This soup uses a number of my go-to tricks for working without onions and garlic: Swiss chard stems for sweetness and bulk, spices and citrus for aroma and acidity, and a flash of fresh herbs and/or scallion greens on top. If you prefer your soup creamy, stir in ½ cup coconut milk, Greek yogurt, or sour cream right before serving.
- In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add Swiss chard stems and a pinch of salt. Cook until the chard stems have softened and started to lose their color, 3 to 5 minutes. Add carrots, ginger, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, lemon zest, turmeric, cumin, caraway (if using), and a few grinds of black pepper. Continue cooking for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the ginger and spices are fragrant.
- Add water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a couple large pinches of salt, then lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cover and simmer until the carrots are very tender (a knife should pierce them easily), about 30 minutes.
- Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Puree the soup in an immersion blender, or in batches in a stand blender. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and add scallions and/or dill on top. Serve warm.
- Make ahead/leftovers: The soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Wait to add the lemon juice until right before serving.
Zoe Fenson is a Bay Area-based writer, editor, and enthusiastic home cook. Her writing on food, health, and body image has appeared in Longreads, The Kitchn, SELF, The New Republic, and elsewhere. She blogs about food at ieatthepeach.wordpress.com and tweets (sporadically) from @ieatthepeach.