Today we are going to prove to you that comfort food can be healthier with this pumpkin soup recipe.
Pumpkin soup is a popular Thanksgiving recipe across the US and a beloved comfort food. The luscious, velvety consistency pairs wonderfully with a buttery aroma from heavy cream and butter to entice the senses.
Some recipes even call for bacon, using the bacon fat to cook the onions and the pieces to garnish the soup with crispy bacon bits, adding a savory taste and contrast in texture. Adding ingredients such as this may make up delicious comfort food, but they aren’t exactly healthy and may not be suitable for most dieters.
Not to worry, we’re going to give you our healthy take on the classic pumpkin soup recipe. No bacon and just a bit of cream, but still rich and tasty!
Is Pumpkin a Fruit?
Pumpkins, squash, and gourds all belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. This family has many members from pumpkin, to cucumber and watermelons.
So pumpkins are squash, but are they fruit or vegetable? Rather than consider the taste – sweet or savory – botanists divide plants based on anatomy.
Vegetables are the edible parts of plants such as roots (carrots), stem (asparagus), flowers (artichokes), tubers (potatoes), bulbs (onions), and leaves (spinach).
Fruits, on the other hand, are the edible reproductive body of a seed plant. From the botanic definition, pumpkin is categorized as a fruit.
Is Pumpkin Soup Healthy?
Unlike most recipes, this pumpkin soup recipe is healthy as it is low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates.
Pumpkin, the base of the soup, is what makes the soup healthy. This winter squash is very rich in vitamin A due to the high level of beta-carotene— a type of carotenoid that gives pumpkins and carrots their signature orange color.
It is also packed with vitamins C and E, and minerals to help boost your immune system. So, to answer the question: yes, this pumpkin soup recipe is healthy.
How to Cook Pumpkin Soup
Preheat the oven to 425°F degrees.
Cut the pumpkin into cubes.
In a small bowl, rub ½ tablespoon of olive oil and chopped garlic over the flesh of the pumpkin.
Place pumpkin on the baking sheet. Roast for around 20 minutes or longer, until the flesh is easily pierced through with a fork.
In a deep skillet or pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and pumpkin. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Then add garlic and parsley to the pan and sear until the garlic is cooked through.
Spread each side of the bread with the butter mixture.
Place bread on a baking sheet and toast at 425°F for about 10 minutes or until the bread is crisp.
Transfer the pumpkin mixture to a blender and blend until smooth (or use an immersion blender). Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper.
Ladle into a bowl or deep dish. Garnish with parsley and serve with garlic bread.
This pumpkin soup recipe is one of the simplest ones to make. The whole process is cooking pumpkin in liquid and blending until smooth.
A simple soup doesn’t equal boring soup. It can be simple and delicious all at once by adding a few ingredients to give the soup more depth of flavor. Here are some tips on how to do so:
– Using roasted pumpkin
Instead of cooking pumpkin in liquids like water, you can roast it until tender and blend with liquids later. Roasting the pumpkin draws out its natural sweetness and gives the soup a greater depth of flavor.
– Adding garlic, onion, and leek
These ingredients can be pungent when they’re raw, but once cooked, they will become sweet and aromatic.
The addition of these gives the dish a new flavor profile. Simply sweat the onion, garlic, or leek (or all 3) in oil or butter before cooking them with the pumpkin.
– Adding more vegetables
Adding in carrots or potatoes in the soup would be a nice way to sneak more veggies into your diet.
You can dice carrots and sweat them with the onion, or cut potatoes into chunks and cook them with the pumpkin. Make sure the vegetables you cook together are cut to about the same size so they cook at a similar rate.
– Using broth or stock instead of water
You should use vegetable or meat broth or stock as they help to give the soup an aspect of umami flavor. It would be better to use unsalted or low-sodium broth if you’re keeping track of your sodium intake.
What Goes with Pumpkin Soup
This pumpkin soup recipe can be made in a few minutes with some ingredients you may already have on hand. For a basic version, it requires only three main elements: pumpkin, garlic, and onions. But if you want to play a bit with the classic recipe, here are some variations:
1. Coconut Milk
Thanks to milk and heavy cream, our pumpkin soup recipe is nothing but rich and full of amazing fall flavors. If you want to twist this recipe to a vegetarian-friendly version, use coconut milk instead of dairy products.
The soup is light, which makes it a great starter for a multi-course meal. Adding different toppings is a creative way to freshen the pumpkin soup’s taste each time making it.
Many pumpkin soup recipes call for baked bacon for a good reason. A little bit of crispy diced bacon adds an interesting contrasting texture to the velvet soup that everyone will love!
3. Black Beans
Black beans sound a bit usual, but they pair nicely with other ingredients in this pumpkin soup recipe. Not only make your soup become healthier, more filling, but also keep you full longer.
You can extend the vegetable choice by adding your favorite veg like carrots, potatoes, or even red capsicum. Carrots add sweetness to the soup, and adding extra vegetables to a dish is always a good thing.
How Long Does Pumpkin Soup Last?
If you want to let the soup come to room temperature, don’t wait for it to cool down for longer than 2 hours.
This is a food safety issue as leaving food out to cool for too long can increase the growth of bacteria, making it spoil more easily. If the temperature is around 90°F or above, put the food in the fridge within 1 hour.
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Soup?
Yes, you can.
If you want your soup to last even longer, put it in an airtight container and keep it in the freezer. It can usually last up to 2 months.
When you defrost and reheat the soup, check the smell, color, and texture to see if it’s still good to eat.
What to Serve with Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin soup is often served with butter garlic bread or crusty toasted bread as an appetizer. This classic combination can never fail. If you want to make pumpkin soup as a complete meal, try to add some protein like chicken or bean.
In case you are in the mood for another healthy soup, our split pea soup is a great option.
Pumpkin Soup Recipe
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- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Cut the pumpkin into 1-inch cubes.
- In a small bowl, rub ½ tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic over the flesh of the pumpkin.
- Place pumpkin on the baking sheet. Roast for around 20 minutes or longer, until the flesh is easily pierced through with a fork.
- In a deep skillet or pot, heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and pumpkin. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Then add garlic and parsley to the pan and sear until the garlic is cooked through.
- Spread each side of the bread with the butter mixture.
- Place bread on a baking sheet and toast at 425°F for about 10 minutes or until bread is crisp.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth (or use an immersion blender). Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle into a bowl or deep dish. Garnish with parsley and serve with garlic bread.
- Be extra careful when handling hot soup or you’ll risk getting burnt. If you have an immersion blender, use it as it can be safer when blending the hot soup. If you don’t, here are some safety tips when blending hot food in a blender.
- Do not close the lid tightly, but leave a small gap for the steam to escape.
- Only fill the jug of the blender half-way full or less because when you blend, the steam from the hot soup will push the lid open, which may cause the soup to splash out.
- Face the spout away from you: in case the soup splashes out, it won’t hit you.
- Place a kitchen cloth over the lid to help hold the lid still while blending.
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