With Christmas around the corner, I’m thinking about one of the best gifts I’ve ever received—my immersion blender. No longer do I ladle soup back and forth between a pot and standing blender. It’s a dream. If you’re armed with a high-powered immersion blender, this carrot and butternut squash soup, jazzed up with ginger and Szechuan pepper, comes together in no time (and if not, perhaps you can still squeeze it onto your wishlist?).
I first discovered Szechuan pepper in Bon Appetit’s recipe for Spicy Pork and Mustard Green Soup. With its warm, peppery flavour that slowly builds, it’s usually used in fatty dishes, but I thought its citrus overtones would be perfect for this light, yet seasonal soup with carrots and butternut squash. Hypothesis confirmed! I found a tin of it at The Spice Trader on Queen St. West in Toronto. Perk: like all their spices, these Szechuan peppercorns are organic.
To layer on even more flavour, I often enjoy this with a drizzle of nutty lemon-tahini dressing. Some pepitas tossed on top would do the trick too. Lastly, many thanks to Food52 for reviewing this recipe when I entered it into their Best Restorative Recipes contest last January. It certainly comes in handy when you need a cleaner meal after holiday indulgences.
Carrot-Ginger Zinger Soup (Vegan)
- 4 cups diced carrots (about 5 large carrots)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 firm, sweet apple (I use Royal Gala) peeled and diced
- 2 cups butternut squash
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- ¾ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
Heat the coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add in diced onion and garlic.
When translucent, add in the carrots, Szechuan pepper, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, cumin, and grate in the ginger. Cook for a minute or two until fragrant.
Pour in broth and bring to a simmer. As carrots begin to soften, add in the butternut squash (mine was pre-chopped and and waiting for me in the freezer).
When both carrots and squash are tender, add in the diced apple. Simmer for 8-10 minutes for flavours to meld.
Remove bay leaves. Season with a few large pinches of coarse salt.
Remove pot from heat and blend with immersion blender. Alternatively, ladle soup into standing blender and return to pot.