Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Moroccan Carrot Soup

Overhead view of Moroccan Carrot Soup in bowl, with yogurt and paprika garnish

Cinnamon and cumin add zip to this warming dish

Looking for a zesty starter? Something that will wake up your taste buds, but still leave you hungry for the main course?

This Moroccan Carrot Soup fills the bill. It’s chockfull of nutrition, but it’s light on calories. Best of all, it’s packed with flavor.

If you’ve resolved to eat lighter and healthier in 2014, this dish is for you. Who knew it would be so easy to keep your New Year’s resolutions?


Moroccan Carrot Soup in bowl, with yogurt garnish

Recipe: Moroccan Carrot Soup

Carrots are used widely in Moroccan cuisine, most often in salads. In fact, there are countless Moroccan salads that use both cooked and uncooked carrots. This dish is esentially a soup version of the Moroccan Carrot Salad we discussed last year. It uses the same ingredients, along with a few additions (broth, for example) to make it more soup-like.

I initially got the idea for turning salad into soup when I read a recipe in Bon Appétit magazine a few years ago. My recipe is adapted from that one, and from my carrot salad.

Prep time for this dish is about 15 minutes, with total cooking time of roughly half an hour. So you’ll be out of the kitchen in under an hour.

This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings. Leftovers keep well for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container. Or you can freeze the leftovers for up to 6 months.

Ingredients
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 medium purple onion (may substitute yellow or white, but I like the color and flavor of purple)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt (about half that if using regular table salt; see Notes)
  • ~¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I usually increase to 1 teaspoon for more flavor; see Notes)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin (I usually increase to 1 teaspoon for more flavor; see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 - 4 cups chicken broth (may substitute vegetable broth; see Notes for discussion about quantity)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional; may substitute parsley)
  • juice of 1 lemon (you’ll start with half this amount; see Step 7 of the Procedure)
  • ~¼ teaspoon sugar (optional, and to taste; see Step 7 of the Procedure)
  • yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)
  • a dusting of sweet paprika or cayenne pepper for garnish (optional)
Procedure
  1. Wash and scrape the carrots, then cut them into dice of ½ inch or less. Set aside.
  2. Peel the onion and cut it into dice of ½ inch or less. Peel the garlic and mince it finely (or cut into thin slices, if you prefer).
  3. Put a 4-quart soup kettle or Dutch oven on the stove. Turn the heat to medium. When the kettle is hot, add the olive oil. Once it’s heated (it will shimmer—this takes maybe 15 seconds), add the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. At the 5-minute mark, add the carrots and continue to sauté until the carrots begin to break down (about 5 to 10 minutes). Timing isn’t critical—you can cook them longer in the soup if necessary to soften them sufficiently.
  5. Once the carrots are cooked, add the cinnamon, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Stir to incorporate the spices into the onion/carrot mixture, then sauté for 30 seconds or so.
  6. Add the broth, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 15 to 20 minutes—basically until it tastes good.
  7. When the soup is done, you may want to use an immersion blender to blend the soup a bit (use one with a stainless shaft; plastic shafts can crack). Then right before serving, stir in the cilantro or parsley (if using) and half the lemon juice. Taste, and add more lemon juice if you like (I always do). If the flavor of the lemon is too sharp for your taste, add the optional sugar (to taste) to balance it. Also adjust salt and pepper to taste at this time.
  8. When you serve the soup, you may want to garnish it with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, and/or a dusting of sweet paprika or cayenne pepper.
Overhead view of Moroccan Carrot Soup in bowl, with yogurt and paprika garnish

Notes
  • Although the recipe calls for ½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and cumin, I actually use a teaspoon of each when I make this soup (it makes for a more intense flavor). But I suggest starting with ½ teaspoon of each until you’ve had a chance to taste the soup. After it’s cooked for 10 minutes or so, you can add additional spices if the flavor seems too wimpy to you (it will be good with less; the flavor will just be more subtle).
  • I generally use 4 cups of chicken broth when I make this soup, although that makes the mixture pretty liquidy. If you prefer a thicker soup, use just 3 cups (bonus: the orange of the carrots will be a bit more intense if you use less liquid).
  • Vegetable stock works well in this soup. I don’t recommend using water because the flavor will be rather thin.
  • If you don't have Kosher salt on hand, you can use plain table salt. In that case, though, I’d reduce the amount by about half since table salt is finer and more “condensed” than Kosher.
  • Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, which helps improve night vision for those of us with aging eyes.
Moroccan Carrot Soup in bowl, with yogurt and paprika garnish

Moroccan Dreaming

“Mmm, I’m loving this soup,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Less hearty than Harira, the Moroccan Chickpea Soup you did for the last post. But wonderful as a first course.”

“Not a soup I ever had when I lived in Morocco,” I said between slurps. “But the flavoring is typical of Moroccan food.”

“It would be fun to go to Morocco together,” said Mrs K R, looking out the window at the foot of snow we had just shoveled off our sidewalk.

“I’d like to go back one of these days,” I said. “In the meantime, since we’re on a roll with Moroccan food at the moment, why don’t I do a couple more dishes?”

“You should do that great Kefta and Tomato Tagine you make,” said Mrs K R. “I really love that.”

“Deal,” I said. “And I’ll do a couscous dish of some sort, probably with dried fruit.”

“Sounds good,” said Mrs K R. “Not as good as shopping in the souks of sunny Marrakech. But I’ll take what I can get.”

You may also enjoy reading about:
Moroccan Chickpea Soup (Harira)
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Moroccan Orange and Radish Salad
Winter Squash and Bacon Chowder
Sweet Potato Soup with Chilies and Corn
Kale, Quinoa, and White Bean Soup
Lentil and Tomato Soup
Tuscan Bean and Pasta Soup
Easy Lentil Soup
White Bean and Potato Soup
Or check out the index for more recipes

120 comments:

  1. I haven't had a lot of experience with Moroccan food, but this sounds like something I'd like. Spicy and my eyes can use all the carrots they can get. I have a fridge full of leftovers and last night I couldn't eat any of them one more time so I made a little butternut squash soup. I guess my body is forcing the diet to commence. Happy New Year to you and the Mrs.
    -Gina-

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    1. Hi Gina, I know what you mean about holiday leftovers! We actually made most of them into new dishes - many of which are in the freezer - so we're good. ;-) Thanks for the comment, and Happy New Year!

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  2. Love the ingredients in this soup John. My son just told me last night that a new Moroccan restaurant is opening in State College. I'm thrilled! I must tell him about these recipes you have been posting. Although he is vegan, I'm sure he could use a vegetable stock in lieu of the chicken stock. Who knows, maybe he'll invite me over for some, lol...Thank you so much for sharing, John...

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    1. Hi Louise, for this soup a vegetable stock works quite well. Moroccan restaurants can be fun - so exciting you have a new one coming! Thanks for the comment.

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  3. ooooh, can't wait for your kefta and tomato tagine! I do like that quite a bit. This soup is gorgeous, in colour and flavour. I've decided to make resolutions that I can actually keep and not get disappointed; resolutions like eat more Moroccan food, or eat more soup and so on. I think I can be successful then ;)

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    1. Hi Nazneen, that kefta and tomato tagine is a wonderful dish! And I think eating more soups and Moroccan food is a wonderful resolution. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I love carrot soup, though I've never made the Moroccan version. I think you should go visit. After all, it is the hot spot to go right now. And we all know you could use a HOT spot! Just bought some carrots yesterday- maybe dinner tonight!

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    1. Hi Abbe, we probably will get to Morocco someday, although I know it's changed hugely since I've been there (decades and decades ago!). And you're right, with the weather we've been having, a hot spot would be delightful! Thanks for the comment.

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  5. I'm sure this soup is packed with flavor and light and that's what a starter should be. Very colorful Moroccan dish - I love it. Great post John. Thank you. :)

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    1. Hi Ray, it's a great dish! And for those of us experiencing cold weather, so perfect! Thanks for the comment.

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  6. I did say I was going to eat better in 2014 and am not doing too well with that so far!! This carrot soup to the rescue!! :)

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    1. Hi Ashley, it's really a good soup, and pretty light. Worth trying! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. You lived in Morocco? What a wonderful experience that must have been! What's your favorite dish there? Loving this soup, perfect for the coldish weather (thought nowhere near as cold as in your part of the States!).

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    1. Hi Ala, my favorite Moroccan dish is probably bisteeya - kind of a savory and sweet meat pie (usually made with squab). This soup is wonderful - but also good in warmer climates! Thanks for the comment.

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  8. It's so fun to see these Moroccan dishes, a cuisine I'm not very familiar with. I love the colors in this soup too,

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    1. Hi Chris, Moroccan cuisine makes wonderful use of spices, particularly some spices like cinnamon that we usually use in sweet dishes but they use in savory ones (sweet ones, too). Thanks for the comment.

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  9. I love Moroccan food - keep 'em coming! This carrot soup sounds to die for good.

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    1. Hi Maureen, isn't Moroccan food good? This soup certainly is! Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Printing this recipe. I love carrot soup so much and this is such a great way to spice it up. I would also love to travel to Morocco - I am with Mrs. K. R.!

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    1. Hi Alyssa, Moroccan spicing is really wonderful - worth playing with in all sorts of dishes. Thanks for the comment.,

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  11. Hi John , I bookmarked this soup , what wonderfully ingredients , making it for the weekend , Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Hi Nee, aren't the ingredients nice? Enjoy! thanks for the comment.

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  12. Hearty, warm meals just like this carrot soup is all my body craves...

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    1. Hi Denise, this soup is so good for this time of the year. Or any other time. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Do you think butternut squash would work along with some carrots? I'm not much of a carrot lover! The soup looks so beautiful and sounds like it would be heavenly with the lovely spices! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Dolly, if you don't like carrots, I'd just skip the carrots and use the squash! I'd probably roast the squash, then add it to the onions and proceed with the soup. I haven't tried this, but it sounds like it'd be good! Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Replies
    1. Sarah & Arkadi, aren't the colors nice? And the flavor is better! Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Wonderful recipe... love the conversation at the end, with Mrs KR. You sound just like us!

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    1. Hi Lizzy, glad you like those conversations! They've become my favorite part of each post. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. I have never had Moroccan carrot soup and it looks and sounds really delicious. When I see the species and pepper you add to this soup I know this is going to my to-try list! I have a few more soups lined up in my kitchen so I can stay warm but I'll definitely try your recipe soon. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Yi, it's a nice soup, and the spices are really pleasing in it. I love its flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  17. We want to fly to Marocco this year and this soup is a must now :)

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    1. Hi Marta, Morocco is a great place - you'll enjoy it! Thanks for the comment.

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  18. I love Moroccan spices and flavors and although I am not a carrot soup fan, I will definitely love this one. Delicious post.

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    1. Hi easyfoodsmith, aren't the Moroccan spices so wonderful? Such fun to cook with! Thanks for the comment.

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  19. A delicious looking soup! Those flavors are wonderful. My kind of food.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, I like the vibrant flavor and colors of this dish. Pretty simple, but complex at the same time. Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Replies
    1. Hi Candy, it is, it is! Thanks for the comment.

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  21. One of my favorite soups is carrot and coriander that was popular when we lived in England. I haven't had that in ages. This soup looks like a dressed up version of that one. Thank you for this recipe. I hope to try it soon.

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    1. HI Karen, it sounds like this might be a similar soup! Loads of Brits lived in Morocco when I was there, particularly in Tangiers. And it's a huge vacation spot for Europeans. Thanks for the comment.

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  22. John,
    Thank you for bringing some delcious tastes of Morocco to your site for your readers to feast their eyes and appetites upon. Your latest creation of carrot soup looks really good!

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    1. Hi Dan, this is a soup I think your boys would enjoy! Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Nice way to use bags of carrots and have a healthy soup for this frigid cold weather. I like Moroccan dishes, their tagines are very good.

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    1. Hi Shibi, Moroccan tagines are great! And this soup is outstanding, if I do say so myself. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. a vibrant,beautiful and utterly delicious soup....we love it...and this seems like the best thing to try out for supper tonight,thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe :-)

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    1. Hi Kumar, isn't this such a fun soup to look at? Better to eat, though. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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    2. thanks so much for sharing such delicious recipes...this soup turned out so scrumptious...we went for thirds alongside some bread,thanks :-)

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    3. Hi Kumar, glad you liked it! And thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it. :-)

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  25. I'm trying to keep my resolution which is to sleep early, eat small portions and exercise! Love this healthy light soup yet packed with great flavors. Having more soups lately because I can add lots of veggies! This looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Nami, I've got the exercise covered. Small portions and getting to sleep early? Not so much, alas. Anyway, I think you'd enjoy this! Thanks for the comment.

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  26. We grow lots of carrots in the garden so I'm excited to try this recipe when we pick the next batch!

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    1. Hi Pamela, growing carrots in the garden is so much fun, isn't it? Nothing better than a fresh carrot! Thanks for the comlment.

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  27. Replies
    1. Hi Shikha, it's really a pretty soup, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  28. I would actually love this as a light entree. That combination of spices is one of my favorites. I have been craving soup lately too with all of this horrible weather.

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    1. Hi Laura, when I made this for the pictues, we actually had most of the batch for dinner! Didn't need a salad or anything else. Thanks for the comment.

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  29. This soup looks amazing! I love Moroccan food - sounds like I should pay close attention to your blog in the next while.

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    1. Hi Beth, it's really good. And you should always pay close attention to my blog! :D Thanks for the comment.

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  30. What a healthy yet flavorful soup it is. With all the flavors mingled in one pot, all you need is a flat bread to soak up all the goodness. Love the color!

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    1. Hi Holly, isn't this nice? A flat bread with this would be outstanding! Thanks for the comment.

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  31. I'm loving Moroccan series! Such a healthy, tasty and flavorful soup...who could ask for more???

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    1. Hi Liz, this really is tasty and quite healthy. Really good stuff! Thanks for the comment.

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  32. I love a good carrot soup. That natural sweetness is so comforting. Plus with those warm, wonderful Moroccan spices, it's an extra special spoonful.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, carrot soup can be wonderful! And I like this one quite a bit. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. I'm not very fond of carrots, so I was looking for a way to make them more appealing. I found it here. I just finished making the soup - used 3 cups of broth for a thicker result. The sour cream gave it the perfect finish.

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    1. Hi Ruth, the spices and lemon in this really add a new dimension - quite a nice flavor, IMO. Glad you liked it! Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Carrot soup sounds wonderful! I am one of those many people trying to eat healthier in 2014, so I think I will give this one a try.

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    1. Hi Dawn, this is really worth making. Loads of flavor, so you will be quite satisfied with it, I think. Thanks for the comment.

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  35. You know, I've made butternut squash but never a carrot soup. I love the sounds of this one, but I'd love to go on that shopping trip to Marrakech first!!

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    1. Hi Barbara, carrot soup is fun, and it responds well to Moroccan spices. Wouldn't that shopping trip to Marrakech be fun?! Thanks for the comment.

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  36. These colors are great! What a tasty looking soup ;)

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    1. Hi Kristi, I do like color. ;-) And this is might tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  37. I love Moroccan flavors; I often use similar spices over cous-cous to accompany Moroccan flavored lamb. I can only imagine how deliciously all those flavors mingle in this soup. Yumminess!

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    1. Hi Julia, Moroccan spices are da bomb, aren't they? I love the flavors of Moroccan dishes! Thanks for the comment.

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  38. Comfort food, and with amazing flavors John! It's too hot to cook soup right now here, but I'm looking forward to all moroccan dishes that you feel like posting!

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    1. Hi Paula, we don't cook as many soups when it's hot out as we do during the chilly months, so I know what you mean. This is a good one to keep in mind, though! Thanks for the comment.

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  39. I'm loving the Moroccan posts! This soup looks so warming and delicious. I haven't made my Moroccan carrot salad in quite a while and you've reminded me of it - thanks! Great idea to turn it into a healthy soup.

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    1. Hi Amy, this really is a delish soup! And Moroccan carrot salad is wonderful stuff, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  40. Wow! I love everything about this soup, John! The combination of flavors sounds fantastic. I'm definitely on board for eating light for the next month or so and this soup fits right into my plan. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. Hi Bill, we should definitely eat light more often! And this soup is so good it doesn't seem "light"! Thanks for the comment.

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  41. mhmm I love all the ingredients listed in the recipe and I have them all except the carrots because my veggie vendor was closed today. But, Will try soon! Cheers

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    1. Hi Helene, this is definitely worth making - I think you'd like it. Thanks for the comment.

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  42. John - I've been exploring Middle Eastern flavors more lately, and I'm finding the spices to be fascinating to use - so different from what we are used to. This soup does look enticing and as you say, on the lighter side for those of us who ought to be taking that into account!

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    1. Hi Donalyn, aren't Middle Eastern spices wonderful? They're mostly all spices we already know, just used differently. Thanks for the comment.

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  43. I've never seen purple carrots.. this looks so yummy.
    I"m seeing so many soup recipes, I need to make some soon!

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    1. Hi Honey, those are actually pieces of purple onion that I used in the soup! It'd be fun to see carrots that color, though. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  44. I had to look twice when I read turn salad into soup. Is that like turning water into wine? GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, turning water into wine is much more fun! Thanks for the comment.

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  45. Replies
    1. Hi CJ, I do like color, but the flavor is even better! Thanks for the comment.

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  46. The soup looks so delicious, waiting for your kefta tajeen. My kids like kofta - we call it that way in Egypt - so much and I am always on the look of new recipes trying to include healthful things in it without them knowing :).. Thanks for sharing your soup.

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    1. Hi Amira, the soup is great. And the kefta (kofta, keefta) tagine (tajine, tajeen) is even better. Don't you love how many different way there are to spell such common things? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  47. great soup! say "moroccan" and i'm always in, but say "healthy" and "light on calories" in January, and i'm REALLY in. It's always nice to have warm, comforting soups you can make that don't weigh you down in the winter months. Sounds delightful.

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    1. Hi Shannon, this is such a flavorful soup! It's great any time of the year, but I really like it in January and February because it's light, warming, and flavorful! Thanks for the comment.

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  48. You have to post more of Moroccan recipes, love this soup!

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    1. Hi Gintare, two more coming up next wee! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  49. I am loving your recent soup postings. Carrot soup is so good for you, too.

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    1. Hi Debra, I love carrot soup! And this version is particularly nice, IMO. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  50. I love carrot soup. I make it quite plain - with just the sweet taste of carrot, but I bet these spices give it a wonderful dimension of flavor. I'll have to give this a go. Happy New Year to you!

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    1. Hi Adri, isn't carrot soup so nice? I sometimes make it quite plain, too - it can be so wonderful that way! Thanks for the comment, and Happy New Year!

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  51. I never thought to put these flavors into a soup. Brilliant! I already make Moroccan roasted carrots. Looks like it's time to puree those bad boys.

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    1. Hi Pamela, it's kinda fun turning one dish into something else entirely! And carrot soup is a winner. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  52. I usually make a carrot soup ever winter, but haven't gotten around to it yet. This looks like a great soup for this year! Love the flavors! I've never used cinnamon and cumin in the same dish (that I can remember anyway). Sound quite interesting! I need to try this! Thanks John!

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    1. Hi MJ, it's a fun soup. A different flavor than most carrot soups. Thanks for the comment.

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  53. What a delicious sounding soup. I love the carrots - healthy, affordable and colorful. A skinny recipe too. Perfect for after the holidays.

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    1. Hi Kristi, this one is really good. And extremely healthy! Always a bonus. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  54. why is it that my body craves the curry, turmeric dishes moreso?
    is it true that body cravings are your bodys' way of telling you you are deficient in a mineral?
    everybody is eating healthy now-till end of january. LOL
    so this post should be popular for a while.

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    1. Hi Dawn, I crave curry all the time! But I'm wild about the flavor, so I think it's that, and not some mineral thing. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  55. This looks like something I could eat. I like cumin more than any other spice and then with the addition of fresh cilantro - I am in heaven. My favourite flavours.

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    1. Hi Suzanne, I love cumin! I think cinnamon (particularly in savory dishes) might actually be my favorite; but it's a close call. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  56. I have been making a lot of soups too. This looks so light and flavorful! Going to try your recipe. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Hi Asmita, it's definitely soup season here! But I tend to make soups throughout the year - I love them! Thanks for the comment.

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  57. This is the prettiest soup I've ever seen. I'm not sure if I want to stare at it or eat it. Both I think.

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    1. Hi Kim, this soup tastes even better than it looks! So you'll definitely want to eat it! Thanks for the comment.

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  58. Hi John, your comfort soup look very appetizing. Lovely colour and love the the combination of the spices. This recipe look really good.

    Best regards.

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    1. Hi Amelia, it really has super flavor! A nice change from your typical carrot soup. Thanks for the comment.

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  59. I really should give this a go as it is carrot season here in Nigeria. It looks so nourishing, and I love the Middle Eastern flavours

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    1. Hi Kitchen Butterfly, this is wonderful soup! And the spices add so much. Thanks for the comment.

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