I hadn’t meant for this soup to be so quintessentially early January — that would be, virtually fat free, dairy free, gluten free (miso dependent), vegan and the very picture of healthful do-gooding. It’s about one cube of tofu away from earning a halo or at least being surrounded by singing cherubs. In fact, if you advertised a soup to me with all of those qualities, I’d probably run in the other direction because I am a dietary heathen, and I love butter, even if overdoing it in December now requires it in moderation. For the rest of time.
In fact, the reason why I made this soup is because, in general, I don’t find carrot soups all that interesting and wanted to challenge myself to make one I’d love, and eat often. I turned to one of my favorite dressing recipes for inspiration — the ginger-carrot-miso awesomeness most of us know from sushi restaurants — and decided to mash up a miso and carrot soup.
Usually when you finish a soup like this — and by “like this” I mean a relatively simple sauté of onion and garlic, a simmering of vegetables in broth followed by a run in the blender — cream or crème fraiche or sour cream goes in and you could do that here, but I didn’t want to bury the brightness of the miso paste, so I instead drizzled some toasted sesame oil on it (which is, frankly, like crack to me) and scattered some thinly sliced scallions. The soup is good without them, but with them? It all comes together harmoniously, dancing off into a 4:40 p.m., 27-degree sunset. Goodness, that sounded depressing. But I promise, it’s a lot less so with this soup on the stove.
This would go great with: These. Clearly, I shopped for them at the same time.
One year ago: Chard and White Bean Stew
Two years ago: Southwestern Pulled Brisket and Caramel Pudding
Three years ago:Potato and Artichoke Tortilla
Four years ago: Viennese Cucumber Salad
Five years ago: Really Simple Homemade Pizza
Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame
Usually, recipe writers urge you to season food throughout, building layers of flavor. Here, don’t. The miso we add at the end is very salty and it’s safest to decide how much seasoning your soup needs after that.
Note: This soup is “gluten-free” with a large caveat, and that is that most miso is in part from barley and is not gluten-free. You will need to seek out a miso brand — such as this shiro miso from Eden — that is clearly marked as such for it to be good to go.
New to miso? This here is a fantastic primer.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 regular or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon finely chopped or grated ginger, or more to taste (it could easily be doubled)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white miso paste, or more to taste
Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
2 scallions, very thinly sliced
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion and garlic sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add broth and ginger. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in blender, or all at once with an immersion blender. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso an a half-cup of the soup. Stir the mixture back into the pot of soup. Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper or additional miso to taste.
Ladle into bowls and garnish each with a drizzle of sesame oil and small mound of scallions.
Pickled scallions? I didn’t do this in the end, but was tempted to lightly pickled the scallions by letting them hang out in a mixture of 6 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt (I use Diamond brand, use less if you’re using Morton or another, which are more dense) and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar for a while before using them as garnish.