Looking for a unique take on carrot soup with fresh, sweet notes? This carrot and orange soup is full of nutrients, but still amazingly tasty with cinnamon croutons for a fun take on the classic soup topping.
The combination of sweet and savory is one that I have always loved. Whether it’s a shrimp risotto with honey and pear, a bourbon and brown sugar glazed salmon, or just the ridiculously easy combination of apricot jam on roast chicken thighs, I will happily eat them all.
This soup walks the line between sweet and savory, with just enough earthiness to keep it from being dessert. It is the perfect appetizer for a holiday meal, or a hearty afternoon snack to keep you full until dinner.
Healthy and tasty
Sweet, but healthy. Who would have thought? With so many carrots and lots of fresh orange juice, this soup is full of vitamin C. And of course plenty of vitamin A and fiber from the carrots. It is a great immune booster just when you need it for those inevitable cold weather illnesses.
Plus, the lentils add lots of protein and calcium to the soup, giving is a full complement of nutrients. With everything blended up, it’s easy to hide all those healthy things from picky eaters. If you have someone that doesn’t like lentils or will only eat vegetables when they are paired with lots of sweet things, this might just be the perfect soup to convert them.
Making your own croutons
Homemade croutons are so easy, you’ll wonder why anyone buys them premade. And one of the best parts about croutons is that they are a perfect use for stale bread. If fact, the drier your bread is, the better. Have the end of a loaf sitting on the counter? Make some croutons!
The best size to cut croutons in is about one-inch cubes. If your bread is not already sliced, nice, thick slices are perfect. These get dried out in the oven and are just the right size to soak up a bit of the soup without getting completely mushy.
As sweet croutons, these cinnamon sugar flavored ones are of course perfect on this soup, but can also be used other ways. Pair them with sweet and savory salads like an arugula and pear salad to bring out the sweetness. Or you could even toss them with a fruit salad for an unusual breakfast.
For other dishes, savory croutons can be made by drizzling olive oil over the bread slices and seasoning them with salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Try an Italian blend seasoning (or a combination of oregano, parsley, thyme, and rosemary) on croutons for your chicken Florentine soup. Or switch out the bread cubes in this spinach and bacon salad for some garlic and lemon zest seasoned croutons. The possibilities are endless!
When you are looking for a tasty soup with a hint of sweetness and lots of flavor, this is the one to go to. It’s an amazing take on a creamy carrot soup, with all the extra hints of orange and cinnamon to make it unique.
Carrot and Orange Soup with Cinnamon Croutons
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion , chopped
- 1 1/2 lb. (700g) carrots , peeled and diced
- 2 potatoes , peeled and diced
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- a few sage leaves (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 cup (110g) red split lentils
- 1 orange , zested and juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt , or more to taste
- ground black pepper , to taste
- sesame seeds , for sprinkling (optional)
For the cinnamon croutons:
- 4 slices white bread
- 1 tablespoon butter , melted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- Melt the butter in a pot. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Pour in the stock, add sage leaves and turmeric. Close the lid and cook for about 10 minutes more until the carrots start to soften.
- Add the lentils and orange zest. Cook 10-15 minutes more until the lentils and vegetables are cooked through.
- Remove sage leaves, if using, and puree the soup using an immersion blender until smooth or transfer to a blender that can process hot liquids. Stir in the orange juice and season with salt and pepper.
The cinnamon croutons.
- Preheat the oven to 320°F (160°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Brush the bread on both sides with the melted butter and cut into uniformly sized cubes. Add the cinnamon, coconut sugar, and cubed bread to a ziplock bag and toss well to get the bread coated.
- Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until golden.
- Serve the soup with the cinnamon croutons on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.