When was the last time you tasted pumpkin? Real pumpkin, actual pumpkin. Not pumpkin-flavored or pumpkin-scented.
Earlier this week, I had to go to Target for a few items. I knew that I’d see a section of the store devoted to Halloween - this section not only was full of candy, but also costumes (for people and pets), as well as home decor (indoors and outside). That was all to be expected, but it’s what else I noticed that I didn’t expect to find. Pumpkin-scented hand soap, pumpkin-infused body wash, pumpkin-flavored coffee…the list (unfortunately) goes on and on. I can only guess that the popularity of Starbucks’ Pumpkin-Spiced Latte was the impetus for everything pumpkin, but I can’t understand the why behind the need for everything pumpkin!
I’m a pumpkin lover. I love the color of this ubiquitous Fall squash, the sight of a pumpkin patch makes me giddy. The taste of pumpkin is a flavor that I anticipate and long for all summer, as I get tired of the heat and crave the cool weather. My favorite way to enjoy pumpkin is as a soup. I’ve been making variations of pumpkin soups for years - some recipes are more complex than others, but the earthy flavor of the pumpkin is what I’m seeking. Sometimes, I make a pumpkin soup using the actual pumpkin, which I’ll roast or steam, then peel and purée. It’s a long and cumbersome process, but the result is always delicious. Most often, I’ll use canned pumpkin to make a soup. This shortcut is the easiest way to get pumpkin into your pot and into your belly in no time!
For today’s recipe, the ingredient list is short, but the quality of the ingredients really matters. The pumpkin is the star ingredient, you want to use the best canned pumpkin that you can find. There are several brands of organic canned pumpkin - check the label to make sure that the only ingredient is pumpkin. I like to keep several cans of pumpkin in my pantry, so that I can whip-up this soup whenever my mood dictates the need for a comforting bowl of creamy soup! Speaking of creaminess, there’s no cream in this recipe! The creamy taste and texture comes from blending soaked cashews into the pumpkin. I use cashew pieces, which I find in the bulk section of Mom’s Organic Market. The pieces are the most economical choice for using in recipes where the cashews will be blended instead of kept whole. Note that I don’t recommend substituting another nut (or seed) for the cashews.
I like to top my bowls of soup with some contrasting flavors and textures. Plain unsweetened yogurt (non-dairy works fine) is perfect for cutting the subtle sweetness of the pumpkin. And pepitas, also known as pumpkin seeds, are a natural fit for adding crunch to the creamy soup. You can toast the seeds, if you want, but they already have a bit of crunch without toasting. Perhaps this combination of soup and toppings looks familiar? Have you made my Simply-Spiced Squash Soup? That’s another winner of a soup, just a bit more time-consuming than the ease of opening a can of pumpkin to make today’s recipe!
Now that it’s soup weather, I hope that you’re finding comfort is a cozy bowl of soup. Homemade soup is always best, especially when it’s as easy as opening a can of pumpkin, mixing with a few other ingredients, heating and enjoying! Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. And if you’re looking for other pumpkin recipes, I’ve got them coming to this site very soon!
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Easy & Creamy Pumpkin Soup
recipe adapted from Gena Hamshaw
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
1/4 C raw cashew pieces
1 1/4 C vegetable broth (low-sodium, if preferred)
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 T maple syrup
1 t pumpkin pie spice (or 3/4 t ground cinnamon & 1/4 t ground nutmeg)
sea salt & freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
to serve: 1/4 C plain yogurt & 1/4 C pepitas
Place cashews in a bowl and cover with hot water; soak for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse, and put into a blender.
Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until completely smooth, scraping-down the sides of the container as necessary.
Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and heat gently over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, adding more sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, if desired.
Serve the soup hot, in bowls, with a small spoonful of yogurt and some pepitas on top.
recipe yields 3-4 bowls of soup
double the recipe for more servings
soup can be made in advance of serving, do not heat until ready to serve
leftovers keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator or up to a month frozen