Raise your hand if you’re craving warm, hearty, nourishing meals during this time of year. Though it’s been a mild winter so far, it’s nice to have a few easy meal options to whip up on those days when the bitter cold, howling wind, and limited daylight hours encourage taking refuge in the kitchen.
The calm rhythm of scrubbing, dicing, and mixing
The spicy aroma of ingredients mulling together on the stove
Getting lost in one’s thoughts while stirring soup
Ladling it into a favourite ceramic bowl before adding a handful of herbs
The joy of sharing a favourite meal that is equal parts delicious, nourishing, and beautiful
One of my intentions for the new year is to spend more time preparing food with others. Last fall I started a monthly Sunday night soup club. The idea is that a group of about a dozen friends gathers at a rotating host’s home the last Sunday of each month. The host cooks a large pot of soup, featuring a seasonal ingredient or two, and guests bring something complementary to share, like a hearty loaf of bread, seedy crackers, fruit, or a bottle of wine. We enjoy a slow meal, generative conservation, and good music, and warm our hearts and bellies for the week to come.
Soup Club has been successful so far, thanks in large part to having access to a bounty of seasonal produce at Karma from which to find inspiration.
Every time I enter Karma during the winter, I head to the produce section to see what beautiful root veg is on offer. I love to use what catches my eye to create simple soups and stews to cook, share, and enjoy during the week (if there are leftovers).
From baskets overflowing with vibrant orange, green, and yellow squash, to jewel-like beets, earthy and grounding, to bright, crunchy multi-coloured carrots, we are lucky to have choices, even in the coldest times of the year.
One root vegetable whose call is sometimes drowned out by more extroverted veggies is the humble parsnip. I like parsnips—their mild but slightly spicy flavour lends itself well to gentle roasting, or a light sauté, perhaps sweetened with a miso-maple syrup glaze. But I often forget about them, drawn to flashier colours and bigger flavours.
After many glances at those parsnips in the corner, I decided it was time to integrate them into a well-loved soup recipe in my household: a zesty root vegetable soup made richer with a bit of peanut butter and coconut milk and enlivened by a generous sprinkle of cilantro and green onions. Bonus: its flavours intensify over time, making this an excellent soup to cook on a Sunday for plenty of weekday leftovers.
Soup Club is a reminder that cooking isn’t just about the end result. It’s also about the process: the slowing down, appreciating the resources and labour that produces ingredients, the conversations that make habitual acts meaningful.
I hope you’ll give this soup a try!
The recipe is inspired by the Minimalist Baker’s Creamy Thai Carrot Soup with Basil. https://minimalistbaker.com/creamy-thai-carrot-soup-with-basil/
Serves 8 medium bowls
What you’ll need:
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2-inch knob fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 2 pounds carrots (scrubbed, peeled, and diced)
- 1 pound parsnips (scrubbed, peeled, and diced)
- 1 pound yellow potatoes (scrubbed, peeled, and diced)
- Pinches Herbamare and pepper, your favourite soup spices (e.g. chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika)
- 6–8 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, crunchy or smooth (get it from Karma’s bulk section!)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- Fresh cilantro
- Chopped green onions
- More coconut milk, to drizzle
- Lime wedges
- Hot sauce (Karma has many options, including Simply Natural sriracha)
How to make it:
1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add 1 Tbsp coconut oil and let melt, then add curry paste.
3. Finely chop onion, garlic, and ginger. Add to pot, stirring and enjoying the lovely aroma.
4. Add diced carrots, parsnips, and potato, and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Season with a Herbamare and pepper, and any other spices you like. I find a bit of cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika are nice.
6. Add the stock and stir gently, making sure the vegetables and spices are integrated.
7. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
8. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Then turn off the heat and move your pot to a pot-holder.
9. Now the fun part! Grab your immersion blender, and blend the soup until smooth (on low speed).
10. Whisk the peanut butter and coconut milk in a bowl, then add to the soup pot and blend to combine (on low speed).
11. Return the pot to the stove, over low heat. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
12. Prepare your toppings (cilantro, green onion, lime wedges, extra coconut milk, hot sauce) in small bowls.
13. Serve immediately!
Submitted by Sarah Bradley