Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup

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This Carrot Harissa Soup is creamy yet healthy and is easy to make, thanks to the Instant Pot. Packed with healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins, it’s a perfect marriage of spicy, smoky, and sweet flavors.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
5 from 1 vote

Here on the east coast, the temperatures have started to drop (it’s 27°F or -2.7°C as I type this), so I’ve been cozying up to all of the warming comfort food. While I don’t shy away from indulgent comfort food like Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells, I also like to throw in some less heavy dishes that are still comforting and cozy. Like this Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup.

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Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup

Let’s talk about all the reasons I like this soup.

First of all, this is a very, very creamy soup, which means it feels satisfying and even indulgent, even thought it’s just soup. Of course it’s even better when you have a crusty piece of bread for dunking purposes, IMHO. At the same time, it’s a very nourishing soup that’s made with vitamin-rich carrots and peppers, anti-inflammatory ginger and garlic, and healthy fats from tahini and coconut milk.

Secondly, this soup is intensely flavorful, with a nice marriage of smoky and spicy aromas. Most of the spiciness and smokiness come from harissa, a Tunisian chile paste that’s smoky and spicy and is made with dried chilies, spices, garlic, and olive oil. I love this brand, but Trader Joe’s also sells a decent one. I am pretty generous with the harissa, so this soup has a real kick to it. If you are sensitive to spicy food, use less harissa (about 1-2 tablespoons instead of 3 tablespoons).

Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup
Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup

While I am not always a fan of smoky food (it reminds me of smoked meat TBH), the smokiness from the harissa and roasted red bell pepper work nicely in this soup because it’s well balanced by the spiciness, sweetness from the carrots, creaminess from the tahini and coconut milk, and acidity from the lemon juice. Speaking of acidity, I’m a firm believer in finishing most cooked dishes with a bit of acidity, such as freshly squeezed citrus or some sort of vinegar, as the acid brightens and freshens up the heaviness and richness. So don’t skip the squeeze of lemon juice at the end!

Another plus for this soup: it is ridiculously easy to make thanks to the Instant Pot. After you roast the bell pepper and lightly sauté the aromatics, the Instant Pot takes care of the rest of the cooking. It’s a breeze to make soups in the Instant Pot, so if you’re looking for more Instant Pot recipes, you can find some here.

Finally, this soup makes an excellent choice for a weekly meal prep because the leftovers will stay good for at least 5 days in your fridge.

I don’t have much else to say about this Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup, so I hope you enjoy this easy recipe!

Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup
Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup

Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup

5 from 1 vote
This Carrot Harissa Soup is creamy yet healthy and is easy to make, thanks to the Instant Pot. Packed with healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins, it’s a perfect marriage of spicy, smoky, and sweet flavors.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Cuisine: Morrocan-Inspired
Diet Vegan
Keyword: carrot, gluten-free, instant pot, nut-free, soup, soy-free
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for roasting the bell pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds (~680g) carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2- inch piece fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons (~45g) harissa sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/4 cups (540mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup (56g) high-quality tahini
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can lite coconut milk (~400 mL)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Garnishes: chopped scallions and cilantro

Instructions

  • Roast the bell pepper. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Lightly brush a sheet pan with olive oil and place the bell pepper on top. Roast the pepper for 20 minutes, then using a pair of tongs, flip the pepper over and roast for another 20 minutes. Once the pepper is charred in spots, remove from the oven and cover it with a glass bowl or place in a resealable plastic bag. Steam the pepper for 15 minutes. Once steamed, roughly slice the pepper and remove the seeds.
  • While the pepper is roasting, prepare the soup in the Instant Pot. Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot. After a few minutes of heating up, add the 1 tablespoon olive oil, followed by the onion and carrots and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and a few turns of black pepper. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and paprika, and cook for 1-2 minutes, coating the vegetables in the spices. Select the Cancel setting.
  • Add the harissa sauce, bay leaf, vegetable broth, tahini, coconut milk, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine.
  • Select the Pressure Cook or Manual button at high pressure and set the cook time to 10 minutes. Make sure the sealing vent is set to Sealing.
  • Once the timer goes off, perform a quick pressure release by carefully turning the sealing vent from Sealing to Venting. Give the soup a stir and taste for seasonings.
  • Transfer half of the soup to a stand blender and add the sliced roasted bell peppers. Blend until the soup is creamy and smooth. Repeat with the remaining soup. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to purée the soup directly in the Instant Pot. Garnish the soup with scallions and cilantro if desired.

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14 comments on Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Harissa Soup

  1. Maneesha

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this recipe of yours, Nisha! Absolutely delicious!! Love the addition of Harissa!

  2. Lottie

    Hi Nisha, this was delicious and I just wanted to thank you SO much for also including metric measurements on the recipe, I can’t even tell you how much it honestly helps 💕

  3. Kate

    Hi!
    Any thoughts on subbing jarred (store bought) roasted red peppers and harissa seasoning instead of sauce?
    Trying to squeeze an extra dinner in before my next trip to the grocery store :-D

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Kate,Store-bought roasted red peppers are totally fine. I haven’t tried this with harissa seasoning myself, but I’m sure it’ll still be tasty, just might not have as much depth of flavor. But this soup is really flavorful as is, so I think it’ll be fine :)

  4. Nikki

    If we don’t have an instant pot how would you modify the directions? Thanks!

  5. Rasika Venkatraman

    Hi Nisha!! I tried this soup tonight and we were blown away by how good it was!! Amazing complex flavors and so heartwarming on a cold night. We don’t have an instant pot so I made this stovetop (pre-microwaved the carrots for a few minutes beforehand) and it worked out perfect!I even tried to copy your garnish, my husband was so impressed! :)

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Rasika! Thank you for your thoughtful comment! So glad you and your family enjoyed this soup and the complex flavors. Great to know it can be made without the Instant Pot, I’m sure other readers will find that useful :)

  6. Lisa

    Can you freeze this soup!! It’s fantastic! I’m just afraid we won’t be able to eat it all because it made 2 quarts!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Lisa! So glad you enjoyed the soup :) Yes, you can freeze the soup – it should freeze pretty well!

      1. Barbara Larpenter

        I intend to try this tonight. Sounds wonderful and will let you know how It liked it!

  7. Amy

    When does the pepper go into the soup?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Oops forgot to add that :) It goes in at the final step in the blender. I’ve updated the recipe to reflect that. Thanks for pointing that out, Amy!

  8. Valerie Garcia

    Looks delicious! Not sure when to add the lemon juice…I think I will add it along with the broth?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Valeria! Oops didn’t include the last step! The lemon juice goes in at the very end after you’ve blended the soup. It adds a nice balance to the creaminess and spicness.

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