Make Ahead

Carrot-Ginger Zinger Soup

January  5, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

I first discovered Szechuan pepper in Bon Appetit’s recipe for Spicy Pork and Mustard Greens Soup. With its warm, peppery flavor that slowly builds, it’s usually used in fatty dishes -- but I thought its citrus overtones would be perfect for this light, yet seasonal soup with carrots and butternut squash. Hypothesis confirmed!

I drizzled some nutty lemon-tahini dressing on top. If you don't want a whole batch, just mix a little bit of tahini with lemon juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. —Kallee Lins

Test Kitchen Notes

Carrot-ginger soup is a staple, and this one is no different. There are lots of ingredients going on: butternut squash, apple, and cumin. I love the addition of cumin because it gives a depth of flavor that is needed. Otherwise, the carrots and ginger shine through as the dominant flavors in the dish. The author doesn't state what kind of apple to use, but I had Granny Smith on hand -- I wonder if a sweeter apple might add a bit more sugar to the recipe to balance the flavors even more. —DeannaMarie

What You'll Need
  • 4 cups diced carrots
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and garlic.
  2. When onions are translucent, add in the carrots, Szechuan pepper, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and cumin, and grate in the ginger. Cook for a minute or two until fragrant.
  3. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer. As the carrots begin to soften, add in the butternut squash. Cover the pot.
  4. When both carrots and squash are tender, add in the diced apple. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  5. Remove the bay leaves. Season with a few large pinches of coarse salt.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and blend with immersion blender. Alternatively, ladle soup into a standing mixer, blend until smooth, and return to the pot.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Ayano Strickland
    Ayano Strickland
  • Deborah Lowry
    Deborah Lowry
  • FrugalCat
  • krystine
  • Mariana Beeu
    Mariana Beeu

10 Reviews

megdujour October 6, 2020
The flavor of this was delicious! The whole house kept commenting on how nice this smelled simmering on the stove. The only thing I would note is that the Szechwan peppercorns should be ground. I used whole, thinking that the immersion blender would take care of it, but there were little "shells" throughout the soup. This is on me, but just something for everyone to be aware of! I also didn't bother dicing everything small. Just did a rough chop on the veg as well as the garlic and ginger. I finished with (non-vegan) butter and a swirl of Greek yogurt.
Ayano S. October 10, 2018
Very good too much pepper (heavy hand) but supper yum. More apple next time!
Deborah L. September 7, 2018
Delicious soup! Definitely reduce pepper flakes IMO. I used 1/2 t. And that made for a pretty fiery soup. Fortunately, I like that.
FrugalCat December 28, 2017
I loved this soup. However, I took it away from vegan by using sour cream instead of tahini.
Koinohana February 14, 2015
Totally overlooked the Apple in the recipe and used the only fruit I had left in the house, a Bartlett pear. It's sweetness blended quite smoothly with the carrot and squash. I also garnished the soup with pieces of applewood bacon. Divine!
krystine February 5, 2015
this soup was amazing! especially with the addition of the lemony tahini dressing . the only thing i would do differently next time is cut the red pepper flakes down to a half teaspoon. the spice was a little overwhelming. but other than that it was perfect.
Mariana B. February 3, 2015
Great, healthy and easy. I cooked it and it was awesome.
Kallee L. February 2, 2015
Thanks for the review, DeannaMarie! I definitely used a gala apple. It wasn't a conscious choice to go with a sweeter apple to balance out the flavours, but I think that's exactly what happened. So glad you thought about that!
em-i-lis January 19, 2015
What a lovely soup! I had a beautiful bag of fresh baby carrots from our farmers market so made this soup for dinner tonight. I was certain I had coconut oil but found that I didn't, so subbed canola oil and feel that worked well. Likewise, I only had ground szechuan pepper so used about a 1/4 teaspoon of that and then halved the amount of red pepper flakes, in part because I know how fresh and piquant mine are.
This was a good decision because the full heat may have overwhelmed the more delicate flavors of the veggies.
All that to be said that I really enjoyed this soup. It's a beautiful color of orange and feels much more decadent, calorically, than it is. It's fresh, carroty and each bite made me want another. I stirred in some creme fraiche to tame some of the spice, and found that it not only did so beautifully but also lent a lovely sweet creaminess that enhanced that provided by the pureed carrots, squash and apple.
The cumin is a nice touch!
Kallee L. January 19, 2015
So glad you enjoyed it! And I'm happy to hear the spices balanced nicely for you. I think my red pepper flakes are due to be replaced... they never perk things up as much as I expect them too.
I'll have to try adding a dollop of crème fraîche next time. Thanks for the tip :)