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Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas & Tahini Sauce

Here’s one of the things I look forward to most in our CSA Share Boxes…..the carrots!  Once you taste carrots this fresh you’ll never want to eat the uniform store-bought ones again.  I also love the irregular shapes and sizes-so much beauty in something so simple!  I peel and cut these into carrot sticks all the time for my son’s lunchbox, they are so much better than the dry peeled and shaved baby carrots.  Carrots find their way into a lot of dishes in our household, often as the base in a simple Mirepoix.  When I saw this soup recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s blog I knew it would be perfect for all the carrots I had in the fridge.  I made a few modifications to make this into a very easy preparation.

Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas & Tahini

I find that the carrots store really well in the bag that lines the CSA Share Boxes.  This recipes calls for about 2lbs of carrots.  I used 15 carrots, if you have a scale you can weigh them.  The onions, carrots and garlic simmer in vegetable stock before being pureed, so I gave everything a rough chop.  I never peel carrots for something like this, I just scrub them really well before chopping.  There is some debate on the skin affecting flavor, but you can peel them or not, it’s up to you!

Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas & Tahini Sauce

Once the onion and garlic have cooked down a bit the carrots go in the pot for a brief sauté with cumin, coriander, a pinch of crushed red pepper, a healthy shake of sea salt and lots of fresh black pepper. That’s pretty much it for active cooking time, so making the toppings while the soup simmers is a breeze.  You can definitely eat this without the chickpeas and tahini sauce, but it adds a lot of flavor and transforms the soup into a hearty meal.  You can use canned or cooked chickpeas (I pressure cook mine).  If you don’t have tahini on hand check your local natural foods store’s bulk area, I was able to pick some up for a fraction of the price of a jar.

Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas & Tahini Sauce

Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas and Tahini Sauce

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 lbs or 15 medium sized carrots, scrubbed
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
salt + pepper
4 cups vegetable broth

Roasted Chickpeas
2 cups cooked  or 1 can chickpeas rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sal
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Tahini Sauce
3 tablespoons tahini paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pinch or two of salt
2 tablespoons water

Make soup.  Heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, sauté until onions begin to turn translucent.  Add carrots, ground coriander, ground cumin, crushed red pepper if using, salt + pepper.  Saute’ about 15 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add stock, and cover pot with lid.  Simmer until carrots are tender, 30-40 minutes.  Puree soup using an immersion blender or blender.  If using blender use caution when blending hot liquids.

Roast chickpeas.  Preheat oven to 425.  Spread chickpeas in a cast iron skillet or cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and cumin.  Shake to evenly distribute.  Roast 10-20 minutes until crispy.  Stir occasionally.

Make tahini sauce. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Serve pureed soup topped with a spoonful of tahini and handful of chickpeas.

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