Carrot soup with miso and sesame: 53 cents/serving

Yes, yes, I know: more carrots. What can I say? Our crisper is packed with them. They’re 50 cents a pound at most; can be pickled, roasted, pureed, or eaten raw for a snack; and last practically forever in cold storage. I realize this dish is veering into pious, ascetic spa-food territory—territory I usually prefer to enter wielding some bacon strips and a six-pack of beer like a crucifix—but I saw the recipe on Smitten Kitchen earlier this month and filed it away for consideration because we have a tub of miso that’s about to expire. Turns out that while this soup is indeed virtuous—vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, you name it—it’s also incredibly satisfying. Unfortunately for the picture, however, I tried to artfully drizzle the sesame oil over the top instead of just pouring it on haphazardly as I normally would, and it ended up looking like an abstract modernist painting of human eggs being fertilized (don’t ask me what the green onions are. Confetti? Perhaps the sperm are having a party?). So, I apologize.

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

• 2 lbs. carrots, peeled and thinly sliced: 99 cents
• 1 onion, chopped: 25 cents
• 1 T grated or finely minced ginger: 9 cents
• 4 large or 6 small garlic cloves, minced: 5 cents
• 4 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock, which is what I used): 28 cents
• 2 T oil: 6 cents
• 1/4 cup white miso paste (this is way cheaper at the Asian market and keeps about a year in the fridge): 30 cents
• Salt & pepper to taste: 2 cents
• Drizzle of toasted sesame oil: 8 cents
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced (garden): $0
TOTAL: $2.12/4 = 53 cents/serving

Heat the oil in a large soup pot with a lid over medium meat. Add the onions, carrots and garlic, cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. (Don’t add salt until the end, because the miso is pretty salty.)

Add the ginger and the broth/stock, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until carrots are falling-apart tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Puree with a stick blender or in batches in a regular blender until smooth. Remove 1/2 cup of the soup and whisk it with the 1/4 cup miso, stir it back into the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in bowls garnished with the onions and drizzled with sesame oil.

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