autumn carrot soup with pickled red onions {gluten free}

autumn carrot soup with pickled red onions |

the short days are tip-toe-ing in to my daily routine and state of mind as they always do this time of year. I’m sure you can relate. for me this usually means some reflection and re-evaluation of how my time is spent and why. this year in particular I feel a strong call to embrace and integrate more habits that are truly nourishing; taking the time to stay active in authentic and energizing ways despite the dwindling sun, indulging in my creative outlets without guilt or apology, and of course, staying connected to what matters in the food that we eat.

because don’t most things come back to food?

I can’t think of a better way to start this rainy weather chapter-of-nourishment then with a bowl of this      autumn carrot soup garnished with pickled red onions, cilantro, pumpkin seeds and feta cheese. if you’re looking for a filling and healthy soup to embrace autumn with, you will certainly enjoy sitting down to a bowl of this.

i’ve been making this carrot soup in the kitchen’s I cook in for a couple of cold weather seasons, and I figured that just before thanksgiving would be the most absolute perfect time to share it with you.

silky smooth, spiced with cumin, coriander, aleppo pepper, paprika and finished with a squeeze of lime, it will most definitely be a part of our holiday spread.

my version is slightly altered, but the original recipe is from my treasured copy of Deborah Madison’s cookbook “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”.

this cookbook is such a gem. valuable not only for vegetarians but really for anyone who appreciate’s simple yet near genius techniques for preparing vegetables, grains, legumes, eggs and meatless proteins. Madison has a way of honoring ingredients in their finest & simplest state, while adding just a few of the right things to make them stand out as something unique with flavors that sing.

autumn soup with pickled red onions |

vegetarian and vegan friendly, this soup is perfectly balanced and incredibly satisfying – especially when you top with the array festive garnishes. it’s delicious on it’s own but becomes something really special when you add the pumpkin seeds, cilantro, red onion and feta cheese and finish it with a squeeze of lime.

I feel like I always say this but I really do think if applies to most soup recipes: the better your stock or broth tastes before you add it to the soup the better the final product will be.

good tasting stock = good tasting soup.

don’t let the presence of the white rice throw you off. it’s there to give the soup a nice sturdy body that holds the garnishes well. I have made it without and it’s still delicious but all of my goodies fell to the bottom of the bowl.

for the pickled red onions – they pickle very quickly! if you throw them together in a jar before you start the soup they will be ready by the time the soup is done. they keep well in the refrigerator for at least a week – don’t be surprised if you find yourself sneaking them on to everything from fried eggs to homemade nachos. they are addicting and delicious!

and finally a note to those who are generally opposed to the idea of eating fennel: I’m going to gush for a minute about this vegetable. it’s added at the very beginning of the recipe to caramelize with the onions, so the flavors are not at all sharp. and since it’s finely diced it caramelizes and cooks so soft it almost dissolves into the soup even before you puree it. and the flavor it adds! oh it’s sweet and soft and aromatic in exactly the way you want something to be both of those things. I love using it in soups in place of celery as it adds a bit of a sweeter more interesting element.  this might just be your fennel gate-way recipe if you decide to give it a chance 😉 if you’re not feeling up for it (c’mon…), sub in a single stalk of finely diced celery.

autumn carrot soup with pickled red onions |

I hope all of your november’s are sweet and lovely and full of nourishment. and delicious soup.

did you make this recipe? I would love to know how it turned out! you can leave me a comment below, or snap a picture and post it to instagram with the hashtag #nyssaskitchen! xo

autumn carrot soup with pickled red onions |

autumn carrot soup with pickled red onions

  • Author: Nyssa Tanner
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x


a simple and nourishing recipe for autumn carrot soup garnished with pickled red onions, cilantro, pumpkin seeds and crumbled salty feta cheese.




  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, cored and finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 lb carrots, sliced into 1/4 coins
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup white rice
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp aleppo pepper flakes or red chili flakes
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 67 cups of good tasting chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt
  • black pepper

pickled red onions:

  • 1/2 small red onion finely diced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs sugar

additional garnishes:

  • chopped cilantro
  • pumpkin seeds
  • crumbled feta cheese


  1. make pickled red onions first.
    combine onions, vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a jar. hold a towel over the lid to avoid spills and shake vigorously until salt and sugar are dissolved. set aside.
  2. now onto the soup.
  3. melt butter with olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
  4. add and sauté onions, fennel and thinly sliced garlic until soft and starting to brown.
  5. once brown add carrots, parsley, rice and bay leaf.
  6. stir and cook another five minutes – until carrots start to soften slightly.
  7. add paprika, aleppo pepper, cumin, coriander and a few grinds of black pepper.
  8. stir, cooking for about another minute, or until spices are very aromatic.
  9. add 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any stuck bits of spice or vegetable.
  10. increase heat and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover partially.
  11. cook until carrots are very tender and rice is kind of overcooked and split open. this should be between 15 and 25 minutes.
  12. carefully purée soup in a blender or with an immersion blender until it is totally smooth. you may need to add another cup or so of stock to get the right consistency.
  13. taste and season with salt and pepper and a few squeezes of lime.
  14. serve topped with cilantro, toasted pumpkin seeds, feta cheese and pickled red onions.
  • Category: soup
  • Cuisine: vegetarian, gluten free



4 thoughts on “autumn carrot soup with pickled red onions {gluten free}

  1. Plaga

    I spy with my little eye…..bowls from our Anthropologie extravaganza!!! You were so right!!! The orange soup in the blue bowls is picture purr-fect!! And yes, I’m making this asap! I want ALL the nourishing soup!


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