Pumpkin lovers unite! While pumpkin finds its way into a variety of drinks, desserts, and treats, it remains an underused ingredient in savory dishes. This creamy pumpkin soup is a delicious way to bring pumpkin to the dinner (or lunch) table: pumpkin's natural sweetness will appeal to both kids and adults, and it contains an abundant dose of vitamins and beta carotene. Most creamy soup recipes rely on the use of milk or nuts to achieve the right consistency; roasting and then blending the pumpkin with just a handful of ingredients gets the job done here naturally and healthfully. A sprinkle of roasted curry pumpkin seeds adds some crunch and a little heat (or try any of these pumpkin seed variations). Read on for a vegan pumpkin soup that is soothing, warming, satisfying and that will become a go-to fall recipe throughout the autumn season.
1. Gather the ingredients.
- 1 pumpkin (I used a sugar pie pumpkin that was slightly less than 3 pounds, but you can try a number of pumpkin varieties including cow, peanut, or even a different squash such as kabocha. You want to get 7-8 cups worth after chopping to roast)
- 1 cup shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp salt, divided (1 1/2 tsp for roasting the vegetables, and another 1/2 tsp for seasoning the soup as needed)
- 2-3 cups of vegetable broth (or bouillon mixed with water)
- 1/4 cup apple juice or cider (optional, and as needed)
For the roasted curry pumpkin seeds:
- 1- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
2. Chop and roast the soup ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Halve and seed the pumpkin. Don’t throw away seeds! See step 3. Cut the pumpkin into chunks (about 2 inches), and don’t worry about peeling the pumpkin at this point. Peel shallots and peel and smash garlic. Place everything on a large baking sheet. Cover with olive oil and 1 1/2 tsp salt and then stir to make sure olive oil and salt are coating all of the ingredients. Roast for about 20-25 minutes or until pumpkin is soft and easily pierced with a knife, stirring once halfway. Remove the sheet from the oven and reduce the heat to 400.
3. Prepare the pumpkin seeds.
Once you have removed the seeds from the pumpkin, place them in a bowl and cover with water. You will probably have between 1/2 cup-1 cup of pumpkin seeds. Soaking the seeds allows for the pumpkin fibers to come loose more easily. Let the seeds soak for a few minutes (perhaps while you are chopping and preparing the veggies for roasting), and then heat a small pot of water with a pinch of salt to boiling. Add the soaked seeds and let boil for 10 minutes. Drain well and pat dry using a towel. This boiling step makes digesting the seeds easier and yields a crunchier texture.
4. Peel the pumpkins and prepare the soup.
The roasting process makes peeling the pumpkins pieces a snap. The skin pulls back with the help of your fingers, so please wait until the pumpkin pieces have cooled slightly. In a blender, add the pumpkin chunks, garlic, and shallots. Next add about 2 1/2 cups of the prepared vegetable stock. Blend until creamy and smooth, adding more stock, if you would like a thinner texture. You can also add the optional apple juice or cider at this point for a sweeter soup. If you have an immersion blender, you can add the soup ingredients into a pot and blend.
5. Season the soup.
Pour the soup into a pot and add any additional seasonings: I added 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper. If you want a little more heat, you can also add a few teaspoons of curry powder. Heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally.
6. Roast the pumpkin seeds.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and add pumpkin seeds. Drizzle olive oil, curry powder, and tamari (or soy sauce) on top and then mix in the seasonings (with a spoon or your fingers) to make sure that most of the seeds gets covered. Spread out the seeds on the sheet so they get crispier while roasting. Roast for about 15-18 minutes, stirring after the first 10 minutes and then checking frequently to make sure the seeds don’t burn. They should be fragrant and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
7. Serve the soup.
Pour the warmed soup into bowls. Add a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and serve, perhaps with a slice of your favorite bread. Happy fall! Makes 4-6 servings.