easily, return the pot over medium heat. Add the carrot juice and stir to loosen any caramelized carrot bits at the bottom of the pot.  Season with black pepper to your tastes. Cook uncovered until contents are warmed through. 
  4.  Transfer contents and remaining 1 Tbs. of olive oil to a blender or processor and puree until smooth. Serve in bowls and top with cumin seeds, tarragon, and ginger.



 *A note on using a pressure cooker: I believe the chef used a digital cooker because he recommends setting the cooker at 15 PSI (pounds per square inch). I am using a standard cooker. Once my valve start to release steam, I know the contents are under pressure and I lower the heat to avoid too much steam to be released too quickly. It’s important that you read the owner’s manual for your particular pressure cooker.

7 responses »

  1. I love the presentation. The recipe, tarragon!, sounds wonderful.

  2. Can’t wait to try this one! I just might have to dust off my pressure cooker for it ….

    • Martha, please do. It definitely can be prepared in a stock pot or french oven. It will just take a little longer for the carrots to cook, but carrots don’t take that long anyway. Browning them first is the key. Carrots never tasted so delicios.

  3. I’m not too big on carrots but I just made a great vegetable soup with carrots, celery, mushrooms, bay leaves, green peas, red pepper, vegetable stock, and one vegetable that looks like cucumber but I know it is called something else. I would love to add shrimp to this soup but I am on a detox and I am not eating any seafood.

    But back to your recipe. It looks pretty straightforward. I would be tempted to add some kind of cheese, most likely cheddar, to this carrot soup. Maybe it is just my taste buds talking.

    Do you think adding cheese to it will ruin it?


    • I would be hard pressed to suggest a cheese that could be added to this. I usually say go with what you like’ but I’m finding it hard to imagine cheddar with carrots. I think maybe a more savory and lighter cheese might work. If you do add cheese to this recipe, please let me know.

    • Martin, back to YOUR recipe, it really sounds yummy. Maybe you used green zucchini in your soup. When you are done detoxing, you have to add that shrimp! I bet it will be sooo delicious.


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