Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Roasted root vegetables

Following on my last couple of posts about roasted vegetables, here is an alternate and incredibly easy use for roasted root vegetables: soup!  My husband loves soup and although he prefers chunky soups to purees, I find a hot and hearty pureed soup really comforting.  This is another way to repurpose one meal into another.

Roasted root vegetable soup is so simple to make, I don’t even think I need to post up separate instructions:

  1. Dump roasted root vegetables into a blender.
  2. Add some vegetable stock.
  3. Blend.
  4. Serve.

The thing about making roasted root vegetables is that I find it incredibly easy to make a massive amount at once.  But eating roasted vegetables every night for a week can get a bit boring, so it is worth it to find alternate uses for them.  If it is possible to make a huge amount of something one night so I can do minimal cooking the other nights of the week, I am game.  Who doesn’t love a life hack like that?

Often when we repurpose leftovers, it’s tempting to just change them marginally.  But they still retain the same mouthfeel, even if the flavors change a bit.  By turning the roasted root vegetables into a soup, you completely alter their texture and taste.  Normally when we eat roasted root vegetables, we taste each individual vegetable.  You can close your eyes and tell if you are eating a potato, a carrot, or a beet.  Even if you get a couple of different flavors in one bite, they are only marginally mixed and still identifiable.  But once they are blended into a soup, the flavors meld seamlessly and create a new taste.

Simply adding all these vegetables to a pot, boiling, and blending will not give you the same result as roasting.  Roasting is a process that tends to intensify and concentrate flavors.  The caramelization process that takes place during roasting naturally intensifies the sweetness of even the most bland ingredients.  Boiling and then blending will leave you with a soup that is much more bland and flavorless, whereas blending up roasted vegetables will give your soup all the oomph and power of sweet, concentrated flavors.

Another bonus of turning leftover roasted root vegetables into soup is the freeze factor.  Roasted root vegetables cannot just be frozen as they are because some vegetables just will not maintain the right kind of texture and flavor when later defrosted, plus you’ll lose all the crunchiness that comes from roasting and be left with soggy cubes.  Not appetizing!  But once you blend all the vegetables up into a soup, you can definitely freeze it.  Just remember that if your mixture contains potatoes, you will need to stir well when you reheat it to redistribute the moisture in the soup evenly throughout.

Perhaps the best part about this soup is that it is so easy and fast.  Once you have your roasted root vegetables, you basically just need to spend one minute blending them.  If they’re cool, then just heat and serve.

And of course, it is versatile, too.  You can change the flavor of the soup dramatically depending on what vegetables in what amounts you’ve chosen to roast.  Is it a sweeter soup with lots of things like pumpkin and beets?  Or is it more savory, with flavors like potato and celeriac?

Changing the seasonings on the roasted root vegetables also dramatically changes the flavor profile of the soup.  Make Indian-style curried root vegetables and you’ll have a curried soup.  Italian herbs give you an Italian style soup.  Virtually any flavor combination that works for roasted root vegetables works for roasted root vegetable soup, too.

Finally, jazz it up with different toppings.  A soup heavy in orange colored vegetables, like pumpkin, carrot, and sweet potato, begs for a sprinkle of nutmeg and some toasted pumpkin seeds.  Pine nuts and soaked raisins are the perfect topping for a Moroccan-style blend.  Try sour cream and spring onions (or finely diced jalapenos) on a Mexican-style blend.  A curried soup goes great with some yogurt and chutney on top.  As far as toppings go, they sky’s the limit!

Because roasted root vegetables often include more starchy or high-calorie ingredients, a big bowl of this soup is satisfying enough to constitute an entire meal.  Alternatively, serve it up as a pre-course, or even during the meal itself.  A curried soup can be a nice side during a meal of thali while a Moroccan-style soup could even be poured over a mound of couscous.

Heat it up really hot before school and fill a thermos to send with your child as a healthy school lunch choice – it should still be hot, but not too hot, by the time they are ready to eat it.

To me, roasted root vegetable soup is the ultimate comfort food.  It’s easy and fast and is a great way to repurpose leftovers.  I hope you enjoy!  We enjoyed it so much I completely forgot to take a picture until it was all gone!

Roasted Root Vegetables, Three Ways

Roasted Root Vegetables, Three Ways

Roasted root vegetables

Yesterday I posted about how to make the perfect roasted vegetables.  It’s one of my go-to dishes when I am unsure of what I ought to make for dinner because it tastes great, it’s incredibly versatile, and it’s perfect leftover food for lunch the next day.  Recently, I had a collection of root vegetables I decided to roast up.  I had too many for just one tray, so I decided to do three trays, three different ways!

I have had people ask me about how to season the veggies when you are roasting them.  The reality is, you can season them with just about any flavor combination you love.  And you can cheat, too, by buying pre-mixed spice combinations like Chinese five spice or Mexican taco seasoning and using those.  Yes, that is a legitimate way to get a good flavor on your roasted vegetables!  Your guests will never need to know how easy it was to mix those spices up.

Just be sure to avoid liquid seasonings like teriyaki, hoisin, duck, or garlic sauce.  Save those for a stir fry or for dipping some tempura vegetables in.  It’s tempting to want to just drizzle on some sauce and stir it around, but often these kinds of sauce thin out when heated.  The result will be a sticky gooey mess on the bottom of your roasting pan.  Your vegetables will not be evenly coated and they will end up soggy.  Seriously, stick with a thin coating of extra virgin olive oil and dry spices and herbs.

Of course, if you are into mixing up your own spices, feel free to do so.  The vast majority of the time, I mix my own flavors and they turn out amazing.  I’ve spent a lot of time testing different flavors and generally have a pretty good idea what they combine well with.  When I come across a flavor I happen not to be comfortable with, I simply leave it out or experiment with it in small batches until I get a good feel for the flavor.  Just two years ago, for example, I was totally unfamiliar with tarragon.  It’s still not a flavor I use all that often, but now I know its uses pretty well (I love it with fish and, perhaps surprisingly, in a German potato salad).  So, rule of thumb, if you’re not 100% certain the spices and herbs you’re planning on using go well A) with the vegetables you’re roasting and B) with one another, just avoid them, OR make a small batch first .  Better safe than sorry!

Now that you know how to make Chinese flavored roasted vegetables (just add a tiny drizzle of Bragg’s seasoning prior to coating with olive oil, then mix in Chinese five spice mixture) and how to make Mexican flavored roasted vegetables (just mix in Mexican taco seasoning mixture), I’m going to move on to the more advanced class: Three ways I love to make my roasted vegetables.

*WARNING* I am NOT going to give amounts for each of the seasonings.  It completely depends on how much you are making and how strong you want the flavor.  Also, I suck at measuring things and didn’t have the patience to make these dishes several times to measure everything until I figured out the perfect amount when I could get the perfect amount the first time just by eyeballing it.  Sorry!

Roasted Root Vegetables, Three Ways

Winter Vegetable Mix for Roasting

These are the vegetables I used:

  • Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash/Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Rutabaga/Swede
  • Turnip
  • Parsnip
  • Carrot
  • Daikon Radish
  • Onion

(There is also garlic in these, but I didn’t use it for all of the mixes, only one.)

Preparing a huge batch of roasted vegetables

First you have to chop up your vegetables, then toss them in olive oil.  If you don’t know how to do this, please follow my tutorial on how to make the perfect roasted root vegetables.

The instructions for all of the following spice mixes is the same: Add the spices/herbs to your oil-coated vegetables, mix to coat, then cook (again, according to the tutorial – I’m not going to repeat myself a zillion times here.  I have two whiny kids begging me to take them to the park!).

Italian Style

Serve this one with some white fish poached in wine and some whole wheat garlic bread.

Italian Roasted Vegetables

Fresh garlic cloves (whole or sliced/diced/mashed – up to you)
Basil
Oregano
Rosemary
Thyme
Black Pepper
(Salt – optional)

Indian Style

Serve this one with a pot of dahl and coconut and lime whole grain basmati rice.

Roasted Vegetables Indian Style

Curry Powder
Garam Masala (mild – unless your kids like spicy food)
Garlic Powder
Ginger Powder
Organic Flaked Coconut OR cubed fresh young coconut
(Salt – optional)

Moroccan Style

Serve this one with some eggs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and couscous with raisins and pine nuts.

Moroccan Style Roasted Vegetables

Cumin
Coriander
(Sweet) Paprika (again, unless you have kids with asbestos mouths)
Nutmeg
Cinnamon
Ginger Powder
Diced Preserved Lemon

I hope you enjoy these three suggestions for good roasted root vegetable seasonings!  They make great meals and also make good lunches and fillings for wraps to send to school with your kids.

If you have your own favorite spice combo, please share!