Today I'm sharing this carrot and orange soup is packed with goodness, full of flavour and fun to make. You can thicken or thin it to your preference, and it's happy in the freezer.
This is an Organix recipe, except their version calls for blood oranges, which are almost out of season right now, so we opted for standard oranges and it was still great.
Here's how to make this tasty carrot and orange soup with red lentils...
- 500g (1.1 lbs) carrots
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 150g (5.29 oz) red lentils
- 1 litre water
- Juice and zest of 2 blood oranges
- Big handful of chopped fresh coriander leaf
- Crunch of black pepper
Scrub the carrots, top and tail and slice in half lengthwise, or into quarters if large. You can peel the carrots, but if they are organic there is no need, as many of the valuable nutrients sit just under the skin.
Pop the carrots into a roasting tin with 1 tbsp of coconut or olive oil, and roast at around 200C/400F/180C fan for approximately 30 minutes until nicely roasted and beginning to caramelise.
Meanwhile, finely chop the shallots and crush the cumin and coriander seeds and pop in a saucepan with the remaining oil. Add the turmeric and sauté over a medium/low heat for about 10 minutes until the shallots are soft and the spices fragrant. Crush and add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Rinse the lentils then add them to the pot and stir well for a couple of minutes.
Pour over enough of the water to cover everything and cover with a lid for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little more water if it becomes dry. Simply add more water if you desire a thinner soup, less if you want more of a puree.
When the lentils are tender and a little mushy, add the roasted carrots to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes, again adding extra water if very dry.
Remove from the heat and add the blood orange zest and juice.
Blend until smooth, adding extra water as necessary.
Serve your carrot and orange soup with optional fresh chopped coriander, a crunch of black pepper and a hunk of fresh bread. (I added salt to mine too, to bring out the flavour but the kids didn't need it.)
Healthy family food
So while you're here and we're talking healthy food, let's talk some more. I get asked a lot about my family food ethos, so here goes...
Home cooking and eating well as a family are big passions of mine, as you probably guessed. I build fresh vegetables and fruit into as many meals as possible, and a good proportion of our family meals are meat-free, with nutritious alternatives such as grains and pulses.
Do you think it's a no no to stray from healthy eating?
Short answer: no. Longer answer: as parents, we know how important it is to ensure kids enjoy a nutritious, varied diet, so that they'll develop a love of good, healthy food, and an urge to experiment with new flavours, textures and dishes. But to me, that also means the occasional less healthy option - a cupcake at the bookshop, a slice of pizza after a day at the park, a milkshake at the bowling alley. Not every day, not every meal, not every outing, but never? Where's the fun in that. I want my kids to be able to enjoy a cake without guilt, but also to be able to walk straight past one, because they know it's not an everyday food.
Do you use organic ingredients in your recipes?
As much as possible. I will generally buy organic wherever it’s available and cost-effective to do so.
Food that’s been grown more naturally, with fewer artificial pesticides and in healthy soil is obviously the kind of food we all want our families to eat. Sometimes, some items are just too pricey, but where it's a difference of a few pence, it's a no brainer.
What's all this about seasonal eating? Should I care?
Ok, so eating produce that's 'in season' essentially means eating it when it's at the peak of its supply locally. That means it's generally a little cheaper because they're plenty of it, it's bearing fewer 'food miles' because it's ripe and available locally, and because it's travelled a shorter distance it's also at its peak in terms of flavour, freshness and nutrient content. Win win win.
I'm not saying I never eat a fruit or veg out of season. I do, if the price is right and it serves the recipe I'm trying to make, but eating seasonally for the most part can be as simple as running your eye over Eat the Seasons when you're planning the week's meals or grocery shop. Easy.
I don't know how you do it...
Shhhh! We should really stop saying that to each other. We're all winging it, right?
Who do you think you are?
Same answer: I'm just another mum. Trying my best, trying to stay educated, trying to make the best choices for my kids, sleeping a little too little and worrying a little too much. Learning to be ok with not being perfect (or anywhere close).
That's my parenting ethos, so it's my family food ethos too. The hectic pace of family life can wreak havoc on even the best-laid plans. Work, parenting, home-life, and no doubt a handful of other responsibilities can make it tough to find the time to buy, cook and enjoy healthy food.
We all let things slide. There are days when convenience or the path of least resistance is the path we choose, and that’s fine. As my older brother (a dad of two) says when he's teasing me, "Everything in moderation, even moderation". Yeah, I know, that makes no sense, but I do love it as a catchphrase. Let's allow a little blurring of the edges. Try not to call the odd treat, cheat or slip a fail. Let's call it life. Above all, let's not get all judgey about food or parenting. It's supposed to be fun, people!
So hang on! What's No Junk all about?
Well after reading this research commissioned by Organix, here's how I see it. And it's NOT about a war on cake.
Picture this. We've got a sugary, fatty, salty cake at this end of the spectrum *holds out left arm, wiggles fingers* and our super healthy, nothing-at-all-bad-in-it soup over here at the other end of the spectrum *holds out right arm, wiggles fingers*. With me so far?
The problem lies with those things that sit in the middle or up towards the cake end, but seem like they belong closer to the homemade carrot and orange soup.
Often, these foods will be marketed as containing only ‘natural’ or ‘real’ ingredients, when in fact the food is still highly processed. For example, a 'natural' cereal bar might be sweetened so intensely with fruit sugar so that it could rival a can of coke.
These are the things that seem to innocuous we allow them into our family's diets every single day, but that cumulatively account for a whole lot of junk. Getting savvy about hidden junk. That is what No Junk is all about.
If you'd like to join likeminded mums on a journey to encourage and support a love of healthy eating in our kids, then why not join me on the Organix #NoJunkJourney?
Print this carrot and orange soup recipe
Yummy, huh? Here's that carrot and orange soup recipe again in printable form.
Orange, red lentil and roast carrot soup
- 500 g (1.1 lb) carrots scrubbed, topped and tailed, and sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 tsp coriander seeds crushed
- 1 tsp cumin seeds crushed
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 shallots finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 150 g (5.3 oz) red lentils
- 1 litre water
- 2 blood oranges juice and zest
- 10 g (0.4 oz) fresh coriander (cilantro) chopped
- 1 pinch black pepper
- Pop the carrots into a roasting tin with 1 tbsp of coconut or olive oil, and roast at around 200C/400F/180C fan for approximately 30 minutes until nicely roasted and beginning to caramelise.
- Meanwhile, pop the shallots, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a saucepan with the remaining oil. Add the turmeric and sauté over a medium/low heat for about 10 minutes until the shallots are soft and the spices fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Rinse the lentils then add them to the pot and stir well for a couple of minutes.
- Pour over enough of the water to cover everything and cover with a lid for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little more water if it becomes dry. Simply add more water if you desire a thinner soup, less if you want more of a puree.
- When the lentils are tender and a little mushy, add the roasted carrots to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes, again adding extra water if very dry.
- Remove from the heat and add the blood orange zest and juice.
- Blend until smooth, adding extra water as necessary.
- Serve with fresh chopped coriander, a crunch of black pepper and a hunk of fresh bread (optional for little ones!).
This is a commissioned post for Organix.
Pin this carrot soup recipe
More great recipes to try
If you enjoyed this carrot and orange soup, why not browse my soup recipes for more inspiration?
Here are a few to tempt you!
Baking with kids - a FREE eBook!
These easy recipes, fun activities and creative challenges are sure to keep the kids entertained!