roasted carrot coconut ginger soup (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free)

This roasted carrot coconut ginger soup absolutely hollers “fall” doesn’t it?

The bright orange color. The roasted root vegetables. The richness of the coconut milk and comforting heat of the ginger. Then add a sprinkle of spicy sweet pumpkin seeds and this is a meal and the sings. The inspiration for this soup came from similar versions I’ve seen in stores. But my version comes without the added oils that most store-bought varieties include and cutting back on added oils = a healthier you.

There are two extremely important lessons I learned when making the soup: 1) peel the carrots before roasting them. I merely scrubbed them to leave the nutrient-rich skin in tact, but found it gave a bitter overtone to the soup.

 

 

2) Be extremely careful if you puree hot soup in a blender. I overfilled mine to “speed up” the blending step which resulted in a big mess and a couple burns on my skin. Yep. Big time blender fail.

 

 

Also, when I made this soup, I pureed the roasted carrots, onions and ginger with the coconut milk and then put in my stock pot along with the water, seasonings and lentils.

 

However, you could try adding everything to the stock pot, bringing it to a boil, then simmering for at least 30 minutes before blending it. Doing it this way would save you an extra step.

If you want to serve your soup with the spicy sweet pumpkin seeds – something I highly recommend! – you can get that recipe when you sign up for a free (for now) copy of my brand new, Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition, recipe book. Not only does it included the spicy sweet pumpkin seeds, but you’ll get:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive encouragement and tips for perking up your pantry, meal planning and prepping tips (including a suggested 5-day meal plan), my favorite ways of saving money at the grocery store and a behind the scenes peek at my own pantry with my top organization tips. Download your copy here.

 

Print
roasted carrot coconut ginger soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 30 mins
 

A soup that absolutely hollers, "fall." From it's bright orange color, warming heat and rich creaminess, it a perfect recipe to celebrate the season.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 8-10 medium carrots, peeled, cut in half
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 14-oz can full fall coconut milk
  • 1/5-2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup red lentils, well rinsed
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Place carrots cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet (avocado oil recommended) or one lined with parchment paper along with onions and garlic. Roast in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until carrots get a slight char on their cut sides.

  2. Remove from oven and add all ingredients to a stock pot, bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked and carrots are very soft.

  3. Using a blender stick or traditional blender, carefully puree soup until very thick and smooth. Serve immediately or store in fridge for a day or two to let flavors further develop.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:  Serve with spicy sweet pumpkin seeds for a fun twist and added crunch (in place of crackers)

 

 

 

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  • You should be able to find canned full-fat coconut milk in most grocery stores. I buy either the Thai Kitchen brand or Whole Foods 365 coconut milk (which is better since their cans are BPA free!). However, if you can’t find it, try here.
  • I get my red lentils in bulk from Whole Foods, but you also can find them here.

lemon squares (vegan, low sugar, gluten free)

lemon squaresI think one of the hardest things to do when you change the way you eat is to stop indulging in your memory of the foods you used to enjoy. It’s hard to convince the brain that the sugar/dairy/meat-laden dish once inhaled without second thought will now cause your body to launch a revolt.

I have a few food memories that are hard to short circuit. One of them is of the lemon squares my husband whipped up one dreary afternoon – made with extra lemon juice. I almost swoon at the memory.

100_1796Tempting as it is to consider making a conventional batch of lemon squares to satisfy my lemon cravings, the sugar content alone scratches it off the list. You can read a little about my decision to cut back on sugar here.

Thankfully, the plant-based, low sugar lemon curd recipe I posted earlier this month is an excellent substitute for the traditional lemon square filling. It’s complemented by a gluten free, coconut crust, inspired by this recipe. And the icing sugar? It’s actually a dusting of coconut flour.

lemon square collageWhat is your favorite lemon dish? What foods do you have a hard time resisting based on the memory alone?

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the lemon squares recipe

lemon squares (vegan, low sugar, gluten free)

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 15-17 minutes

Serves: 16 squares

Ingredients

    for the Crust & Topping

    • 1 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut
    • 1 c. almond flour
    • ½ tsp. baking soda
    • 1 scoop 100% pure stevia
    • ¼ c. melted coconut oil
    • 1 tsp. coconut nectar or agave
    • ½ tsp. vanilla
    • Coconut flour (for dusting)

    for the Filling

    • ¾ c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • Zest from one organic lemon (optional)
    • ½ c. white grape juice
    • 3 T coconut nectar or agave
    • 2 scoops 100% pure stevia
    • 5 T organic cornstarch
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • 1 T vegan butter
    • Cream from 1 can full fat coconut milk
    • Scant 1/8 tsp turmeric (optional)

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

    Using your hands, mix all ingredients for the macaroon crust together in a bowl.

    Pour crust into a greased 8”x8” glass baking dish and press crust firmly to compact it together.

    Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool.

    While crust is baking, combine juices, zest if using, sweeteners, cornstarch and salt in a sauce pan. Whisk constantly over high heat until mixtures begins to thicken. Don’t worry if it takes on a lumpy texture, step 2 will smooth it out!

    Immediately turn off heat and whisk in butter and coconut cream until smooth.

    Add turmeric for a brighter lemony color.

    Cool slightly, then pour over crust.

    Recipe Notes

    The more you press the crust, the better it will hold together after baking.

    Use a pizza cutter to give a nice clean cut to the squares.

    I love this recipe for the lemon curd because even if your mixture goes lumpy in step one, adding the coconut cream and butter and giving it a good hard whisk seems to correct it back to smooth and silky.

    *It’s best to use organic lemons if you want to add the zest because of the high pesticide content in the rind, however if you’re just using the juice and organic lemons are out of your budget, regular lemons will do.

    Make sure the stevia you use is 100% pure as many stevia products have additives including added sweeteners. I get mine at Trader Joe’s and it comes with its own tiny scoop.

    Organic cornstarch, while on the pricey side is best because of GMOs in nonorganic corn.

    I use Thai Kitchen’s full fat coconut milk because the coconut cream is often already separated from the liquid. However, if the cream hasn’t consolidated on its own (you can tell by giving the can a gentle shake, refrigerate it overnight upside down.

    I found adding a little turmeric enhances the visual appeal of the curd since the white grape juice and coconut nectar or agave produce a beige-colored curd.

    Refrigerate to set, then use a sieve to dust with coconut flour.

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    lemon curd (vegan, reduced sugar)

    lemon curdtextScones are one of the desserts my mum makes if company is coming for lunch or in the afternoon and usually she serves them with jam. But on occasion she would treat us to lemon curd to accompany the scones. Perhaps it is because we had it so rarely that I enjoy it so thoroughly.

    Given the use of eggs and lots of sugar, lemon curd was something I didn’t think I would be eating again after switching to a plant-based diet several years ago and drastically cutting back on my sugar intake (including unrefined sugars) last year.
    100_2352Lemon curd is something I associate with my mum and with England and with special occasions…which makes this a good follow up to Mother’s Day and this post.

    But when my mom made a lemon meringue pie using a plant-based lemon filling, it got me thinking that perhaps it was possible to recreate a plant-based lemon curd. After doing some research and experimenting, I finally arrived at this recipe.

    I was able to reduce the sugar by using white grape juice and adding less than 1/4 cup of liquid sweetener. I usually use coconut nectar since it carries a low glycemic rating, which means the body absorbs it more slowly than other forms of sugar. You can find it for a good price here at Vitacost (I recommend stocking up to save on shipping). The organic cornstarch (find it here at Abe’s Market) and coconut cream help thicken it.

    lemon curdprocess
    left: curd before adding coconut cream & non-dairy butter right: after adding coconut cream & non-dairy butter

    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the lemon curd recipe

    lemon curd (vegan, reduced sugar)

    Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

    Cook Time: 5-7 minutes

    Makes: about 2.5 cups

    Ingredients

    • ¾ c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • Zest from one organic lemon* (optional)
    • ½ c. white grape juice
    • 3 T coconut nectar** or agave
    • 2 scoops 100% pure stevia
    • 5 T organic cornstarch
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • 1 T vegan butter
    • Cream from 1 can full fat coconut milk
    • Scant 1/8 tsp turmeric (optional)

    Instructions

    In a sauce pan, combine juices, zest if using, sweeteners, cornstarch and salt. Whisk constantly over high heat until mixtures begins to thicken. Don’t worry if it takes on a lumpy texture, step 2 will smooth it out!

    Immediately turn off heat and whisk in butter and coconut cream until smooth.

    Add turmeric for a brighter lemony color.

    Cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

    Recipe Notes

    I love this recipe because even if your mixture goes lumpy in step one, adding the coconut cream and butter and giving it a good hard whisk seems to correct it back to smooth and silky.

    *It’s best to use organic lemons if you want to add the zest because of the high pesticide content in the rind, however if you’re just using the juice and organic lemons are out of your budget, regular lemons will do.

    **I like using coconut nectar because of its low glycemic rating. I buy mine through Vitacost – clicking this link gives me credit to their Refer-a-Friend program.

    Make sure the stevia you use is 100% pure as many stevia products have additives including added sweeteners. I get mine at Trader Joe’s and it comes with its own tiny scoop.

    Organic cornstarch, while on the pricey side is best because of GMOs in nonorganic corn. You can get it through Abe’s Market, but natural foods stores also may carry it.

    I use Thai Kitchen’s full fat coconut milk because the coconut cream is often already separated from the liquid. However, if the cream hasn’t consolidated on its own (you can tell by giving the can a gentle shake, refrigerate it overnight upside down.

    I found adding a little turmeric enhances the visual appeal of the curd since the white grape juice and coconut nectar or agave produce a beige-colored curd.

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    dark chocolate pudding-mousse (raw)

    101_0472

    Whenever I had to do a research project for school, I always leaned toward more sober subjects, like “why suntanning is bad for you” or “pollution in the environment.” Why I didn’t think I could combine my fondness for science with something fun like…chocolate…is beyond me.

    My oldest son, on the other hand, gets it. Several times in the past couple of years, he has checked this book out from the library.  The first time was for a research project in second grade and just for fun after that. I like his style.

    reese
    when he dressed as his favorite character – Willy Wonka – for school

    And reading through that book, it suddenly clicked with me why chocolate’s health benefits are  touted…it’s a vegetable! “Eat your veggies” suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.

    Of course, chocolate stops being a health food when paired with sugar and milk. Which is why recipes like this one for Dark Chocolate Pudding-Mousse are the answer to keeping your taste buds and body happy.

    The inspiration for this recipe came from a bonus recipe pack for the Oh She Glows cookbook, but I added a few extra ingredients including the full-fat coconut to further mask the avocado. When you first mix it up, it has the texture of pudding, but will take on the texture of mousse once refrigerated. To keep a more pudding-like consistency, try adding your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk a 1/2 cup at a time (I prefer unsweetened vanilla almond milk).

    pudding mousse photo

    A note of caution: If you are trying to lose weight, eat this recipe sparingly because avocado and full-fat coconut milk are heavy hitters in the fat department, even if it is plant-based fat. On the flip side, if you find yourself shedding too much weight from eating a low-fat, plant-based, carb-light diet, then by all means indulge away.

    And though, spooning it on a plate with sides of mashed potatoes and greens might be carrying it a little too far, I’m all for serving this to my children as an extra treat a breakfast. After all, what better way to start the day than with a cup of fruits and veggies?

    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the dark chocolate pudding mousse recipe

     

    dark chocolate pudding-mousse

     

    Prep Time: less than 10 minutes

    Keywords: food processor raw dessert snack gluten-free low-sodium paleo soy-free sugar-free vegan coconut milk dates chocolate

    Ingredients

    • 1 ripe avocado
    • 1 14.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
    • 2/3 c. date paste
    • 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (try fair trade!)
    • 2 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 scoops 100% pure stevia powder
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 2 T almond butter (optional)
    • unsweetened non-dairy milk as needed

    Instructions

    Peel avocado, remove pit and put in food processor.

    Add date paste, breaking into small pieces to help with the blending.

    Add remaining ingredients (except nondairy milk),

    Blend ingredients until smooth, anywhere from 1-3 minutes.

    If too thick, add nondairy milk 1/4 cup at a time to achieve desired consistency.

    Eat immediately or place in refrigerator for later.

    Recipe Notes

    An avocado that easily yields when gently pressed and is free of bruises works best.

    Be sure to carefully read your stevia package to make sure it is pure as many stevia products are a blend and may include undesired ingredients. I bought my stevia at Trader Joe’s and it came with its own scoop. One hundred percent pure stevia is potent so the scoop is tiny, less than 1/8 tsp.

    I use roasted almond butter in my recipe because that is what I have on hand. If you want to keep it raw, use raw almond butter.

    This recipe thickens as it chills, achieving a mousse-like texture. Adding nondairy milk (I like unsweetened vanilla almond milk best) helps return it to a pudding. This pudding should be consumed within 3 days of eating and must be kept refrigerated.

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    kashmiri curry stir fry

    100_0631

    In December, we watched The Hundred Foot Journey, a story about an Indian family who reestablishes their family restaurant in France after a tragedy in their homeland. It’s also a story about a love for food and the nuances of putting together a dish and how strongly a meal can evoke memories of ones loved and gone. Perhaps, it’s no mystery then of why Jesus had us remember His sacrifice with bread.

    kahmiri sauce

    And though this recipe could not do justice to a traditional Indian curry, I find it rather tasty. I took inspiration from this curry sauce, added my own twist, and poured it over a stir fry for Christmas Eve. (Hint: Naan bread is an excellent companion to this meal, perhaps even essential for sopping up the sauce. My husband used this recipe to make our naan bread, but subbed in vanilla soy yogurt and soy butter so I could eat it.)

    For the stir fry, simply choose a selection of vegetables you like best paired with a side of rice, if desired. For a more authentic taste, I suggest tucking in cauliflower, peas and potatoes.

    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the Kashmiri Curry Sauce Recipe

    kashmiri curry stir fry

    Cook Time: 40 minutes

    Keywords: saute stir-fry entree gluten-free nut-free soy-free vegan paleo sugar-free coconut milk tomatoes Indian

    Ingredients

      for the stir fry

      • selection of fresh vegetables (suggest cauliflower, peas, butternut squash, potatoes, onion, garlic, green beans)
      • coconut oil
      • rice

      for the kashmiri curry sauce

      • 2 small or 1 large onion
      • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
      • 1 14.5-oz. can full fat coconut milk
      • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
      • 2 garlic cloves, minced
      • 2 tsp. cilantro, minced
      • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
      • 3/4 tsp. salt
      • 2 tsp. red chili powder
      • 2 bay leaves
      • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
      • 2 tsp. corriander
      • 1 tsp curry

      Instructions

      for the stir fry

      If using, cook the rice according to package directions.

      Dice onions and chop remaining ingredients (except peas, if using) into bite sized pieces. Rinse.

      Heat oil in a wok or large skillet until it begins to smoke.

      Add onions + veggies requiring a longer cooking time first. Stir fry until just fork tender, then add quick cooking veggies (e.g. peas) and cook until just heated through.

      Spoon rice then stir-fried veggies into bowls and pour sauce over top.

      for the kashmiri curry sauce

      In a large saucepan, saute diced onions in a little water or veggie stock until translucent (about 5 minutes). Then add minced ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute).

      Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes to let flavors combine.

      recipe notes

      I prefer letting each person add their own sauce to suit their preference which is why I add it at the end, but you could try simmering the veggies in the sauce instead of stir frying them if preferred.

      This sauce freezes well. Just be sure to cool it completely before freezing.

      You may finely dice the tomatoes if you prefer small pieces.

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