When introducing a carrot to your friends, what do you tell them?
Do you begin by describing it as healthy? A betacarotene and fiber-filled vegetable? Peas’ better half?
Or do you tell your best buds stories of how this wonder root likes to be the center of attention in salads and slaws; how, at times, yes, they can be loud and crunchy, but mild and gentle when the moment calls for it; and of course how they’re so flexible to your silly whims, ready for any culinary adventure you decide to throw at it.
Broiling? Carrot says lets do it. Glazed? Just what it was thinking. Raw, spiced, pickled? Thought you would never ask. And boiled? Well, you probably shouldn’t hang out with vegetables like that anyways.
If you were Cheryl Sternman Rule, this how you talk about carrots. And bok choy, eggplant, squash, and raspberries.
In the book, Ripe, created by Ms. Rule and collaborator-photographer Paulette Phlipot, the two extraordinary ladies explore the (almost) human qualities that make vegetables and fruits so special and so essential to your kitchen. They celebrate each ingredient’s personal set of power tools that help elevate flavor, texture, surprise, and color in any dish. Simple qualities that quickly perk up low-sodium food, helping you think less about the missing salt and more about that unexpected carrot that landed in your lettuce wrap.
So let’s get back to our new friends (it’s so nice to finally meet you). And thanks to Cheryl and Paulette, let’s discover how they glow; how they can stand some heat; and when creamed into soups, how they pour into your mouth like edible velvet.
LOW-SODIUM CARROT SOUP with GARAM MASALA CREAM
adapted from Ripe by Cheryl Sternman Rule
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup diced yellow onion
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 4 to 6 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small yam, peeled and diced
- 3/4 teaspoon garam masala (divided)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried orange or lemon peel (optional)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons plain soy or So Delicious coconut yogurt
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and the garlic and let them soften and infuse the oil with flavors for 5 minutes. Then add the carrots and the yam, 1/2 teaspoon of the garam masala, black pepper, cumin, and lemon/orange peel. Cook for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the 2 cups of water and the orange juice. Raise the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
If you have an immersion blender, use it to puree the soup. Otherwise, allow it to cool and then puree in batches using a traditional blender. Return the soup to the pot and head to Amazon to buy an immersion blender. Taste the soup and add extra black pepper as desired.
Mix the yogurt with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala in a small bowl. Swirl into the soup. Serve hot.
+ Sodium Count: Carrots: 42mg per medium carrot; Yams: 14mg per 1 cup; Plain soy yogurt: 15mg per 6-ounce container, depending on brand; Plain coconut yogurt: 10mg per 6-ounce container, depending on brand.