Did you know that there is an International Carrot Day? In 2019 that day is April 4. So, in celebration of International Carrot Day it just makes sense to have a carrot recipe. Carrots are one of the top ten vegetable crops produced in the world, and they’re always available around here.
Carrots are best known for the antioxidant beta carotene. Beta carotene is what causes people’s skin to turn orange if they consume too many carrots. Just one carrot contains more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance of beta carotene.
Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A, which is critical for good eye health, helps to protect cells from damage, is important for healthy skin and mucus membranes, and supports immune health. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, so it is best absorbed with foods containing fat. The coconut milk in this recipe provides the fat for absorption of vitamin A. When serving I also like to sprinkle it with a tablespoon of pumpkin or sunflower seeds. If you don’t want the added crunch from seeds you could also add a dollop of tahini, pumpkin butter or cashew cream.
Ginger is the perfect flavour for carrot soup. It has a warm, spicy taste that comes from the health-promoting phytochemical gingerol. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is a known digestive aid. It is an excellent carminative, which means it soothes and relaxes the intestinal tract and helps to eliminate gas and intestinal cramps. Ginger also aids in liver detoxification. According to Chinese medicine, fresh ginger is recommended to reduce body temperature, so would be excellent in tea to bring down a fever, whereas dried ginger is warming to the body, which is especially good during the cool damp and blustery days that typically accompany a warm bowl of soup. For maximum health benefits, this recipe uses both fresh and dried ginger. If you only have dry ginger just adjust the amount you use. About ¼ tsp of ground ginger is equivalent to I tablespoon of fresh ginger.
The third health supporting ingredient in this warming soup is red lentils. I love to add red lentils to a lot of dishes, like curries, soups and pasta sauces. They add protein and fibre to dishes, and for people who think they’re not fans of lentils, red lentils “disappear” into recipes fairly easily.
Lentils are digested slowly, making them beneficial for blood sugar stability and balanced energy. Lentils are an excellent source of folate, which is needed to make blood cells and to convert carbohydrates to energy. Lentils are also a good source of magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc, and are a prebiotic, so they feed the good bacteria in the gut.
Onions and garlic offer more prebiotics in this healthy soup, and the teaspoon of turmeric adds additional anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. And don’t forget to add your own special ingredient when you make it—a touch of LOVE.
Carrot, Ginger and Red Lentil Soup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 4 cups chopped carrots
- 1 cup red lentils
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 can coconut milk
- Melt coconut oil in a large saucepan.
- Add onions and sauté for five minutes on medium-low heat.
- Add garlic and fresh grated ginger and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Add carrots, vegetable stock, lentils, se salt, ground turmeric and ground ginger and stir.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until carrots are soft.
- Blend with an immersion blender until thick and creamy.
- Add coconut milk and stir.
- Heat five minutes and serve.