Spicy Carrot and Ginger Soup With Harissa Recipe

Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Note: Harissa is a North African pepper paste. It can be found in specialty grocers or ordered online. Heat level can vary depending on brand, so adjust the amount you use in the recipe according to the heat of the paste and your personal tolerance level. Use vegetable broth or carrot juice in place of chicken stock for a 100% vegan version.

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, finely sliced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about 2 teaspoons)

  • 1 (2-inch) knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons harissa paste (see notes)

  • 2 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 1/2 quarts low-sodium homemade or store-bought vegetable or chicken broth (see notes)

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • 1 tablespoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add leeks, onions, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, and harissa paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots and stir to coat in spice mixture. Add broth (see note), season with a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are completely tender, about 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pine nuts, reduce heat to low, and cook, tossing and stirring constantly, until fragrant and nutty brown, about 10 minute. Transfer to a bowl. Let cool for a few moments, then stir in parsley, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.

  3. When carrots are tender, transfer half of soup to a blender. Start blender on lowest speed and slowly increase speed to high. With blender running, slowly drizzle in remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Transfer soup to a clean pot, pressing it through a fine mesh strainer or chinois if desired. Repeat with remaining soup and 2 more tablespoons olive oil. When all the soup is puréed, season to taste with salt and whisk in lemon juice.

  4. Serve soup immediately, topped with pine nut and parsley mixture.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
331 Calories
24g Fat
25g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 331
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 382mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 13mg 65%
Calcium 87mg 7%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 797mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)