We’ve never served a soup course at our Thanksgiving, but I love the idea for quainter family gatherings. When your table has grown to include over forty heads, you don’t mess with the finer logistics of spoons and bowls. That said, this roasted carrot soup recipe would have been the perfect thing to thaw the unfortunate “climate” of our holiday meal a few years ago.
Thanksgiving has historically been the holiday that belonged to our branch of the family. That might sound like we carried more than our fair share. But when you’re Jewish, there’s a lot of hosting that happens throughout the year. And we never did any of it until November.
Every year, as the family continued to procreate, the issue of where to put everyone became increasingly tense. The guest list was beginning to outgrow our humble accommodations. So a few years ago, my dad decided to ditch the usual system, which involved one table stretched from the mouth of the kitchen all the way to the other end of the house, and move Thanksgiving dinner to our driveway.
Rational voices (the ladies) protested. And in the midst of mashing fifteen pounds of potatoes, we watched in horror from the kitchen window as a tent was erected, tables arranged on the gravel where the Subaru usually sat.
That was the first year all forty of us didn’t enjoy Thanksgiving around one table. As soon as each shivering person helped themselves to the cold food, they wolfed it down and then went inside to sit by the heater. It was also the year we finally lost our Thanksgiving hosting privileges.
Anyhow, my sadness over this fiasco has faded away over the years. And now I’ve come to love the holiday even more as an evening that’s not associated with several cooking meltdowns and a lot of logistical stress. But this year I was happy to put on my hosting hat again a little early for a Friendsgiving potluck celebration at Maman.
Since I basically make the same dish every year (stuffing) for my family’s dinner, I wanted to use the opportunity to indulge in something I’d never be able to bring to my own Thanksgiving table. And that’s soup.
This vegan roasted carrot soup with leeks was inspired by a potage I used to make, which uses potatoes instead of dairy to create a creamy texture. You simply bake the veggies until caramelized, then toss them in a pot with some peeled russets and simmer until fragrant and tender. I put a little Asian spin on it this time with some miso paste whisked in at the last minute and a Gomaso black sesame garnish. I love the idea of serving this as a starter, in whatever mismatched little prep bowls or tea cups you have around the house.
Ever since digestion month, I’ve been on a total probiotic binge. And as a result, I’ve totally fallen in love with South River organic miso paste. Make sure to add it off the heat so you don’t kill all that good bacteria. Because lord knows our guts need a little help preparing for the carby onslaught that follows the soup course.
What’s on the menu on your holiday table this year? Will a soup be involved? Will this soup be involved?!? Let me know in the comments section!
Wishing you all a very tasty Turkey Day and, as always, I’m endlessly thankful for you.
p.s. More last minute gluten-free Thanksgiving ideas here!
Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup with Miso and Black Sesame
- 1 pound carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large leek white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 medium sweet onion halved and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium russet potato about 1 pound, peeled and diced
- 8 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup yellow miso paste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon black sesame or Gomaso, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss the carrots, leek, onion, olive oil and salt until combined. Arrange in an even layer and roast in the oven until lightly browned and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables to a large stockpot along with the potato and water (or stock). Bring to a boil; turn the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, add the miso and lemon juice.
Puree using a stand or immersion blender until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary. (Depending on how salty your miso paste is, you might need more).
Transfer the soup to bowls or bugs and garnish with the black sesame seeds, pepitas or cilantro, if using.