Carrot Orange Cardamom Soup with Citrus & Spice


This is a wonderful soup to make when everyone is catching colds around you. It contains a lot more than the title suggests, such as ginger, sweet potato, golden beets, cashews and turmeric. It has sunshine from oranges, vitamin-boosted with the squeezed juice and zest, and you can put lots of fresh ginger in it if you are crazy for ginger like I am. This recipe could just be the thing to make your healthy menu planning better---- just veggies, oranges, spices, a soup pot and ladle. Because happy-making and cold-proofing requires some citrus and spice.

Its humble beginnings started as a huge bunch of carrots and a few golden beets while going through my refrigerator on a search for soup ingredients. I am at home taking care of my youngest daughter who has a cold and cough. Since my wee little one needs vitamins, I plucked some oranges from the tree. The squirrels stole off with most of the bounty (I am still mystified by the fact that they eat oranges) but there were a few left, so I reached up as far as I could by the height of a chair and gathered as many as I could grab.

The oranges from our tree are very sweet. I blended up a vitamin C abundant smoothie with the fresh orange juice, adding coconut water, banana, a few dates, a spoonful of honeycomb, and a big fizzy vitamin C tablet. (This frothed up and reminded me of an Orange Julius! Remember those?) I gave half of it to my little girl in a glass and drank the other half myself, adding turmeric and ginger to my blended glassful. My daughter is six years old and if there is even a hint of ginger, she's on to it. I wanted her to get a good dose of vitamin C this morning without complaint.

Since I had so many carrots and a few sweet potatoes, soup was definitely in the making. Everyone in my family has had this awful cough and cold--- well, except me. I'm not sure how I escaped the holiday cold my darling man caught, because I kissed him enough, especially around New Year's Eve. But he's down with yet another cold and so is my daughter. I refuse to catch cold and so I'm nourishing myself and everyone else with this soup. If you are in need of a sunny, sweet, spicy and sensuous soup to brighten the day, follow along with my recipe.

Grab your largest pot and get started with the base of your healing soup. I begin most of my soups with leeks and onions (and shallots if you have them) sautéed in olive oil and vegan butter. Even though I love real butter, it's an indulgence I save for spreading upon warm, freshly baked bread, unless the recipe cannot exist without it. (Vegan butter gives it flavor and body without being as decadent, and Earth Balance is my vegan butter of choice.) After the leeks, onion, and shallot have sautéed awhile, a splash of marsala, then oven roasted carrots and beets added in, two sweet potatoes, baked and mashed, a handful of cashews, veggie broth, dry roasted spices in a cast iron pan, fresh squeezed orange juice, and the soup is on the way to cheering up your mood and immunity.

Dry toasting spices is also a great way to flavor your soup. I learned this from a chef friend who is Indian--- she includes her spice preparing methods and culinary secrets in her cookbook. I used dry toasted and ground green cardamom pods to flavor this soup because I love cardamom and thought it complimented the carrots beautifully. Oranges bring life to this pot as well, so it all came together nicely in one sunny pot.

{Note: this soup is a purée. Get out your high speed blender and make this recipe.}

Carrot Orange Cardamom Soup with Citrus & Spice


  • 2 sweet potatoes, baked and mashed

  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped

  • 2 leeks, whites only, chopped

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter (optional)

  • 1/2 cup Marsala

  • 3 small golden beets, peeled and chopped

  • 1 lb carrots, washed, peeled and chopped

  • 1 whole ginger root, chopped

  • 1/4 cup squeezed orange juice

  • 1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon whole cardamom, dry toasted and ground

  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander, dry toasted and ground

  • 1 tablespoon sweet curry powder: turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom

  • 1 cup raw cashews

  • 4 tsp sea salt

Garnish with fruity olive oil, orange juice, zest and spices

Preheat the oven to 375F and wash the sweet potatoes, rub them with olive oil, then place them on a baking sheet and roast them until done, about 45 minutes. Test with a fork. You will add this to the pot after the leeks and onions cook down.

Begin your soup with a generous pour of olive oil coating the entire bottom of the large soup pot and add the leeks and onion. Sauté until soft and golden for about 20 minutes, stirring them often. After about 15 minutes, add the vegan butter and a splash of Marsala. I tend to add the vegan butter then wait, add a splash of Marsala, stir. Cook the leeks and onions until jammy.

While the leeks and onion are sautéed in olive oil over medium-low heat, peel the carrots and beets. Chop them roughly, no need for beauty, as we are blending this soup. Just chop them and get them roasting.

Put the all of the chopped carrots and beets into a large bowl, toss with olive oil and some Marsala, sprinkle them with sea salt and roast in the oven for about 30-45 minutes along with the sweet potatoes.

Toast the spices. I used a small cast iron pan and toasted the cardamom, coriander and some ajwain as well. I went a little more with cardamom than any other spice. It takes just a few minutes to toast, then turn off the flame and let sit in the hot pan awhile. Grind your spices in a coffee grinder. 

Once the leeks and onions are the consistency of a chunky marmalade, add some broth to the pot. Add the sweet potatoes. Combine and check the carrots and beets. Once the carrots and beets are well roasted and sizzling, safely (wear your oven mitts!) pour the sheet pan full of veggies into the pot. Cover the carrots and beets with the remaining broth and turn on the burner to medium for about 5-10 minutes until simmering. Add the ginger. Do not cook this soup too much at this point, especially if you are preparing to blend it. The idea is to warm it with the ginger to release the healing properties of the root, but not too much as to cook it through. We want it warmed, not cooked. Turn off the flame and allow the soup to settle. Add the cashews and spices.

Prepare your blender. I use a Vitamix and it's been my favorite for over 6 years now. I can pour hot soup into it, so I don't worry about that. Please trust me when I say the soup needs to be well blended. I did two rounds of blending at the highest speed before I got this soup to velvety. Also, make sure you have extra broth for thinning the soup. The cashews give it a thick creamy body and need to be well blended before seasoning and serving. 

Blend your soup. It may require several batches of blending--- adding the blended soup into a clean pot, transferring the chunky unblended soup mixture into the blender, pouring the blended soup batch into the puréed pot, until all of the soup is done.

Place the completely puréed soup on the burner of your stove. Prepare your array of spices for seasoning, such as curry spices, dry toasted cardamom and coriander, also have your orange juice ready for tasting, and simmer on a medium to low flame as you add orange juice, spices and sea salt to taste. Correct the seasoning with more sea salt, orange juice, and a little more spice if needed. You can also add some fruity olive oil or butter to give it a splendid finish.

Serve the soup with a drizzle of olive oil on top and a pinch of ground cardamom scattered upon the soup.

Garnish with spice and orange zest.