The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

The Ethics of Curried Carrot Almond Soup

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to do meatless Mondays and I’ve been pretty successful at it.  I didn’t follow it for a lot of the holidays – Memorial Day, Labor Day, blah blah blah.  But I’d say I went meatless about 90% of the time.  Not bad in general, really good considering I’d eat braised pork shoulder for dessert.

I wanted to challenge myself with this for a couple of reasons.  I’ve been relatively healthy but my last check-up indicated my cholesterol and blood pressure levels were starting to inch up.  They were still in the normal range but it was recommended I make some diet changes.  I don’t think blood pressure is impacted much by meat consumption, but cholesterol sure is.  So I figured cutting down meat consumption by 1/7th is a good way to keep that in check.  Another reason for the challenge was to expand the culinary toolbox, which I think it did.

One reason that’s NOT on my list is animal welfare.  A lot of vegetarians don’t eat meat for moral reasons – they don’t want to kill an animal to feed themselves.  If you read about my episode at Frontier in Chicago, you’ll know that’s not a concern for me.  Although I must say that I’m all for raising livestock ethically and sustainably because it makes a better product.  Vegans take it a step further and don’t eat or use animal products even if the animal is kept alive – like eggs or dairy.  To each his own.

When I came across this recipe, I had a ton of carrots on hand and the chilly weather called for some soup.  It came from Gourmet  and was described as vegan, due to its use of unsweetened almond milk.


So no cow had to spend its life in servitude to produce milk or cream for this soup.  I’m no 18th Century theological expert, but I believe almond milk is carefully – and ethically – extracted from the bountiful teats of little almonds.

There’s no substitute for the real things.


Seriously, is that food?  It’s all-natural, but is it really “natural?”  Can you really feel good about it if it’s form is a result of processing and not nature?  To me, this isn’t food.  I know that half of what’s in my beloved Taco Bell meals isn’t real, either.  But at least that tastes great.  Straight-up almond milk tastes like ass.

The almond flavor did add to the overall finished product and it wouldn’t have been the same without it.  So it’s use here did serve  a purpose.  I’d probably have a problem with it if they put this fake stuff in there as just a milk or cream substitute.

Whatever.  The soup was delicious and I would totally make it again.

Curried Carrot Almond Soup

1 small onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 3/4 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes

1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped

4 cups water

2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk

4 cilantro sprigs, leaves and stems reserved separately

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1 – Cook onion in oil with 1/2 tsp salt in a 4-qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add curry powder, red-pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

2 – Add carrots, water, almond milk, cilantro stems, and 1/2 tsp salt and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

Blend soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Season with salt.

Serve sprinkled with cilantro leaves and toasted almonds.


So what do you think?  Is this almond milk food?  Do I have a future as a mixed media artist?


About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

14 comments on “The Ethics of Curried Carrot Almond Soup

  1. Megan
    November 27, 2012

    This looks awesome!! I happen to have a boat load of almond milk and carrots on hand, this may end up being made tonight!

  2. The Byronic Man
    November 27, 2012

    This is completely my own weirdness, and I totally own that, but I’ve always kind of liked almond milk (if it’s vanilla flavored) and even almond cheese. I had a girlfriend who was vegan (haven’t we all?), so I dabbled and when I said I really liked them, even she was shocked. “No one actually likes them,” she said.

  3. rachelocal
    November 27, 2012

    I just recently started using almond milk in cereal, which is okay. I like that it has less calories than milk. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    (LOVED your almond teat photo. hehe.)

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      November 27, 2012

      Thanks, I worked really hard on that piece. I call it “Whispering in Darkness, Decoupled.”

      Seriously, this surprises me given that you’re trying to go local. I thought some of the benefits to going localvore was to get something fresh, natural, and sourced locally. Don’t think that almond milk fits any of these. Not sure about where you live, but there are a bunch of local dairies in MI. To me, the savings in calories aren’t worth it – esp since it’s 60 cal vs 85 in Skim and 120 in 2% milk. I can burn off those extra calories pretty easily.

      • rachelocal
        November 27, 2012

        All good points. I have some “staple” items that could never be local, like oil and flour. I have yet to find a flour mill/producer nearby. Same with dairy. If I go to Lancaster, PA I can get milk from local Amish producers (raw milk too!), but that’s over an hour away. A local indoor farmers market sells old school dairy in glass bottles. But it’s so expensive! I buy my cream and butter from them (because it’s just so good) though. Nothing better than Amish butter.

        So I do allow myself a few nonlocal items, like the almond milk and good wine. And this winter I’ll be adding nonlocal staples like black beans, lentils, and canned tomatoes to the mix. During the winter months, there’s not a lot of options here in Delaware.

        • thefoodandwinehedonist
          November 27, 2012

          With you on the Amish stuff – their eggs rock! Luckily we have some stores here that have local milk. Best of luck. Looking fwd to reading about it…

  4. musingsoftheamusingmuse
    November 27, 2012

    Honestly – this sounds delicious and having had to cut out most dairy from my diet (as well as cutting out completely, equally delicious gluten) I have tried ALL the “milks” on the market. Almond is my favorite (unsweetened Vanilla for my cereal, original unsweetened for cooking). I even enjoy Blue Diamonds Almond Coconut blend (unsweetened). Regarding “processing”, Almond milk is ground almonds blended with water. That’s it. That’s all. And, if you were so inclined – you could make it at home. (Some of the other “milks” on the market are HIGHLY processed with a lot of “extras” added to them.)

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      November 28, 2012

      I suppose I can make an exception for substitution due to dietary restrictions…Oh CRAP! You totally reminded me of a clip I really should’ve included !

  5. fissionerror
    November 28, 2012

    I really love almond milk, but only because I view it as a separate entity rather than a milk-substitute. If it was a milk substitute I’d enjoy dunking cookies in it. Instead I just like it in coffee and recipes. Dying to try this soup though.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      November 28, 2012

      Hope you like it! So there’s a few people that actually like the taste of it..maybe I’m the oddball here.

      • fissionerror
        November 28, 2012

        The description sounds like a cream of carrot and ginger soup my mom used to make, which I would have loved except I really dislike ginger, so this might be right up my alley!

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This entry was posted on November 27, 2012 by in Cooking and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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