Pumpkin Soup Recipe
For a warming soup to comfort and soothe, you can’t beat a deliciously sweet bowl of pumpkin soup. Packed with nutrients, color and flavor, you only need a handful of ingredients and less than an hour of your time to whip up a simple but tasty meal that all your family will love. And the best pumpkin soup recipe is also the simplest to make.
So, if pumpkin is a little bit of you, here’s how to make the ultimate winter warmer.
The Lowdown on Pumpkin Soup
A popular dish in the US, pumpkin soup is particularly associated with Thanksgiving and Halloween. It is also a traditional soup in many parts of Africa, including Mozambique, Namibia and Haiti. With its bright orange color and sweet yet savory taste, a simple pumpkin soup is made from a recipe of pumpkin or squash puree and stock and can be served hot or cold.
Pumpkins are part of the squash – or Cucurbitaceae – family and there are five common types: ficifolia, maxima, mixta, moschata and pepo. The pepo is the variety typically used in the US for cooking and is a bright orange type of winter squash with a smooth, tough skin. Inside the pumpkin you get the seeds and the soft, sweet orange flesh. When cooked, the whole pumpkin is actually edible, including the skin, pulp and seeds with only the stringy membranes around the seeds needing to be removed.
Health Benefits of the Pumpkin
Although widely considered a vegetable, the pumpkin is actually a fruit as it contains seeds and is a nutritional powerhouse when it comes to the vitamins and minerals it contains. As well as tasting delicious, pumpkin is also relatively low in calories due to its high-water content.
The nutritional profile of the pumpkin is pretty impressive – not only do you get fiber and good carbs, you also get a host of antioxidants and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and folate. Then there’s the all-important vitamins, with pumpkin an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C as well as beta-carotene. Eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet, the humble pumpkin is believed to help support your immune system as well as your eye, heart and skin health and is an all-round health and vitality booster. Just another reason to get making pumpkin soup!
The Best Pumpkins to Use
When it comes to making a super-tasty and healthy pumpkin soup recipe, the pumpkin you pick can make all the difference. If you can avoid the pumpkins you would use for a jack-o-lantern, they can be bland and watery but opt for something a little more flavorsome and with substance to their flesh. Look for varieties that are labeled for pies and cooking, such as Cinderella, New England Pie and Fairy Tale. A butternut squash will also work if you can’t find a cooking pumpkin.
A pumpkin between four and eight pounds is a good size to use for a soup. Selecting your pumpkin is also important – look for ones that are blemish-free without any soft spots in the skin and make a hollow sound when you knock on it.
The Best Ever Pumpkin Recipe
Sometimes less is more and that is certainly the case when it comes to the best pumpkin soup recipe. Pumpkin soup can always be spiced up to taste, but the starting point is to get the basic soup just right. Always look for quality ingredients and use a large saucepan or soup maker, if you prefer.
This easy pumpkin soup recipe should be enough to feed six people and takes less than an hour to prep and cook.
For this simple pumpkin soup, you will need:
- 1kg of pumpkin, peeled and deseeded
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 700ml vegetable or chicken stock
- 150ml double cream
- Croutons (optional)
- 4 slices crustless wholemeal bread
- Handful of pumpkin seeds
- Heat the oil in the saucepan then add the chopped onions and gently sauté for around five minutes or until soft (but not browned)
- Chop the pumpkin into small chunks and add to the pan and cook for a further 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until it all starts to soften and turn a lovely golden
- Now pour in the stock and season with salt and pepper before bringing it to the boil.
- Turn down the heat and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until the squash is very soft
- Pour in the double cream and bring back to the boil
- Remove the pan from the heat and puree the soup with a hand blender. For an even smoother, velvety consistency, pour the soup through a fine sieve.
To Make the Croutons
- Cut the crustless wholemeal bread into small squares
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the bread squares until they start to crisp
- Add the pumpkin seeds to the pan and cook for a few more minutes until toasted.
Ladle the soup in warm bowls and scatter a handful of croutons and toasted pumpkin seeds on top. This easy pumpkin recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days and can also be frozen.
Tips on Serving Your Pumpkin Soup
While our simple pumpkin soup recipe is delicious enough to serve on its own, it can also be adapted to create different flavors or textures, depending on your taste. Here are just a few ideas on how to give your pumpkin soup an extra twist:
Veg it up: You can add more subtle flavors to complement the sweetness of the pumpkin by adding a few more vegetables. Try chopped leek instead of onion or add a potato for a thicker consistency or if you want to add a sweet/sour dimension, add a chopped- up cooking apple for a delicious zing.
Roast it: Oven-roasting the pumpkin before making your soup will add a creamy, caramelized flavor. Roast your pumpkin with some cloves of garlic for an extra rich taste.
Get spicy: A little sprinkle of spice to the onions as you sauté them will take the flavor to another dimension. Pick your favorite spice or opt for earthy cumin. Cinnamon and nutmeg are another combination that works beautifully with pumpkin. Or simply grind in more pepper to the soup before blending for a little bit of heat.
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Try some toppings: As well as croutons, experiment with different toppings for your pumpkin soup. Toasted pumpkin seeds mixed with pistachios and toasted sliced almonds will add a gorgeous crunchy texture. Or fry off some finely sliced onions until crunchy – they look stunning piled in the middle of the soup and tastes sublime. And finally, a simple swirl of sour cream and a few chili flakes can be all you need to make a truly special pumpkin soup treat that will keep your guests coming back for more!