If you’ve read my previous two posts, you know that I have been traveling and, hence, not grocery shopping. Late this week, starving, I suddenly realized we had precious little in the fridge or pantry to make a whole meal out of. Literally, the only produce on hand were baby carrots and a half a tomato that had seen better days.

So, the tomato had to be composted and the carrots had to be the main event, but how to prepare them so that they would be a full meal? A quick look in the pantry revealed a can of lite coconut milk and some ancient boil-in-bag brown rice. With these ingredients, a couple more staples, and a little Vietnamese basil, mint and chives from the garden, I knew I could make a delicious soup that would betray it’s “desperation dinner” roots.

I hope you find it as beautiful and tasty as I did.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 cups baby carrots
2 cups vegetable stock
1-15 ounce can lite coconut milk (yes, the regular has more flavor, but I just can’t justify those calories; if you can, feel free to substitute!)
6 tablespoons vegan fish sauce, or to taste (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)
approximately 12-16 leaves fresh Asian basil (mine is a Vietnamese variety)
approximately 12-16 leaves fresh mint
brown or white rice (Jasmine is particularly good with Asian dishes, but I had brown)
Fresh chives or basil/mint sprigs for garnish

In a large soup pot over medium high, heat olive oil to shimmering. Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until a little color develops. Add carrots, veggie stock, coconut milk and herbs. Simmer until carrots are very tender. (Meanwhile prepare rice according to package directions.) Process in a food processor in two batches. Reheat if needed, check for salt and add if needed, and serve in bowls with an ice cream scoop of rice. Garnish with herbs as desired.
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