Roasted Carrot and Red Lentil Soup with Carrot Top Pesto

This is a beautiful silky smooth fall inspired soup with a bit of added texture from the carrot top pesto.  The roasted carrots mixed with the red lentils are a harmonious blend.  It is a delightful soup all on its own or with the addition of the carrot top pesto, which adds another facet of savory flavors.


It has really started to feel like fall around here with the cold air of the mornings and nights.  Growing up in L.A., there is really no such thing as fall.  Not like when I lived in Oregon with all the outstanding vibrant fall colors and crisp cold air.  Fall in Northern California isn’t like Oregon but it’s a little more colorful than L.A.  Now is the time to enjoy a nice warm bowl of soup, curled up on the couch with a cozy blanket by the fireplace.

 Fall represents a time of letting go, releasing the old and embrace the new.  Fall is truly a time of transition. As the leaves fall off the trees, they bare their branches to remind us how all things in life come and go.

 This is the perfect healthy soup to start off the fall season.  The carrot and carrot tops both contain antioxidants, which helps to keep colds away.  The carrot tops provide chlorophyll and more than 6 times the vitamin C than the carrots themselves.  Together they are even more nutritious than on their own.


I like a dry Rosé wine with this soup but it’s also good with a Pinot Gris or hot cup of tea.


Recipe: 8 to 10 servings

  • 7 to 8 (2 pounds)  Carrots
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Dried Red Lentils
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves – minced
  • 2 Vegetable Bouillon Cubes
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 10 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme or 1 Teaspoon Fresh
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoons Sea Salt
Carrot Top Pesto
  •  1 1/2 Cups Carrot Tops
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil
  • 3/4 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 3/4 Cup Aged Asiago Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea salt


Preheat oven to 375
Cut the ends off the carrots and cut into 1 inch pieces.
Spread the carrots out on a baking sheet and pour a tablespoon of olive oil over the carrots, lightly sprinkle with salt and toss to evenly coat.  Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, until the carrots are cooked through and starting to caramelize.
 Wash the carrot tops and dry them, shred the cheese and measure all the ingredients, then puree in a food processor or blender.  Set aside.

Add the onions to a 5 1/2 quart pot with the olive oil and saute on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 – 7 more minutes until the garlic starts to brown.

Add the white wine and bouillon cubes, mash the bouillon, cook until wine is reduced and syrupy.

Measure, sort and rinse lentils until water runs clear. Add lentils and water, bring to a boil then reduce to medium low heat.  Skim off the starch and cook until lentils are soft.  (about 15 – 20 minutes)

Add the lentils and carrots to a food processor or blender and puree in 2 to 3 batches. Or use an immersion blender right in the pot.


 Health benefits:

Carrots contain beta-carotene that is then converted into vitamin A in your liver and helps restore vision. They lower the risk of coronary heart disease and are high in antioxidants that help in cancer prevention. They may also help with blood sugar regulation, delay the effects of aging, and improve the immune system.

Carrot tops are very healing and can help rid the body of toxins due to their antiseptic, diuretic and stimulating properties.  They are full of chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, especially Vitamin K, potassium and they contain 6 times more Vitamin C than the carrot themselves.

Yellow Split Pea Basil Soup with Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers

If you have never tried yellow split peas before, do yourself a favor and try them.  They are much more mild than the green variety.  Unlike the green variety, they continue to be bright and cheerful after cooking.  The red, yellow and green colors in this soup are so gorgeous.  The flavor is also phenomenal with the roasted peppers, basil and pecorino cheese.  Seriously guys, it’s delicious!  Serve it with your favorite crusty bread!


Robby and I had a great time this weekend.  Our friends Beto, Jill, Paloma and baby Severin stayed over Saturday night.  Erin, Leif and Taj came over to join us all for a taco dinner.  Erin made an incredibly delicious chocolate basil tart with a grapefruit jam to go on top.  It was a fun night full of food, wine, laughter and nonstop talking as it always is with this group.

On Sunday, we had a beach picnic, which is always a great time with Paloma!  Paloma insisted on becoming a mermaid, so Beto made her a mermaid tail out of sand while Robby made a barricade of seaweed so Paloma wouldn’t get washed away.  They decorated it with seaweed, shells and sand crab shells.  She loved it!


I was just on Thalia’s blog “Butter and Brioche” (if you haven’t been to her blog, check it out!) and she just posted an incredible Tiramisu ice cream dessert.  I thought it was ironic because she is posting a cold ice cream dessert in the middle of the Australian winter while I’m posting a hot soup recipe in the middle of summer in California.  It just goes to show that you can eat whatever you want regardless of the weather!


This soup is perfect with a nice cold glass of Verdejo!  Or a crisp white wine of your choice.


Recipe: 8 – 10 servings

  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Unsalted Vegetable Bouillon Cubes
  • 10 Cups Filtered Water
  • 2 Cups Dried Yellow Split Peas
  • 2 (about 1 1/4 cup) Red Bell Peppers – roasted – diced
  • 2 (about 1 1/4 cup) Yellow Bell Peppers – roasted – diced
  • 1 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese – finely shredded – packed
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil – packed – minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Hot Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh or Frozen Corn
  • 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper


Add the onions to a saute pan with olive oil and saute on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 – 7 more minutes until the garlic starts to brown.

Then add the white wine and bouillon cubes, cook until wine is reduced and syrupy.

Add the 10 cups of filtered water to the onions.  Measure and sort thru the peas to ensure that there are no rocks. Rinse them in a colander and add them to the onions.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until peas are super soft.

 While the peas are cooking, roast the peppers and then put them into a covered dish to steam for 10 minutes.  Remove the stem and seeds and then dice the peppers. Add them to the peas.

Shred the cheese and mince the basil. Set aside.


Health benefits:

 Bell Peppers are matured green bell peppers and have more nutrition as they mature.  They are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.

Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

Potato Cheddar and Roasted Pepper Soup

I guarantee this soup will satisfy your comfort food cravings.  It has such amazing flavors from the cheese with the combination of the roasted red, yellow and poblano peppers.


 Last Saturday, Robby and I had a nice lunch at Bittersweet Bistro before heading to Palo Alto to meet Beto and Jill’s new baby boy Severin.  It is so amazing to meet a beautiful soul such as Severin!  He is the cutest little guy ever and he looks just like Beto but he also looks like Jill and Paloma!  I thought it would be nice to bring some comfort food to Beto and Jill.  I made homemade beans, homemade fresh tomato sauce and this soup.  Jill hasn’t slept much so Robby, Beto, Paloma and I went to dinner at a great sushi restaurant called Kanpai, which was delicious.  Sunday was a lazy day around the house in the morning and then we had a nice afternoon at the beach for lunch.


A nice crisp white wine is simply the best with this soup.  Try a Sauvignon Blanc, a dry Riesling, Pinot Gris or a white Rioja.


Recipe – Approx. 8 – 10 servings – about 16 cups

  • 5 (4 lb.) Large Russet Potatoes – peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper – roasted
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper – roasted
  • 1 Poblano Pepper – roasted
  • 2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Corn
  • 10 Cups Filtered Water
  • 2 Cups Low Fat Milk
  • 3 Cups Cheddar Cheese (I used Organic Valley Raw Sharp Cheddar)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt or to Taste


Place the cubed potatoes into a large bowl covered in filtered water.

Add the onion and olive oil to a 5 1/2 quart pot or dutch oven and sauté on medium-low heat for 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook until garlic just start to brown.

Add wine and cook until reduced and it has a syrupy consistency.

Roast the peppers.  Dice the peppers into small cubes and set aside.

Add the water and potatoes to the onions then cook on high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook 25 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Take half of the potatoes and some water then puree in food processor or blender.

Pour pureed potatoes back in the pot and add the milk, salt and pepper.  Cook for a few minutes to heat it back up and slowly stir in the cheese, cook until cheese is completely melted.

Add the peppers and corn.


Health benefits:

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value.  They are great for your immune system and help to reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma. They contain lycopene a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes, which is great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas. They are also helpful with increasing oxygen so the body can burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.

They’re also full of vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium.

 Bell Peppers are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.   Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.

White Bean Potato Leek Soup with Fresh Peas and Spring Onion Pesto

This is a hearty and flavorful soup.  Who doesn’t like peas with potatoes?  They are a perfect match!  The spring onion pesto adds a whole other dimension of flavor to this soup.


It may be summer, but it is June gloom here in Northern California and this soup is perfect for this weather.  Robby prefers this soup chunky and I can’t decide which way I like it, chunky or pureed.  So, I split the batch and purred half.  It’s kind of like having two different soups.  Robby also prefers his without the pesto and I love it with it.  As you can see this is a very versatile soup.  How would you serve it?


This soup is great with a Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or Rose.


Recipe: 6 – 12 servings = 12 cups


  • 2 Cups White Beans
  • 12 Cups + 10 reserved Cups Filtered Water – or as needed
  • 2 Pounds Yellow Potatoes – diced
  • 4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Onion – diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 2 Large Leeks – cleaned, quartered and sliced (about 4 cups sliced)
  • 1/4 Dry White Wine
  • 2 Vegetable Bouillon Cubes – unsalted
  • 1 Tablespoon + 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Peas – about 1 tablespoons per one cup – or to taste
 Pesto (optional)
  • 1 1/2  Cups Spring Onion Greens or Green Onions
  • 1/4 Cup Asiago Cheese – finely grated
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Almonds
  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste


1.  Sort through the beans to remove any rocks and rinse.  Add the beans to a large pot and add 12 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and turn to medium-high heat for 1 hour.

2.  While beans are cooking, dice the potatoes into ½ inch cubes; add to a bowl covered with water.  Set aside.

3.  Dice the onion and mince the garlic.  Add the onion to a large Dutch oven or a large 5-quart pot. Turn heat to medium-low and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and sauté for 5 – 7 minutes more or until onions are soft and garlic just starts to become lightly golden.

4.  Once the garlic becomes golden, add bouillon cubes and wine to the onions.   Mash the bouillon to dissolve then add the leeks and stir often until the leeks just soften (about 5 minutes). Add a tablespoon of water and the remaining two tablespoons of oil to deglaze.  Turn the heat off the leeks.

5.  Make the pesto.  Cut off the green tops of the spring onions, wash, dry and chop the green leaves into one inch pieces then add to a food processor or blender.  Add all the remaining ingredients and puree.  If you want it really smooth I often use an immersion blender after I use the food processor.

6.  After the beans start to soften (but not totally cooked) pour the beans and the bean water into the leek mix.  Add the potatoes, thyme and 8 more cups of water.  Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium and cook until beans and potatoes are completely cooked. (about an hour – depends the age of the beans)

7.  Meanwhile,  remove peas from their pods (if using fresh peas), measure and put into a pot of filtered water.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and leave in the water for 1 minute.  (use a timer)  Drain in a colander and rinse with filtered water.  Set aside.

8.  When the beans are done, add the vinegar, salt and pepper to the soup.

*You can either leave the soup chunky or puree with an immersion blender, blender or food processor.  Stir in the remaining 2 cups of water after pureeing.

Top with pesto and peas.


Health benefits:

Leeks allicin content reduces cholesterol production, blood pressure, blood vessel stiffness and protects the lining. Leeks help chronic low-level inflammations like in diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis. They contain polyphenols that are known to be strong antioxidants that fight against free radicals, which help with chronic disease and aging. They are a good sources of vitamin-A, C and K.

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold’s content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.

White Beans are a super source of dietary fiber, which is good for the prevention of constipation, also helps digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. They are great for heart health because of their significant amounts of folate (support of red blood cell formation, one cup of the cooked beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate) and magnesium (lowers blood pressure). They are good for helping insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady energy.

*Health Sources

Red Lentil Piquillo Pepper Bisque

This is a truly delightful and velvety smooth soup!  It has incredible flavor with blended piquillo peppers, tomato, lentils, manchego cheese and toasted almonds!


I made this soup on Wednesday and brought it to the farmers market to let my favorite ceramic artists Tom and Jasper to taste.  They shared it with two other guys and they gave me four thumbs up!  Yayyyy, I love feedback, especially positive feedback.

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of meeting a fellow food blogger that I admire very much!  Her name is Pang from the fantastic blog “Circa Happy“!  If you don’t know about Circa Happy, I highly recommend it!  She has to be one of the sweetest people/blogger out there and her photography is out of this world!  She is so sweet in person and it shows in her posts.  It is so awesome to meet someone that you have only communicated with through the internet.  We met up in San Jose for lunch and a little shopping at a very cool outside mall called Santana Row.  We talked about everything and of course food photography and blogging.  We plan to meet again!   The best part about making a big batch of soup is that it is so nice to be able to heat some up after a long day out and call it a night!


I enjoy this with a red Rioja and a white rioja, so it pretty much goes with any dry red or dry white wine.


Recipe: Approx. 8 – 10 servings

Piquillo Puree

  • 1 10 oz. Jar Piquillo Peppers (without sugar add) – rinse and remove seeds
  •  1 Cup Strained Tomatoes (I used Bionaturae in a glass jar) or 1 Large Tomato – grated, skin discarded
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Manchego Cheese ( I used raw aged 12 months – Mitica)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
  • 2 Teaspoons Hot Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt


  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 White Onions – diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves – minced
  • 1 Bouillon Cube – vegetarian – unsalted
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Cups Red Lentils – sorted  and rinsed
  • 8 Cups Filtered Water

Garnish (optional, but so good)

  • Red Cabbage – thinly sliced
  • Creme Fraiche
  • Toasted Almonds – roughly chopped


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F

Toast almonds – spread out on a cookie sheet and bake on the middle rack for 18 minutes (put a timer on so you don’t burn).   Let cool, then roughly chop.

While almonds are toasting, dice the onion and add to a 4 to 5 1/2 quart soup pot or dutch oven along with the olive oil.  Sauté on medium heat.
Mince the garlic and add to onions and sauté for about 10 – 15 minutes or until garlic is slightly golden.
 Add wine and bouillon.  Mash bouillon cube to dissolve and cook until wine is syrupy.
While onions are cooking, measure lentils, sort for any rocks and rinse.  Set aside.
When the onions are finished cooking, add water and lentils.  Turn up heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until lentils are soft.
While lentils are cooking, make the piquillo puree.  In a food processor or blender; puree the piquillo peppers, crushed tomato sauce (if using a tomato, cut in half and grate on a cheese grater with the cut side of the tomato down), almonds, cheese, vinegar, paprika and salt.  Add the puree to soup when the lentils are finished cooking.
Puree with a hand held blender (immersion blender) or you can use a food processor but it won’t be as smooth.
Health benefits:
Piquillo peppers are a high source of fiber, and Vitamins C, E, A, and B.  The vitamin C content is as high as a citrus fruit.  They improve the blood circulation and reduce high blood pressure.  They also help reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and promote healthy cholesterol.
Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady steam of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health.  They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K.  They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth.