Good Mood Food: Creamy Carrot Soup with Red Curry

This simple creamy carrot soup with red curry is packed with deep flavor and spice. Enjoy on it's own as an appetizer or garnished with avocado and quinoa for a balanced meal. 

Creamy carrot coconut soup with red curry , garnished with a scoop of quinoa, avocado and toasted almonds.
Creamy carrot coconut soup with red curry , garnished with a scoop of quinoa, avocado and toasted almonds.

When I was in second grade, I received some devastating news.

I learned I needed glasses.

Yes, I was to be a four eyes, a pretty difficult pill to swallow for the new kid who was already pretty, well, awkward. But don't worry guys, I had a plan. Because rumor had it carrots give you perfect vision. So, I basically went a carrot bender.

A simple pureed soup of carrots, tomatoes, and coconut milk, flavored with red curry and turmeric
A simple pureed soup of carrots, tomatoes, and coconut milk, flavored with red curry and turmeric

As an FYI for anyone thinking of doing the same, apparently no amount of carrots can cure a -10.5 prescription. So while I'm still blind as a bat without my contacts, I can thank carrots for making me the genius I am today (kidding!). Or at least, maybe helping me score a few points higher on my spelling test! That's because carrots are packed with nutrients that nourish the brain.

Most notably, 1 cup of carrots contains over 100% daily needs of vitamin A. The hippocampus, part of the brain that's responsible for creating new brain cells (neurogenesis), is loaded with receptors for vitamin A. There's good evidence that vitamin A plays a big role in neurogenesis, which some think plays a preventative role in depression. Studies have linked lower levels of carotenoids, the precursor to vitamin A, with depression.

Carrots are also a rich source of a compound called luteolin, a flavonoid, which has been shown to prevent age related cognitive decline and inflammation in the brain. The same compound has been studied for anti-cancer benefits as well.

A bowl of creamy carrot coconut soup with quinoa and avocado
A bowl of creamy carrot coconut soup with quinoa and avocado

Because vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, it's best to enjoy carrots with fat. Preferably fats that also have mood boosting benefits of their own, like extra virgin olive oil, avocado and coconut milk! This rich and creamy soup uses all three for flavor and creamy, sumptuous texture. Serve it with a scoop of protein and fiber rich quinoa for a well rounded meal.

Creamy Carrot Coconut Soup with Red Curry

Serves: About 6

Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 10 medium carrots, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 avocado, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • Chopped almonds, toasted
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add curry paste and turmeric and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add enough water to cover, salt and black pepper, cover and let simmer 15-20 minutes until carrots are tender.
  2. Using an immersion blender, carefully puree soup. Stir in coconut milk and adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Divide between bowls. Garnish with a scoop of cooked quinoa, avocado slices, almonds, cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil.

More recipes featuring carrots: 

Gluten Free Carrot Pecan Muffins
Gluten Free Carrot Pecan Muffins
Fermented Carrot Pickles
Fermented Carrot Pickles
Chipotle Roasted Carrots with Orange
Chipotle Roasted Carrots with Orange