Sunday, April 12, 2015

Creamy Carrot Soup with Fennel Pesto for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

This soup comes from Vegetarian Times by way of my "Souper Sundays Inspirations" Pinterest Board. It caught my eye with the bright color and the words fennel pesto. I find it hard to resist pesto on and stirred into soup and love to try variations. This one is made from toasted fennel seeds and fennel fronds and its hit of anise and herby flavor contrasts well with the sweet and creamy carrot soup.

Vegetarian Times says, "Wispy fennel fronds from the tops of fresh fennel bulbs are ground with fennel seeds to make a flavorful pesto."

Carrot Soup with Fennel Pesto 
Adapted from Vegetarian Times, Sept. 2010
(Serves 6

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium leek, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
4 large shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/4 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 Tbsp)
1 cup dry white wine
1 3/4 lb carrots, sliced (4 cups)
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp chopped fennel fronds or fresh dill
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

To make Soup: Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek and shallots, and sauté 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and wine; simmer 5 minutes. Add carrots, broth, and 2 cups water. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 45 minutes, or until carrots are tender.

To make Pesto: Heat fennel seeds in skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes, or until seeds darken, shaking pan frequently. Transfer to bowl, and cool. Place in mortar and pestle, and pound until finely ground. Add fennel fronds, pine nuts, garlic, and salt, and pound to paste. Stir in oil and lemon zest. 

Purée Soup in blender until smooth. Thin with up to 1 cup water, if necessary, to achieve desired consistency. Serve Soup garnished with Pesto.

Notes/Results: A surprisingly creamy carrot soup with no dairy, and with a lot of flavor before the pesto even hits the top. With the shallots, garlic, and leek added to the carrot the sweetness is pronounced but not overpowering, probably due to the dry white wine. Still, when the slight sharpness of the pesto is stirred in, the layers of flavor are further enhanced and particularly appealing. A great way to use up those extra fennel fronds and a rich but not too heavy soup, perfect for spring. I would make this again. 

We have a couple of good friends hanging out in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look. 

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor and Novel Meals is back this week with a classic Potato & Leek Soup inspired by a recent novel she read, The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. Tina quotes the passage in the book that inspired her dish, "I lingered by the window, hoping, imagining the soup – ham, leek and potato – bubbling atop our wood stove, filling our tiny kitchen with its salty film of steam. So vivid was my imagining I could smell the broth…" 

My friend and Cook the Books co-host Simona of briciole brings us a bowl of healthy Spinach Soup and says, "The soup comes together in a matter of minutes and it sparkles in terms of both color and flavor (colore e sapore). It is nutritious, yet light. In between CSA shares, I made it once with a mix of other leafy greens, mostly from my vegetable patch: rainbow chard, Red Russian kale and collard greens. I liked the result (takes a bit longer to cook), but prefer the spinach version."

Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe shares colorful Beetroot, Raspberry & Feta Salad and says, "I think my mum had eaten it in a restaurant.  It is one of those salads that should be tossed about to eat so all the flavours bounce off each other.  However I couldn't resist arranging slices of beetroot and making it a triumph of style over substance.  It looked a mess on the plate but tasted wonderful.  Sweet and salty and a little tart."

Thanks to Tina, Simona and Johanna for joining me this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!    


  1. I'm a big fennel fan so this soup looks great. I swear I could eat soup every single day Thanks so much for joining in

  2. Yummy! That soup with pesto topping looks delicious!

  3. Your carrot soup is so vibrantly orange. That would perk up any table and looks quite creamy.

    Thanks for having me along this week!

  4. Both the soup and the pesto are quite appealing. I am curious about the pesto in particular, since fennel has a decisive flavor, which I like. Nice gathering of recipes, as usual. Thanks!

  5. That carrot soup looks really delicious. And no dairy. Amazing.

  6. That vibrant orange color! How could you resist.

  7. What gorgeous photos of the soup. I rarely say this on blog but I have made that soup and it was great - I occasionally think I really need to make it again. Glad you enjoyed it too and lovely to be part of Souper Sundays


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