The first days back post-vacation are always rough. There are no two ways around that.
On vacation, you spend seven days eating, drinking, sunning, and swimming with the six people in the universe you love the most. Each day is a similar repetition of the previous: early morning yoga with Paul followed by an hour-long swim in the turquoise sound, lattes from The Bean and cherry scones from the bake shop, window shopping and puppy stalking with your sisters, lunch from your favorite sandwich shop and mandatory dips into the south-facing waters, a quick golden hour jaunt to the brewery for a local beer, ending the night with island scallops for dinner and mint oreo in a waffle cone for dessert.
There are tears when you leave because seven days in your favorite place in the world came and went all too quickly. As the steamship trudges out of the harbor, you join your sisters in your 20-year tradition of throwing a penny over your shoulders towards the lighthouse, silently wishing to return the following year. The thirty miles back to the mainland seem to take a dreaded eternity, and you reluctantly come to accept that vacation has come to an end.
And then it takes you eight hours to get home when it should only take five. On Monday morning, you walk by a guy getting handcuffed in the middle of the bus station at 8am. A taxi decides you’re a good target to run down as you innocently cross the street. Since you’ve been unplugged for a week, there are hundreds of emails to sort through and meetings in which you must be (or at least appear to be) attentive.
Food at home just isn’t of the same caliber, and you have trouble getting inspired by your usually healthy routine after a week of indulgence. Scones and Something Natural sandwiches and scallops sound more appealing than some kind of healthy soup.
But the soup is the right choice, even if you grumble about it. It’s vibrant in color and flavor, deceptively creamy and complex, and it’s vegan. You admit to yourself it’s a good way to jumpstart the post-vacation health kick, even if your dreams are filled with residual vacation memories of chocolate covered cranberries and hibiscus margaritas rimmed with chili-lime salt.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2-3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced (the more ginger you use, the spicier the soup will be)
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped + more for garnish
4-5 cups carrots, diced
3-4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup light coconut milk*
salt & pepper to taste
handful of pita chips
something green (scallions, kale, thyme)
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add diced onion and ginger and sauté for approximately 4 minutes until softened and fragrant. Add garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Add coriander, thyme, and diced carrots and stir to mix everything together. Add vegetable broth and reduce heat, allowing the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes (until the carrots are completely soft). Turn heat off and allow soup to cool down for about 20 minutes.
In a blender, puree soup in small batches (hot liquid rises when it’s blended, so be careful. Or you can use an immersion blender). Return puree to pot and stir in coconut milk, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or chilled with a side of pita chips and something green on top.
*Coconut milk can be optional. I’ve made this soup with and without it: with, the soup is super creamy and indulgent. Without, it’s clean and crisp.