In case there was any confusion, let me make one (sad) thing clear: from late December to mid-March, 5 out of 7 days of the week I am eating some form of soup. Whether it’s 4 degrees out or 54 (like it was on Monday — can it please stay that way forever?), I will invariably be packing soup for lunch, fingers crossed that nothing spills on my way to the office.
Why take this risk day in and day out, for months on end? Because soup is awesome. It is warming without being excessively heavy, and if you eschew the sodium-laden/cream-heavy versions, it can be extremely healthy without feeling too much like “diet food” (cabbage soup aside). Plus, they’re infinitely adaptable — throw whatever vegetables you have in there, some spices and maybe some herbs, simmer for a half hour. Boom. You will undoubtedly have something pretty tasty.
And while a decent soup is still a very delicious lunch, to get it to that “ohmygahhh this is SO good” level, I called in the big guns. (And by “I”, obvi I mean Deb from Smitten Kitchen, who created this recipe for Parade.) Carrots form the base of the soup — and we all know how much I like carrot soup — but this version becomes a heartier meal with the addition of tiny turkey meatballs, cooked in the soup itself. A few handfuls of spinach at the end add some color and texture, plus of course they make this carrot soup “Resolution-ary”-approved.
Now that I’ve admitted that I have a soup obsession, one of my goals this winter is to branch out a bit. What are your go-to winter meals?
Carrot Soup with Turkey Meatballs and Spinach
Adapted from Deb Perelman in Parade
For the soup:
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 pounds carrots, scrubbed and chopped
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
– 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings (or a blend of dried oregano, rosemary and thyme)
– 4 cups (1 quart) chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth
– 2 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
For the meatballs:
– 1/2 pound ground turkey
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
– 1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
– 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasonings
– 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
– 2 tablespoons water
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– salt and pepper, to taste
1) Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes and Italian seasonings. Saute, stirring, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
2) Stir in the broth, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of pot. Cover the pot and simmer until the carrots are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
3) In the meantime, make the meatballs: Mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and roll into 1-inch balls, spreading them out on a lined baking sheet.
4) Puree the soup in a blender, or with an immersion blender, until smooth. If using blender, return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs and simmer until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes. (I covered the pot to make sure the meatballs cooked through.)
5) Add the spinach and simmer until wilted, about 1 minute. Season servings with salt and pepper to taste.