Saffron Carrot Soup

I like soups year round, but I make them less in the summer, when my apartment heats up and there are so many more fruits and vegetables at the grocery store.  Mentally, I’m already in mid-summer – it’s a little bewildering that the trees have not caught up with me and swapped their buds for legitimate leaves.  Toronto’s being stubborn.  I can appreciate that.  I compromise by making things like this saffron carrot soup, which can be served hot or cold, depending on the weather and your mood.

Next time I make this soup, I might strain it through a sieve before serving & discard the remaining pulp.  That’s extra legwork for fewer nutrients, but the taste profile of the soup is so light, it deserves a silky texture to match.  I’ll also dice my carrots significantly smaller than the 1/4-inch coins I sliced up for this batch – they took ages to become tender, and half- or quarter-moon slices would have sped up the process considerably.  Serve it with a green salad & buttered toast to bulk it up while keeping the soup centre stage.

Saffron Carrot Soup

adapted from The World of Spice


1 1/4 lb carrots, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp light soy sauce
30 strands of saffron (give or take)
salt & pepper
2/3 cup soy milk
garnish: chopped parsley, coriander leaves, mint or chives


1.  In a large non-stick frying pan, cook the carrots, onion, leek & celery over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  The vegetables will start to sweat and soften.

2.  Add stock & soy sauce.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender (15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the carrots).

3.  Place the saffron in a small bowl.  Pour a few tbsp of liquid from the soup overtop.  Use the back of a spoon to press the saffron again the bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to steep.  Pour saffron-stock back into the soup.

4.  Remove the pan from heat.  Transfer in batches into a blender to puree, or, if you’re using an immersion blender, transfer to a medium soup pot to blend.  Allow the soup to cool; add soy milk and season to taste.

5.  Serve hot or chilled; garnish with herbs if desired.

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