Carrot Leek Soup with Fresh Thyme

Carrot Leek Soup

I’d like to start my vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes with one of my favorite fall dishes: carrot leek soup. It’s so fresh, bright and just hits the spot. With all the heavy favorites on the Thanksgiving table, this soup is a wonderful light beginning. Plus, the flavors intensify by the next day, so you can easily make this dish ahead of time, and have one less thing to think about on the big day.

I have searched for a vegetable bullion, stock or broth that I like that doesn’t have a ton of hydrogenated oils and MSG, to no avail. As a gourmet foodie, I sheepishly admit that I’ve also never made my own veggie stock. So, I just use lots of aromatic veggies and herbs, and water. I leave the choice up to you, but for ease of writing, in the recipe I just write “water”.

One of the keys to making this soup more flavorful, is to sauté the carrots and leeks. If you just drop it all in the water without the caramelization in the beginning, you end up with something more like carrot juice. Fine for what it is, but it’s not good soup. (This is really just an approximation. Don’t worry if your yam is less than two cups, or if your leeks are three cups.  It’s just a jumping off point for you to have fun with.) You can also change the flavors a bit and use fresh ginger and some coconut milk in place of some of the water for an Asian twist.  The thyme is just a more classic Thanksgiving herb.  But, please incorporate as much organic/local/sustainable foods into your holiday dishes as you can. Your body, and the planet, will have something more to be thankful for.

Carrot Leek Soup with Fresh Thyme

2 C. chopped leeks
(about 1 med. leek)
4 C. chopped carrots
(about 7 med. carrots)
2 C. chopped, peeled yams
(about 1 large yam)
1 celery stalk
, chopped
5 C. filtered water
2 heaping Tbs. minced fresh thyme leaves
(strip the leaves off the stem, then mince them)
salt and black pepper

Boil water in kettle (saves you about 5 minutes of waiting for the soup to come to temperature later).
Sauté leeks and carrots about 10 minutes, until they are both a bit caramelized and the leeks are reduced in size.
Add the hot water, yams, celery, salt and pepper, and simmer about 20 minutes. About halfway through, add half of the thyme. When the carrots and yams are soft, turn off the heat and add the rest of the fresh thyme. Because I don’t like transferring burning hot liquids into and out of the blender, I use a stick blender. Very convenient, and no one gets hurt in the process. Just be sure to fully immerse the stick blender, otherwise you’ll have an orange kitchen. Finish with some freshly ground black pepper.

SERVES: about 4-6 appetizer portions

18 thoughts on “Carrot Leek Soup with Fresh Thyme”

  1. Rajitha – Yay, I love seeing a recipe that I have all the ingredients for. Do let me know your thoughts. I think it gets even better the next day. Thanks for your comment.

    Ellen – Thanks! Yum, tomato bisque. Fall is such a wonderful time for soups. Especially with some of the summer veggies still hanging around.

    Erin – Great! Let me know if you do. Bon Appetit!

  2. Bri, I ‘ve made carrot soup before , not with leeks though. I have a gingered carrot-parsnip soup on my blog if you are interested. 🙂

  3. Hey Bri! Yummy looking soup and with thyme. Delicious. But, of course, you know I have to make mine raw. 😉 Today, I’m sitting at a cafe again, trying to get work done. How did we manage without the Internet? All the best to you and yours!

  4. TBC – Yeah, carrots and leeks go really well together. So do ginger and carrot. I’m not a huge fan of parsnips though. I’m willing to give them another try, but when I’ve used them in soups before, I ended up eating around them. 🙂

    Ingrid – The flavors go so well together. I’m sure it would still work out raw. Though I love the warming effect of a good bowl of hot soup, myself. Life was definitely very different before the internet. Take care, and thanks for your comment!

  5. This sounds really really great! I’ve definitely been in a soup mood lately and the flavor combination in this sounds like something I would really like! Will try it out on my sister and brother-in-law this week!

  6. Nicole – Thanks! Soup is just so perfect this time of year, and is great for guests since you can gussy it up, or keep it rustic, and it can easily be scaled up or down. Let me know what you think.

  7. Gigi – No…thank you 🙂 I served a very similar soup a couple X-mases ago and my brother in law flipped. It’s a very simple tasty way to get those veggies.

  8. Just wanted to let you know that Imagine soups puts out a nice veggie stock that is organic,vegetarian, and msg-free!

  9. I made this today with parsnips instead of yams, OUTSTANDING. My kids did all the cutting. Dip a crusty bread in it! YUMMY.

  10. Hmmm…Nancy ~ Sounds like a good idea. I’ve hardly cooked with parsnips at all. (My sis cooks those more unusual root veggies more than I do.) Since it’s going to be hearty soup weather for several more months, I’ll give your idea a try. Appreciate the suggestion!

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