A Bite Inspired by… “Plenty” (2011 Cookbook):
When London chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, first released his cookbook “Plenty” in the United States, food lovers went crazy for his vibrant, Mediterranean take on vegetables. My Vegan Spiced Carrot Soup recipe follows Ottolenghi’s simple, yet ingenious principle of making veggies not only delicious, but beautiful. This soup is hearty, colorful, and so delicious, you’ll forget how nutritious it is. You can also enter a GIVEAWAY to win your very own copy of Ottolenghi’s gorgeous, hardcover cookbook! Let’s celebrate the beauty of vegetables together!
Since I’m a food blogger, it probably won’t surprise you to know that I literally own hundreds of cookbooks. Before I learned to create my own recipes, my cookbooks were my bread and butter (excuse the corny food pun!) I often get asked what my favorite cookbook is. This question is so incredibly difficult for me– it’s like someone asking me who my favorite child is. I love them all the same for totally different reasons. Okay, so comparing cookbooks to children may be going a bit far, but you get the idea. It’s HARD to pick a favorite.
If I really had to choose though, “Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi” is definitely up there. As the title implies, this collection of recipes from the acclaimed chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, centers entirely around vegetables. Ottolenghi is not a vegetarian, himself, but has taken an interest in the rise of vegetarianism, as well as, new methods of farming and sourcing vegetables. This cookbook includes over a hundred vegetarian recipes for everything from soup to salads to desserts to pasta, all utilizing fruits or vegetables as the star item on the plate. I’m so obsessed with this book because the recipes are so simple, yet ingenious. The dishes are super versatile and can be enjoyed alone or as an accompaniment to meat or fish. Plus, the pictures are absolutely GORGEOUS.
Ottolenghi’s approach to fresh, mediterranean cooking took the the world by storm. He proved that even the pickiest eaters will eat their veggies, if they’re prepared in a fresh, unique way. Epicurious included “Plenty” in its 2015 list of “The Ten Cookbooks Every Chef Should Own” and it received the Observer Food Monthly Award for Best Cookbook in 2011. Guys, this cookbook is the real deal.
Feeling inspired by Chef Ottolenghi, I decided to create my own take on a dish that features vegetables front and center. This Vegan Spiced Carrot Soup is creamy and vibrant with just the right amount of spice. Plus, it has delicious whole grain garlic croutons on top to add some crunch! In the spirit of celebrating vegetables, I wanted to highlight the carrots in this soup, rather than hide them. My choice of spices (pictured below: cinnamon, curry powder, ground cumin, chipotle chili powder, paprika, and tumeric) was a very deliberate one as I believe the flavors I chose really complement the carrot and bring out its natural sweetness.
The culinary journey I’ve gone on with “Plenty” has greatly informed my cooking style. It’s given me an appreciation for simple ingredients and taught me how to enhance them, rather than conceal them under heavy, unnecessary flavors. I really, truly believe that every home cook should own a copy of this book. In fact, I believe this so much that I’m giving away a beautiful, hardcover copy of “Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi” (a $35 value) to ONE lucky winner through a GIVEAWAY I’m hosting from Friday, February 17th, 2017 at midnight EST through Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 at midnight EST. If I could afford it, I would give away a copy of this book to every reader of my blog because I love it that much, but given reality, I’m happy that I can at least give a copy of this book away to one person.
That’s all for now, folks! Until next time: make this soup, eat your veggies, and enter to win one of the most inspiring cookbooks of all time! Feels pretty doable, right? 😉
Please note: You must be at least 13 years of age to enter the giveaway. One winner will be drawn at random out of all the entries. The winner will be notified by email on Thursday, March 9th. Good luck everyone!
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! CONGRATS TO THE WINNER, JENNA L. THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL WHO ENTERED. BE SURE TO LOOK OUT FOR MORE GIVEAWAYS IN THE FUTURE!
- For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
- 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup light canned coconut mlk
- 2 teaspoons tumeric
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- For the croutons:
- 3 slices whole grain bread, cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh chives, chopped for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees for the croutons.
- Heat cooking oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
- Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion starts to brown.
- Add spices to the pot. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add carrots and potatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir well.
- Add vegetable broth and coconut milk into the pot. Bring to a boil on high heat. Add a lid to the pot and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer for 20 minutes until carrots and potatoes are soft.
- While the soup is simmering, add the olive oil and garlic into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Add the cubed bread into the bowl and mix well with your hands until every piece of bread is well coated.
- Spread the bread cubes onto a cookie sheet in one oven layer and stick into the pre-heated oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp.
- Remove soup pot from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Carefully ladle about ⅓ of the soup into a blender. Puree on high until smooth.
- Repeat with the remaining 2 batches of soup.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the croutons. Add chopped chives, if desired. Enjoy!