Carrots are like the ideal party guest: They’re available year-round and everybody likes them—even kids. What’s more, they are easy to store, pack and prepare. They are packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects night vision and boosts cardiovascular health. What’s more, they also give you a dose of vitamins A and K, and some potassium, too.
Carrots: A vegetable for all seasons
In the 1980s, “baby carrots” came on the market and kids’ lunches have never been happier or healthier . No, these are not literally “baby” (they are young carrots cut small), but yes, you are literally getting your kid to eat a carrot, so a win is a win. Carrots can be shaved raw into salads, cut into sticks and dipped, sliced and roasted with cumin seeds and maple syrup…the possibilities are endless. Our favorite carrot recipe for a cold day is this simple carrot soup, spiced up with ginger and a little bit of red pepper flakes. If you don't like spice, simply leave out the pepper flakes; the ginger still gives the soup plenty of zest.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 whole onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1½ pounds carrots (about 10 carrots), sliced into 1-inch pieces
6 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Sour cream for garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley for garnish
In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Add the onion, ginger and red pepper flakes and sauté over medium-low heat until the onion has softened but not browned, about seven minutes. Add the carrots and stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and let simmer until the carrots have softened enough to be pierced with a fork, 25–30 minutes.
Using an immersion blender or stand blender, purée the soup. Once the soup is a smooth consistency, continue cooking briefly over low heat and taste; add salt and pepper as needed. If you’d like more sweetness, add the brown sugar. If the purée seems a little thick, add water as needed.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with a spoonful of sour cream and, if using, a sprinkling of parsley. Serve hot and enjoy!
Emily Wise Miller, a former cookbook editor and food writer, is the web editor at Live Happy.