Vivien shares one of her autumn secrets to getting the healthiest glow – starting from the inside out with her delicious pumpkin soup.
By: Vivien Veil
The UK throws away 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin flesh after carving out lanterns, but those people are missing a trick. Pumpkins make perfect winter warming dishes – starting with this rich and vibrant soup. So instead of binning your scooped-out pumpkin goodness, grab your apron and prepare to be amazed at how appetising this seasonal superfood tastes.
As some of you know, I absolutely love soups. They’re my favourite, especially as the nights draw in and the weather gets colder. Nothing beats a comforting bowl of warm soup, particularly when it involves winter vegetables like pumpkin. Besides being so filling, you can use this winter squash in so many dishes. You can eat it in every form – roasted stuffed with quinoa, mashed like potatoes as a divine side dish, and in baked bread – so naturally it only seems perfect that you can use it as a soup, too!
I’ve always been a soup person – thanks to my beautiful mother. She’s the queen of making delicious and hearty soups. I prefer thicker soups as they’re more filling and satisfying. That’s why I love this pumpkin soup. The combination of roasted thyme pumpkin with spicy jalapeño pepper really does taste heavenly.
Pumpkins are robust vegetables making the soup perfectly rich and creamy – despite me not using any dairy! This vegetable is incredibly generous in key antioxidants and vitamins. This humble squash is a storehouse of vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Not to mention the many other energy-giving B vitamins – this soup really is the perfect winter flu fighter!
I also love adding a handful or two of toasted pumpkin seeds on top of my soup. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of plant protein, fibre, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, zinc, and tryptophan.
The rule of thumb with pumpkins and squash is the smaller ones contain more flavour than the larger ones, which tend to be a little tasteless. You can serve the soup in small hollowed out pumpkins for a beautiful presentation to impress your friends and family. Children get a kick eating out of them!
The Perfect Pumpkin Soup Recipe
- 2 medium pumpkins
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- Coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 red onions, finely chopped
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- 2-3 sticks of fresh thyme
- 1/2 large jalapeño, chopped
- 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or balsamic vingear (sulfite-free)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Roasted pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top
- 1/4-cup coconut milk [optional]
- Cut the top of the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half to remove the seeds. Scoop out the seeds and place them in a bowl.
- Cut up the pumpkin into small chunks and place them in a large bowl. Warm up your coconut oil in a saucepan until it’s melted (no need to do this step if using olive oil). Pour over the small pumpkin chunks in the large bowl, and mix well.
- Place the chunks on a baking tray with the unpeeled garlic cloves and a few sticks of thyme.
- Splash some apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar onto the chunks of pumpkin. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Pop the baking tray into the oven at 190°C/375°F for about 25 minutes, until soft and caramelised. Leave to cool a bit, so that you can peel off the garlic skins with your hands.
- Next, get the pumpkin seeds. Rinse them under cold water in a sieve. Then place in a bowl and remove the pulp with your hands. Get a saucepan and boil some water. Add 2 tsp of sea salt and boil over low medium heat for about 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
- Place the pumpkin seeds on another baking tray and massage them with coconut oil (warm it in a saucepan if unmelted) or olive oil. Season with sea salt, black pepper, and anything else you desire. I like adding coriander spice and cumin. Place the seeds in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove and shake a bit, before putting them back into the oven for a further 5 minutes, so that the seeds are a gold colour.
- Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil in a deep pan and sauté the red onions until they’re softened. Add in the vegetable stock, roasted pumpkin chunks, and peeled garlic. Let it simmer for 10 minutes or so.
- Next, finely chop the jalapeño, removing the seeds if you don’t want it too hot. Place to the side.
- Now blend everything up – including the jalapéno in a blender or food processor – in small batches of course.
- [Optional] Warm up the coconut milk in a saucepan on low heat. Put to the side.
- Serve with swirls of coconut milk on top along with the roasted pumpkin seeds and fresh thyme leaves. The soup is awesome for storing in large batches in the freezer.
I hope you try this remarkable soup recipe, and please let me know if it met your expectations.