Soup So Easy You (Almost) Don’t Know You’re Cooking

Roasted Carrot Soup with Ginger, Lentils, and Dukkah

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

The resurgence of the Covid-19 virus has kept many people in the kitchen cooking more than they choose. As a friend said last week, “I am so sick of cooking!”

Even fanatical cooks like myself need a break from the kitchen on occasion, but local restaurants are closed for “dining in,” and take-out is just not the same. That’s when I turn to recipes like this soup, where the prep is so easy you (almost) don’t know you’re cooking.   

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Grab a pound of carrots from your crisper drawer and transform them into winter’s classic comfort food, dialed up with fresh ginger, turmeric and red lentils. Make is special with a topping of Dukkah, a toasted nut, spice and seed mixture popular in the Middle East, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

There’s a lot of goodness in carrots. They are rich in carotenoids, red, orange and yellow pigments which benefit health in several ways. Diets rich in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers (3). Carrots have mostly beta carotene, and some alpha carotene, both of which the body converts to vitamin A (1). One carrot supplies 200% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, best known for its critical role in eye health but also key to cell growth and the formation of organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys (2).

Other carotenoids in carrots, lutein and zeaxanthin, support optimal eye function, too. They absorb blue light in the macula of the eye and may help slow age-related macular degeneration (3).

The best way to get carotenoids is from food such as carrots, other red, orange and yellow foods and dark leafy greens. Supplements of beta-carotene have been shown to increase the risk the of cancer (3,4). Plus, food offers dietary fiber and other nutrients and they seem to work synergistically to protect health.

Orange carrots are best for this soup but gorgeous purple carrots, have health promoting anthocyanin pigments that work as antioxidants and fend off chronic diseases, too.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Cooking makes some foods more nutritious (3). Preparing and cooking carrots release carotenoids from the food matrix and make them more available to the body. Adding healthy fat helps, too. Oil in the recipe, and in the nuts and seeds in the Dukkah topping, help the body absorb carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins like the A and K.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Roasted Carrot Soup with Ginger, Lentils and Dukkah

Red lentils cook quickly into a puree that adds dietary fiber and protein to this soup. Use water, so the carrot flavor shines, or use your favorite broth. Dukkah is a condiment made with toasted nuts, spices and seasonings that originated in Egypt.

Makes 4 servings (about 5 cups)

1 pound orange carrots, scrubbed or peeled

½ medium yellow onion

2 tablespoons neutral-tasting vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

½ cup red lentils

4-5 cups water, vegetable or chicken broth, divided

1 clove garlic

4-5 thin, quarter-size slices of peeled, fresh ginger

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

To Serve (optional):

Unflavored Greek yogurt or cashew cream

Dukkah, recipe follows

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut each carrot in half (or quarters if very thick), lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 2-inch, similarly sized pieces. Place carrots on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined large baking sheet. Place onion on one end of the sheet. Brush carrots and onion with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, checking onion after 15 minutes and removing to a plate if tender before carrots; continue to roast carrots until tender. Remove from oven and cool. While veggies roast, cook lentils (Step 4).
  4. In a large saucepan, combine lentils, 1 ½ cups broth and garlic. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently, with lid slightly ajar, for 8-10 minutes, until very tender. Remove from heat and cool in liquid.
  5. Once vegetables and lentil mixture have cooled to room temperature, place roasted carrots and onion, lentils and cooking liquid in blender container. Add ginger and turmeric. Blend until smooth. Add enough remaining water or broth to achieve the consistency you like.  Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Return to saucepan and reheat to serve. If desired, top with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of Dukkah.
Photo by Lorelle Del Matto


3 tablespoons flax, chia or hemp seed (or a combination)

1 tablespoon sesame seed

2 teaspoons coriander seed

2 teaspoons cumin seed

1 teaspoon fennel seed

½ cup chopped, roasted pistachios, pumpkin seeds, or almonds

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste

In a small skillet combine flax, sesame, coriander, cumin and fennel seed.   Place over medium-low heat and toast, stirring often, for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Cool. Coarsely grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Place in a small jar. Stir in pistachios, pepper and salt. Keep refrigerated or frozen. Makes about 1 cup.

Nutrients Per Serving: (with water and 1/2 teaspoon salt ) Calories 210; Total Fat 8 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Saturated Fat 1 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 370 mg; Total Carbohydrate 29 g; Dietary Fiber 12 g (39% DV); Protein 8 g; Vitamin D 0% DV; Calcium 6% DV; Iron 10% DV; Potassium 15% DV.

1 Tbsp Dukkah adds 40 calories, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 g protein, 3 g fat.


  1. Carrots: A Beta Carotene Wonder by Berkeley Wellness.
  2. Vitamin A Health Professional Fact Sheet
  3. α-Carotene, β-Carotene, β-Cryptoxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin. Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Center Micronutrient Information Center.
  4. Carrots: Rich Supply of Carotenoids. American Institute for Cancer Research.

© Lorelle Del Matto 2020

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.


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