roasted carrot onion soup with dukkah spice |

I don’t know about you guys, but, for me, the days that follow Thanksgiving are, no contest, the least inspired days, cooking-wise, all year long. It’s not that there’s a lack of food—my parents’ fridge is no doubt still full, today on Tuesday, with bowls and bowls of leftovers from Thursday’s spread, and that meal was just one of the many we took part in all weekend. It’s not that there’s a lack of ideas—I checked into my Google Reader sometime Sunday and tucked away recipes for pumpkin risotto and oaty shortbread and red lentils and spinach in masala sauce.

It’s just that, listen, we are full.

carrots |

Maybe you feel the same way? Between my parents’ place and Tim’s relatives’ house and a favorite restaurant and a new favorite snack (full or not, I’ll take an entire case of those, thankyouverymuch), we ate our weight in holiday meals, and by Sunday night, when we returned to our kitchen, where the refrigerator was the polar opposite of where we’d been, the bearer of a paltry bag of carrots, eggs, butter and one-and-a-half kombuchas from last week, it was all we could do to drink a glass of water and go to sleep.

roasted carrots & onions |

Coming home from a long weekend like this last one means many things—exhaustion, unpacking, laundry and looming work—but also, the minute we pulled up to our driveway, it means mail. After our few days away, the mailbox we share with neighbors was, of course, stuffed, holding junkmail, our Christmas cards (hooray! and, by the way, if you haven’t ordered yours yet, my friend Sarah’s doing a $75 Minted giveaway!) and, best of all, this month’s issue of Bon Appetit.

roasted carrot onion soup with dukkah spice |

So yesterday morning, amidst cleaning and ebay-selling and conference-calling and work, I flipped through the magazine in case, by some miracle, a lunch could be made with what we had on hand. Enter this roasted carrot onion soup with dukkah spice.

roasted carrot & onion soup |

I ended up replacing a pound of the carrots with onion, the fennel seeds with anise and the pistachios with hazelnuts (there was exactly 1/2 cup of hazelnuts in the pantry! would you believe it!) to make it work, but, all in all, this beautiful and spice-filled soup is a perfect testament to making do with what one has—and, made of the ever-affordable carrots and onions, topped with a unique spiced mixture unlike anything I’ve ever tried, combined with the container of vegetable broth I’ve been freezing since my last Tamar-Adler-vegetable-scraps-boiling a few weeks back, this recipe is also a testament to the fact that while some of the best meals we enjoy are the Thanksgiving feasts—others are the simplest, just a bowl of soup and a spoon.

Roasted Carrot Onion Soup with Dukkah Spice
Services four to six

I’ve made carrot soup before, right after my mom bought me my first Le Creuset, but this version, topped with a nutty spice blend, is an entirely different taste experience. When you stir the finely chopped hazelnuts and spices through each bowl, the entire recipe takes on new life.

Note, also, that the original recipe also suggested adding a dollop of yogurt to each bowl (but, as you can imagine, that wasn’t something we had on hand yesterday).

1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more, to taste)
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
1 pound onions, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 quart of vegetable broth

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, toast hazelnuts until fragrant, around five minutes. Let them cool and rub handfuls between your palms, letting the skins fall to the skillet. Separate the toasted, mostly skinned nuts to a plate and set aside. Dump out the skins in the trash and fill the skillet with the sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, anise seeds and black peppercorns. Toast for about one or two minutes, stirring often, until very fragrant. Set aside onto same plate with nuts. Let cool. Transfer mixture to food processor, adding one teaspoon salt. Coarsely grind. (Note: this spice mixture may be made up to a week ahead of time and kept, airtight, at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 375F. Place carrots and onions on rimmed baking sheet, and toss with melted butter, adding a little salt (and pepper, if desired) all over. Roast until vegetables are tender and just beginning to turn golden, about 45 minutes. Let them cool.

Transfer carrots and onions to a blender, and add the quart of broth. (Don’t use a food processor here. Use a blender or a Vitamix. If you do use a food processor, the broth will spill out through the middle and out onto the counter and the floor and all over your hands, just trust me.) Blend until very smooth, about two or three minutes.

Pour the mixture into a stockpot over medium heat, stirring occasionally. You may add water to reach the consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper, but keep in mind the dukkah spice mixture has salt in it, as well.

Divide soup among bowls and top with dukkah spices to taste.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Mallory

    Oh carrot soup is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. And with roasted onions…oh me oh my.
    I love your fluted edge bowls.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Thanks, Mallory! Anthro! Not surprising — I feel like every time someone tells me they like something we have in the house, it’s something from Anthropologie. : )

  2. Rachel

    I agree with you on the being full thing, and feeling uninspired. The hype is over, but we still need to nourish ourselves, right? This soup looks divine. I love the idea of roasting the veggies in the oven first. I will be making many soups and crusty loaves of bread this winter, this will surely be going on my list!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I see many soups in our winter future, too!

  3. Gemma

    I love dukkah – if you dunk a little bread in olive oil and then into dukkah it makes such a delicious snack. We’re planning to make our favourite barley soup this week but the carrot soup definitely needs to be on the list to make soon.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Great tip, Gemma! At your suggestion, we’ve had the leftover spices with olive oil the last two nights. : )

  4. Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn

    I am not at all familiar with Dukkah spice – thanks for the intro! I imagine those toasty hazelnuts and spices make the kitchen smell divine. I kept reminding myself how many veggies I consumed over the course of Thanksgiving and the days (and leftovers) that followed – which kiiind of makes me feel better about the gluttony. I conveniently forget about the cream/butter/bacon fat that those veggies were cooked in.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      haha, I know just what you mean!

  5. Kim

    Love this idea! I recently hosted a blogger who wrote about how to make impressive dishes that look wonderful out of next to nothing (hello, hasselback potatos!). Adding this idea to my repertoire!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, Kim, those are my favorite kind of meals. Great idea!

  6. little kitchie

    totally agree with you! i had an unexpectedly large amount of free time yesterday to cook dinner, but felt so uninspired that we just ordered take out. :( this soup is beautiful! thank you for inspiring! :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Nothing wrong with takeout! : )

  7. sara

    Lovely! This looks like such a great bowl of soup.

  8. Ruthy @ omeletta

    I fell the same.way! It’s like I’ve been so full of food ideas and inspriration coming up to Thanksgiving, and the whole weekend just drained it all out of me. Also, jealous that you had the exact amount of hazelnuts- that never happens to me!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Ha! Honestly, it never happens to me either — that’s what made it such a landmark!

  9. Amy

    Of all the soups I have ever made, I have never made a carrot soup! I think this will have to be remedied in the very near future :) You really did have me at roasted, and then adding dukkah on top of it just swept me off my feet. After my best friend’s wedding this coming weekend, which is sure to be a feast of Roman proportions, I think I might need a simple yet flavourful soup to start next week off :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Hooray! Hope you enjoy!

  10. Kathryn

    I feel exactly that way after Christmas so this recipe will be perfect for us in a couple of weeks. It’s such a beautiful colour too.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, Christmas! It’s hard to believe all the feasting this time of year!

  11. Kasey

    You’re full? Oh come on, Shanna! No, seriously. I feel that way for about a day, and then I’m back in the kitchen, tinkering :) My eyes landed on this recipe, too, and I’m glad to hear it was so delicious. Is it just me or is dukkah becoming an awesome new thing? I love when ethnic flair is elevated in some very simple dishes.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Ha, Kasey, I think my parents’ kitchen definitely had something to do with it: Food for weeks! But still, of course I’m back in the kitchen now. : )

  12. The Healthy Apple

    I miss you guys! Hope you are both well; happy holidays. Sending you huge hugs from NYC.

  13. Laura

    Love dukkah and especially love your hazelnut freestyle! Sounds so delicious, Shanna. These humble, make-do kind of meals are definitely up there with my favourite kitchen undertakings. A bowl of this under a wooly blanket with a scoop of brown rice stirred into the mix would make me the happiest gal ever. So lovely.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      See now, this, what you wrote right here, THIS is what I love about you, Laura. I could not agree more.

  14. Pingback: Winter Minestrone | Food Loves Writing

  15. Yosef - This American Bite

    I discovered dukkah for the first time this week and my mind is running with ways to cook with it. Thanks for adding to my list.

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