Whole30 Spiced Carrot Bisque

Winter2016-12In case you were wondering, trying to do a round of Whole30 while moving is a very, very, VERY bad idea.

It isn’t that you can’t eat healthy while moving, which you can. And it isn’t that Whole30 meals aren’t tasty and satisfying after long days of moving, which they are. But anyone that has ever done the Whole30 knows that, unless you want to subsist off of almond butter, hard boiled eggs, and fruit,  it involves lots of kitchen time. Lots. And this doesn’t include the planning, grocery shopping, and cleaning afterwards.

All of this time is in short supply during moving, and when you add a blizzard into the mix, and the fact that our kitchen supplies were strewn between two places for awhile, and well–Winter2016-14–We totally failed at adhering to a strict Whole30. And as anyone who has ever done one knows, there is strict Whole30, and then there is no Whole30. The two are mutually exclusive.

Instead of beating myself up over this, we just did a “Whole30 inspired month of relatively Paleo eating with notable digressions.” This meant cooking compliant meals when at home and capable of doing so, and then doing whatever we wanted/needed when out or standing surrounded by piles of boxes and in desperate need of sustenance regardless of added sugar or grains. Winter2016-15Winter2016-16But instead of dwelling on failure, as fail was indeed what a purist would say that we did, I want to talk about soup. Successful soup, blended soup.

The type that I am terrible at making.

I can make chili, and I can make tortilla soup, but I have long confessed that I truly fail at making pretty much any other type of soup, much to James’ chagrin, as my weakness does not my soup zeal temper. There were a solid couple months in our first year of marriage where I devotedly blended into submission piles on piles of root veggies and butternut squash, desperately trying to make decent bisque, and failing. They all came out the unappealing consistency of baby food, and tasted of bland mush. Winter2016-17Winter2016-18And so I gave up, convinced that as for me and my house, we would buy the blended soups at Trader Joe’s. It was a good plan, until Real Simple had a recipe last month for a carrot soup and once again I felt it: the lure of the immersion blender.

I am inclined to do anything that Real Simple tells me to do, as I love implementing magazine suggestions and tips. Their recipe wasn’t Whole30 approved, and I initially planned to follow it anyways, chalking up yet more failure to our poor timing. But the more I looked at it, the more I thought that it could be tweaked — dare I even say, improved — into the illusive blended soup of my dreams. Slightly sweet and yet bold with spices, compliant for restrictive diets and yet hearty and easy and providing lunch all week.

All of which was accomplished in this soup.

So to all you who have fallen off any sort of healthy eating train this month — take heart. Stand firm anew on shaky legs and go make this soup. Keep it in a big container in the fridge and reheat it all week, congratulating yourself on good decisions with every bite. Go ahead and toss beet chips or sweet potato chips in it, as those are only kinda cheating, and eat it steaming in a big bowl. And then don’t feel the slightest bit guilty when the weekend comes and you eat half a pizza, or order pasta with a side of mac n’ cheese at a restaurant. Not that I’ve done those things recently or anything.  Winter2016-19Whole30 Spiced Carrot Bisque*

  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 lbs carrots, diced
  • 2 TBS fresh rosemary, diced
  • 1 TBS cumin
  • 1 TBS curry
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups compliant carrot juice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (I use the thick culinary kind)
  • 3 TBS apple cider vinegar
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot and add veggies and spices, cooking until onions are translucent.
  2. Add juice and water and bring to a boil, then simmer until carrots are quite soft.
  3. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender, or in a standard blender in batches.
  4. Blend in coconut milk and vinegar, adding more water if soup is too thick.
  5. Add more spices if soup is too sweet/bland.
  6. Top with sweet potato or beat chips and fresh rosemary (if you are like me and like a little crunch!) or decide to screw health and eat it with big chunks of crusty soup bread.

*Recipe adapted from here. And I’m not sure the exact difference between soup and bisque, but I’m calling it bisque because it just feels so fancy.


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11 Responses to Whole30 Spiced Carrot Bisque

  1. Nancy says:

    I love new soup recipes. I’ll be giving this one a try once I empty my fridge full of creamy chicken spinach tortellini soup. Also this red lentil soup is this winter’s favorite; so simple and filling. (http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/8661-red-lentil-soup-with-north-african-spices)

  2. Yuuuuuuummmm!!!! Soup is my favorite food group! (Not that it’s “in season” here anymore, because it’s FEBRUARY and already pushing 90 degrees. Arizona, I hate you!)

    I tried really hard to “eat healthier” this week…until Tuesday when I had mac and cheese, and then mac and cheese again today, and a deep fried burrito last night for dinner. And now with my birthday + Valentine’s Day + Monday holiday looming in my immediate future, it seems I just should give up until next Tuesday. Right? (Right!) Bring on the sugar cookies!


  3. Ashley Smith says:

    I’m so glad you linked to your bread. What a perfect combination! Also, I am terrified of making soups because mine all turn out like baby food, but you are convincing me to give this one a chance.

  4. E.H says:

    This looks delicious! I definitely want to try it!

    I envy you the luxury of doing a partial Whole30 vs. the full 30 days. I can’t wait to be at that point in this process! You totally didn’t fail at all because once you’ve done Whole30, Melissa Hartwig explains in the book that you can do partial Whole30’s afterwards that are equally effective. The only catch is that you have to have done a full Whole30 once (which you already did last year, yay!). She said post Whole30’ers can do Whole7’s Whole10’s, etc. So, don’t feel too bad about not doing a full 30 days. You still did a Whole30. 😀

    I have no idea how on earth I would have done Whole30 while moving this past summer (oh my gosh… I cringe to even wrap my brain around it!). PLUS, you work full time. I totally start Whole30 in the fall because I was working full time. Lame excuse, albeit honest! 😉 You are an inspiration! I’m so glad you share great recipes, honest experiences, and inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves. I hope you feel encouraged by this! You rock, Hannah! ❤

    • Hannah says:

      See, this makes me think that I should have actually read the book – thanks friend!!! I feel encouraged indeed. But to be fair — while I work full time in the sense that I am always working fully, I only have to go into the office one day a week this semester, working from home in my PJs the other days… so I can’t use that excuse now that we finished moving. ; )

  5. E.H says:

    *totally DIDN’T start Whole30 in the fall… (I hate typos!)

  6. Katherine A says:

    This looks good, Hannah. I too have tried endless recipes of butternut squash bisque and didn’t find one that worked until recently. It has kale and only half of the squash is blended. It’s not whole30 because it has just a little dairy in it, but would you like the recipe? I can message it to you if you want.

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