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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pumpkin Soup


I serve this soup as a simple starter when I'm short on time. It's easy to throw together and doesn't take long to cook, if you have pumpkin purée already on hand and a well-stocked spice cabinet.

Pumpkin is full of fiber and disease-fighting nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, iron,  calcium and magnesium. It also contains B vitamins and trace minerals like copper and manganese that are essential for healthy bones. My recipe contains turmeric, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

This soup is stand-alone good, but feel free to finish it with a dollop of whole milk plain yogurt or more coconut milk.

Fresh chopped cilantro, toasted pumpkin seeds and/or coconut flakes make great garnishes too.

For a dairy-free, vegan version, omit the yogurt and use olive oil instead of butter. 

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter 
1 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
Pinch cayenne
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
Ground nutmeg to taste
Ground peppercorn to taste
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup vegetable broth
14 oz canned pumpkin
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

To garnish:

More coconut milk
Organic whole milk plain yogurt
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Oven-toasted pumpkin seeds
Unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes

In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, warm the butter or olive oil and sauté the onion until soft and starting to brown.

Grate in the garlic and ginger. Stir to combine. Add the rest of the spices: cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Stir to coat the onion evenly with the spices. Continue to cook until they spices warm and start to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the vegetable broth and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until nearly ready to serve, 10 minutes or more.

To finish the soup, add the coconut milk and purée with an immersion blender until smooth. Continue cooking to bring the soup back up to temperature, then remove it from the heat.

Garnish the soup with yogurt or coconut milk and pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, and/or fresh chopped cilantro.

Serve immediately.

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