Feasting at Home : North African Carrot Soup

December 27, 2012

North African Carrot Soup

Sometimes simple is best. There is nothing more gratifying than taking a few simple ingredients and turning them into a healthy flavorful meal. After the all the holiday indulgences, scaling back and eating more consciously and simply gives our bodies a break and chance to recover. This earthy Carrot Soup is seasoned with the deep warming flavors of North Africa.  It is topped with Chermoula, a flavorful condiment originating from the northern most countries of Africa -- Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. Chermoula, a blend of olive oil, lemon zest, fresh herbs and spices, adds an unexpected brightness and punch of flavor to the soup.  It can be made spicy or kept mild and be sure to save the leftover Chermoula for a tasty marinade for fish, chicken or tofu. This simple soup reminds me so much of how my father used to cook, taking ordinary ingredients, and infusing them with the warm flavors of the Middle East, transforming them into something unexpected and delicious.

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Carrot Soup with Chermoula
A healthy, flavorful, earthy Carrot Soup recipe, seasoned with North African Spices and topped with Chermoula.

2 lbs scrubbed carrots- cut into 1/2 inch disks
1/2 an onion- diced
4 garlic cloves-smashed
one apple- cut into wedges
1 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
4 C chicken or veggie stock
2 T butter or olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
chermoula ( see below)
1/4 C sour cream or creme fraiche ( optional)

In a heavy bottom pot, saute onion, cumin seeds and smashed garlic in 2 T butter, on medium high heat until browned and tender, about 6 minutes. Add carrots and apples. Saute on medium heat about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, salt, white pepper, bay leaves and bring to a vigorous simmer. Cover and simmer on med low heat for 30 minutes or until carrots are easily pierced with the tip of a knife.
Let cool.
Puree in small batches in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Place back in the pot and keep warm on low heat until serving.
Served with a dollop of sour cream, or creme fraise and a drizzle of chermoula.

Make Chermoula:
1/2 C cilantro
1/2 C Italian parsley
1 tsp fresh ginger (optional)
1 tsp thyme (optional)
2 garlic cloves
Zest from 1/2 lemon ( about 1 tsp)
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp chili flakes -or more for spicier
3 T olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor.


Prep time: 15 hour Cook time: 30 hour Total time: 45 hour Yield: 4-6


  1. Good one. Will try this soon. thanks

    1. Great thanks. Let mw know what you think.

  2. Just made this, it's great! Thanks for sharing. [found you on foodgawker]

  3. Hi there!

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  4. Just made this, so incredibly great! Found this on foodgawker. The pictures don't do it justice; there's no way you could make it look as good as it tastes. Nice job!

    1. I'm glad it turned out. Thanks for the feedback!

  5. YUM!!!! This preggers lady is making this asap!!

  6. I make this carrot soup quite often, sometimes I add tomatoes instead of apples and red peppers and it is fantastic as well, I usually add sour cream or fresh creamy cheese, but I have never added chermoula. I make something similar (but without ginger and lemon, we use vinegar), it is a sauce that we use to go with fish or to marinate it, but I´ve never thought to use it that way. I will try, now that I´ve seen here I can imagine both flavours together. Thanks!!

  7. This is delicious. The individual components are good, but when the soup and the chermoula and the yogurt come together, it's magical.

  8. My husband and I love soups and I decided to give this one a try tonight... We both loved it. It is so simple to make, yet the soup looks and tastes like one from a cooking show! Thank you!!!

    1. Thanks Sandra... Im glad you liked it!

  9. Hi Sylvia

    I have made a lovelink to your recipe at my blog.

    I made the soup this evening and I loved it, so I blogged about it. I hope that is okay with you.

    - Cille

  10. What a wonderful soup and sauce! We ate it tonight with a nutty whole wheat sourdough bread and it couldn't have been better. The chermoula really sings with flavor - I think we'll be using it on everything from now on. Fish? Orzo? Spinach greens? Yes yes yes!

  11. This soup is amazing! I am so glad I found it on foodgawker!! I love adding things like beans or quinoa to turn it into a great dinner meal.

  12. Sylvia,

    I book marked this recipe weeks ago and finally made it. I live in Japan right now and it was great getting to fill my home with middle eastern scents.

    This soup was amazing. I followed the recipe exactly (which I usually don't!) and this... it tasted like a mouthful of sunshine. The chermoula did give the soup this added brightness. It was fantastic.

    Just wanted to pass along the rave reviews!! It is definitely going into the "keeper" pile!


  13. Sylvia,

    I book marked this recipe weeks ago to make. I finally got the gumption and made it tonight. It tasted like sunshine. I followed the recipe to the letter (not usual order of business!) and it could not have come out better. The chermoula added this delicious brightness. Everything just tasted amazing. I live in Japan right now and it definitely had that "umami" flavor that is so sought after. I'll have to have my Japanese friends over to try and give the "professional" opinion.

    Thank you for the recipe! This one is absolutely a keeper!