This is almost a cross between a curry and a soup. It is creamy, spicy and filling, and won't leave you feeling like you need a bowl of rice to accompany it.
Coconut milk is very flavoursome, but it is also high in fat - by mixing it with the stock, you still get a hint of the richness, but don't have to worry too much about the calorie content. The harissa paste adds a spicy background flavour that works well with the carrots, but you could always use Thai red curry paste instead.
Thanks to the garlic and the heat from the chilli, this dish is a good one to try if you're fighting off a cold. The zesty lemon grass and ginger balance the natural sweetness of the carrots, which are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A.
Research by the American Dietetic Association suggest that the nutrients in carrots help support the immune system, keep skin healthy and can reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease.
Spiced carrot soup Serves 2
400g carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2cm x 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli (or to taste), deseeded and finely chopped
1 lemon grass stalk, bruised
1 tbsp harissa paste
125ml coconut milk (low-fat if you wish)
500ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp lime juice
salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200'C/fan 180'C/ gas 6. Tip the carrots into a roasting tin, drizzle over a tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and black peppers and mix well to coat.
Transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, until tender and golden.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli and lemon grass and cook over a low heat for 8-10 minutes.
Increase the heat, add the harissa paste and cook for a couple of minutes. When the paste begins to smell really aromatic, tip the roasted carrots into the pan, stirring well to coat them in the spiced mixture.
Pour over the coconut milk and the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for five minutes or until the carrots are really soft, then remove the lemon grass and transfer the soup to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, then return the soup to the pan and reheat. Add the lime juice and taste to check the seasoning.
Divide the mixture between two serving bowls, sprinkle over the coriander leaves and serve.
Nutritional information for spicy carrot and coconut soup (per serving)
Calories from fat: 80
Total fat: 8.8g
Saturated fat: 5.7g