Last week, I got real about recipe failures, and how often they befall food bloggers. My case in point was a red pepper, wakame, and basil soup that was downright nasty. They always say that the best way to deal with a stumble is to get right back on the horse, or the bike, or whatever you’ve fallen off, so I didn’t want to wait too long before I ventured into the raw soup territory again. This all raw, vegan gingery carrot tomato soup was the perfect redemptive recipe.
Raw soups may be the least popular of all raw recipes. It’s not hard to get anyone into into a raw chocolate tart, or banana soft serve, or a scrumptious smoothie, or even massaged kale salad. These recipes are just too delicious to hate on. Raw soups, though? Tricky. There’s no food that we associate more with warmth and warming than a bowl of soup, so the raw version often measures up poorly to conventional standards. Beyond that, as my pepper wakame soup catastrophe proves, it’s very hard to get raw soups right.
How can something so simple—blended vegetables and liquid—be so easy to bungle? Well, first there’s the question of texture. Raw soups are like green smoothies: if you don’t at least have a powerful blender, you may have a hard time eliminating bumps, lumps, chunks, and other icky textural pests. If you’re making a soup with intended texture, it’s easy to add too much liquid (and make it too soup) or too little (in which case it’ll be pasty). And, as with many raw dishes, ingredients have to be tip top. Raw soups are typically very simple, and have very few ingredients: many involve only a few vegetables, some avocado, and some water. If you’re working with an avocado that’s started to go off, or vegetables that are tasteless, the soup will be disappointing indeed. I try to work only with fresh, local, and organic produce when I make raw soup: it makes a big difference.
If you’re working with a normal blender, but you’ve caught the raw soup bug, I strongly suggest working with vegetable juices, rather than whole, raw vegetables (especially crunchier ones). My raw carrot and avocado bisque is a great example of a soup that’s very blendable because it’s juice and avocado based.
Or, if your blender can handle the challenge of raw carrots and tomatoes, give this gingery soup a shot. I made it for lunch today, along with some of my raw tomato bread and a big salad, and it was an instant hit. But then, with so many of my favorite ingredients–tomatoes, carrots, dates, ginger—how could it not be?
Raw Gingery Carrot Tomato Soup (raw, vegan, can be gluten and soy free)
4 roma tomatoes, quartered (I used local, hothouse tomatoes—remember what I said about fresh produce!)
4 small carrots, roughly chopped
1 inch peeled ginger (or less, if you’re sensitive to heat; you can also substitute 1 tsp powdered ginger)
1 tablespoon low sodium tamari, nama shoyu, or Braggs (substitute sea salt to taste if you’re soy sensitive)
2 pitted dates
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp flax oil
1) Blend all ingredients save the flax oil in a high speed blender till smooth.
2) Add the tbsp flax oil in a thin stream, till soup is light and creamy. Serve!
This is a sweet and spicy bowl:
And the tomatoes and a drizzle of flax oil were a nice garnish. I also loved dipping my raw tomato bread in it!
I think this soup will also make a great dip/dressing, and intend to use it that way soon!
Hope you guys are encouraged to test the waters of raw soup making. I promise that they’re much tastier and rewarding than you may think. Done right (and I’m the first to admit, it ain’t always easy to do them right), they showcase raw food at its very best: clean, simple, flavorful, and focused on quality ingredients.
Curious about my other favorite raw soups? If you’re new to the raw soup world, you can’t go wrong with:
Edited to add: I posted in such a rush today that I forgot to wish you all a very happy passover. Julia asked me if I could post anything on the topic, and I decided that the best thing to post would be a link to two of Leslie’s excellent posts on holidays and what they signify to us as eaters. The first describes her feelings about fasting on Yom Kippur, and the second her passover food experiment. Please enjoy them, and have a wonderful start to the holiday!