Harissa Carrot Soup


An unexpected ingredient adds lusciousness to this fragrant and flavorful soup.

Harissa Carrot Soup

Victor Protasio

Prep Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
40 mins

A great cook knows the secret to unbelievable pasta is reserving some of the pasta water to create a sauce that’s rich and flavorful. But here’s a new cooking hack: keep some extra pasta water on hand to enhance soups, too. The salty pasta water helps to season this cumin-and-cinnamon spiced soup while the starch in the water adds body. (If you don’t have any reserved pasta water in the fridge, simply add more broth.) This earthy soup has a subtle kick from harissa, a spiced red chile paste hailing from Tunisia that’s now widely available in supermarkets. Find it in a jar or tube in the condiment or international aisle.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)

  • 2 tbsp mild harissa paste (such as Mina)

  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 3 lb carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 4 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 cups pasta water

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • Toasted hazelnuts or walnuts

  • Greek yogurt, for serving

  • Mint leaves, for serving


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes.

  2. Add garlic, harissa, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Add carrots, broth, pasta water, and salt. Bring to a simmer over high. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

  4. Use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth. (Alternatively, blend soup in batches in a blender, removing center piece of lid to allow steam to escape and placing a towel over opening.) Stir in lemon juice and honey. Serve with desired toppings.

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