Carrot, Lemon Grass, and Basil Soup

Makes 8 cups (2 L)

Native to India and Sri Lanka, lemon grass is a tropical grass that has a citrus flavour without the sourness associated with lemons. The leafy, long-stemmed, aromatic stalks are popular in Thai cuisine and are often combined with coconut milk, ginger, and vegetables as the basis for a wide variety of dishes. Here, these ingredients form a creamy, delicious soup with a bright yellow-orange colour, indicative of its plentiful amounts of the antioxidant beta carotene.

1 tablespoon (15 mL) coconut or olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons (30 mL) minced ginger
2 tablespoons (30 mL) thinly sliced lemon grass bulb
4 cups (1 L) sliced carrots
3 1/2 cups (875 mL) water
1 3/4 cups (435 mL) coconut milk or 1 can (12 ounces/355 mL)
3 tablespoons (45 mL) fresh basil or 1 tablespoon (15 mL) dried
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt
1 tablespoon (15 mL) lime juice
Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat; add the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, and lemon grass and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the carrots, water, coconut milk, basil, and salt; bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Transfer soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot and reheat it, then add the lime juice, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

Per cup (250 mL): calories: 159, protein: 2 g, fat: 14 g, carbohydrate: 10 g (3 g from sugar), dietary fibre: 2 g, calcium: 50 mg, iron: 2 mg, magnesium: 39 mg, phosphorus: 84 mg, potassium: 386 mg, sodium: 175 mg, zinc: 1 mg, thiamin: 0.1 mg, riboflavin: 0.1 mg, niacin: 2 mg, vitamin B6: 0.2 mg, folate: 24 mcg, pantothenic acid: 0.3 mg, vitamin B12: 0 mcg, vitamin A: 571 mcg, vitamin C: 6 mg, vitamin E: 0.5 mg, omega-6 fatty acids: 0.2 g, omega-3 fatty acids: 0 g

Percentage of calories from protein 5%, fat 71%, carbohydrate 24%