Recipe: Carrot Ginger Soup

I could live off soups, stews, and chili all winter long. They are perfect for warming up after a chilly walk home or a cold day on the mountain. Although there's no snow down here yet, I've started making my favorite soups that will last me through the future nor'easters of the year. This carrot ginger soup is ridiculously easy, yet so delicious.

Ingredients:

- 2 cups chopped carrots

- 1-2 minced garlic cloves

- 1/2 small onion, diced

- 3 tbsp fresh ginger root, minced (or more...)

- 2 cups vegetable broth

- 1 can coconut milk

- dash or 2 of curry powder (optional)

Heat coconut oil or olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions, and cook until softened. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add broth, coconut milk, ginger, and curry powder (if you want a little kick). Cook 15-20 minutes at low-medium heat until carrots are soft. Remove from heat, and pour into blender (in batches, if needed). Blend until smooth.

Serve as a side dish, or a main dish with toppings. One night, I topped the soup with leftover salmon and roasted kale chips. The next night, I had it as a side dish. Both nights, I topped it with a few dashes of ginger because I really, really love ginger. Just ask anyone who has eaten sushi with me. I leave the wasabi but devour the ginger.

The best part of soups, stews, and chilis is the leftovers. It's easy to make a huge batch, and they reheat well. You can even freeze batches to pull out in the middle of a snowstorm in a few months.

Since I've already talked about carrots, I have to mention how nutritionally powerful ginger can be. Historically, it's been used as a therapeutic aid for morning sickness and for digestive distress.

ginger-root

Ginger is a very effective and safe aid for nausea. Think about it - it's why your mom gave you ginger ale as a kid when you were sick. Ginger tea is an alternative to ginger ale, and this lemon-ginger tea is my favorite. It may help with nausea from motion sickness, pregnancy, chemotherapy, and after surgery.

Ginger is anti-inflammatory, and given the fact that inflammation plays a role in chronic disease, it can't hurt to throw some ginger into your day. Its effects are similar to those of NSAID drugs (Aspirin, Ibuprofen), and it may help with muscle or joint pain, provide relief in arthritis, and cramping from that-time-of-the-month. I know I'd rather eat a daily dose of ginger than take Ibuprofen, especially after reading this article on Ibuprofen-induced damage to the intestines in endurance athletes.

If you've never used fresh ginger, you're in for a treat. Buy ginger root next time you're at the store. No need to pick up a huge piece; ginger is very potent, and a little goes a long way. It works well in savory dishes, like curries, and sweet foods, like chocolate dipped ginger slices. Or make your own ginger tea with green tea, ginger root, lemon, and a dash of honey.

Unless you love ginger as much as me (I am a ginger after all), you may want to start with small amounts given its very strong flavor.

What's your favorite way to enjoy ginger?