I’m all about creative ways to use leftovers. I had some roasted carrots leftover from Sunday’s dinner (which was a big hit with my mom – she loved everything, especially the Scalloped Potato Stacks).
There wasn’t enough carrots to make soup for all of us, so I made my mom and Gary Cheesy Butternut Squash and Gnocchi Soup (again from leftovers and I’ll blog about that soon). For me, I made me this Roasted Carrot Chimichurri and Pumpkin Seed Soup.
Carrots! This sweet and crunchy vegetable occupies room in my fridge all year long. I love carrots because they are a nutrient-rich root vegetable that tastes great and is extremely versatile. Carrots are delicious raw or cooked and can be used in a variety of different recipes.
Carrots are reported to have potent medicinal properties. Some of these include the ability to cleanse the intestines, remineralize the body, as well as purifying and revitalizing the blood.
Carrots are best known for being high in the antioxidant beta-carotene but they also are a great source of phytochemicals, B vitamins, vitamins C, K, D, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, water, and fiber. Our bodies convert beta-carotene into vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for helping strengthen our immune system and promote healthy skin, cells, and vision.
Carrots come in a variety of colors with different health properties for each color. Many people are used to just enjoying the popular orange carrot but there are many other varieties of carrots that you should add into your diet because they each have unique health properties and flavor. You can find many of the more exotic varieties of carrots at your local farmers’ markets. Trader Joe’s even carries the organic colorful carrots. They are definitely worth seeking out.
Orange Carrots are a great source of both alpha-carotene and beta-carotene which are phytochemicals that function as antioxidants. Our bodies convert both alpha-carotene and beta-carotene into vitamin, well-being, and immunity. Orange carrots originate from Europe and the Middle East.
Yellow Carrots contain xanthophylls, a phytochemical and carotenoid that are responsible for the yellow pigment. Lutein is one of the most commonly known xanthophylls and it’s found in yellow carrots. Xanthophylls function similar to beta-carotene, and help protect against macular degeneration and may help prevent some cancers. This pigment may also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Yellow carrots originate from the Middle East.
Purple Carrots (my personal favorite – I just love how they look) contain more beta-carotene than their orange cousins. The purple pigment comes from anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are phytochemicals which act as powerful antioxidants which help protect the body against free radical damage along with repairing collagen. Anthocyanins also help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting and strengthening blood vessels and they have good anti-inflammatory properties. Purple carrots originate from Turkey, the Middle East, and Far East.
Now that you know some of the health benefits of carrots, let’s get on to how to prepare them. Roasting carrots brings out their sweet taste. I like to roast them until they are nicely caramelized.
To the carrots we are adding sauted onions. Besides the vigor added from the chimichurri, the richness of this soup comes from the milk and pumpkin seeds which I use both ground in the soup and the garnish.
Roasted Carrot Chimichurri and Pumpkin Seed Soup
Yields 1 serving
4 roasted carrots (see this recipe for directions or roasting)
1 Tablespoon chimichurri sauce (see this recipe for directions on making)
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup milk (or half and half)
1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Additional salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper and cook until beginning to brown, about 8 – 10 minutes.
In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients, except 1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds. Puree until smooth.
Reheat the soup slowly in a heavy bottomed pot.
Serve soup garnished with pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of chimichurri, if desired.