Carrot-Coconut Soup with Harissa and Crispy Leeks

Last week I hosted my annual Soup’s On! party. This is the event in which my neighborhood friends humor me by lugging their Le Creuset enamelware, crockpots, ladles and various soup accouterments to my house to participate in a little friendly competition. Each chef “presents” their creation and during the course of the night, we taste each soup before voting to determine the winners. Recipes for second place (a Chinese hot and sour-style Mushroom Soup) and third (French Onion with Gruyere croutons) will be shared in subsequent posts, but for now I will focus on second time champion Kristin’s Carrot-Coconut Soup with Harissa and Crispy Leeks from the February 2014 issue of Bon Appetit.

This soup has it all. Smooth texture, sweetness from the carrot and coconut milk balanced by the heat of the harissa, crispy “bits” provided by the pan-fried leeks, a healthy component by being Whole 30-worthy (if you are not familiar with Whole 30, it’s the 2017 diet of the moment), vegan and relatively fat-free. Oh, and did I mention that it’s easy to prepare with relatively few ingredients and even fewer steps?

Without further ado, here is the Soup’s On! grand prize winner. Photo credit goes to Bon Appetit as by the time the prize was awarded, this soup pot was already scraped clean–turns out that we didn’t need a high-tech Survey Monkey voting system, after all. Enjoy!

Carrot-Coconut Soup with Harissa and Crispy Leeks

Carrot-Coconut Soup with Harissa and Crispy Leeks


NOTE: There is some inexplicable glitch with my Recipe Card program. I am waiting on a resolution but in the meantime, did not want to delay in getting this post out to you, my loyal Monday morning followers. So, please excuse the formatting and lack of easy printability. I will update, as soon as the fix is in place.

Carrot-Coconut Soup with Harissa and Crispy Leeks

adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 8

  • 3 Tbls coconut oil
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only (1 chopped, 1 thinly sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tbls finely grated peeled ginger
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 c low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • Harissa paste, for serving

Heat 1 Tbls oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, apple, onion, chopped leek, garlic, and ginger, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are beginning to soften, 5–7 minutes. Add broth, coconut milk, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, 20–25 minutes; let cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth (Note: you can use an immersion blender for ease, but the resulting soup won’t likely be as smooth).

Heat remaining 2 Tbls oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced leek and cook, stirring often, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; season with salt.

Serve soup topped with harissa and crispy leeks.