The tastier, more delightful, savory side to Pumpkin Spice.
I was recently talking to a friend about pumpkins. As the conversation stirred from pumpkin pie to pumpkin flan, I started wondering why pumpkins, as a savory vegetable don’t get as much recognition as they should. They are definitely odd, funny almost. But behind that layer of thick orange skin lies a versatile, super healthy, delicacy. In the midst of conversation, it became my objective to celebrate this vegetable to its fullest savory potential.
This recipe is like nose-to-tail cooking for plant eaters. Not only do we use the flesh from these pumpkins, to make a tasty autumn soup, but we also use the typically discarded seeds. We toss the seeds in a few of my favorite spices and salt, then roast them to a crisp and serve as an awesome crunchy compliment.
Skip the canned section of the supermarket, get yourself a whole pumpkin, decorate the counter with it for a few days, and then taste the difference. Slow roasted in the comfort of your oven, the flesh melts into a sweet-savory creamy component to soup. Caramelized leeks, garlic, spices, and coconut milk, accentuate the pumpkin flavor for a colorful treat that will keep your taste buds singing for days. Comforting, delicious, perfect.
The combination of coconut and curry is a classic, the addition of cayenne pepper, and spiced pumpkin seeds take this soup to the next level. Did I mention how gorgeous this looks? Didn’t think I had to.
Curry & Spice Pumpkin Soup
Makes about 10 cups
- 2 small sugar pumpkins
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 leek
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tsp. curry powder
- ½ tsp. chili powder, plus more for garnish
- 5 cups water
- ½ cup coconut milk, plus more for garnish
- Spiced Pumpkin seeds, for garnish
- handful of cilantro, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice off the top and bottom inch of each pumpkin. Slice into vertical quarters. Using your fingers, remove all seeds and place into a bowl for later use. Using a spoon scrape all the guts out from the inside of each quarter. Place in a baking sheet, skin side up, and cook for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for ten to fifteen minutes.
Once pumpkins are cool enough to handle, using a spoon, remove flesh from skin and set aside.
In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. Slice the leek, then place into pot with salt. Stir over medium heat for seven to eight minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add garlic cloves, cumin powder, and chili powder. Stir for another two minutes. Add in pumpkin flesh, water, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for five minutes. In batches, transfer contents of the pot into a high speed blender. Puree until smooth. Transfer back onto pot and taste for seasoning. Add more salt as necessary.
Serve hot with a dash of chili powder, a spoon’s worth of creamy coconut milk, spiced pumpkin seeds, and cilantro
*This recipe makes a lot of soup. I froze half of it in a freezer safe container to enjoy in a week or so.
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Makes about a cup
- 1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- dash cumin powder
- dash chili powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place seeds in a sieve. Place under running water and remove any pumpkin flesh that might have stuck to the seeds. Set aside. Place three cups of water and a hefty pinch of salt in pot. Add seeds. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for ten minutes. Drain seeds and pat dry. Transfer onto a baking sheet with olive oil cumin powder and chili powder. Toss until everything is well incorporated. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes. Pumpkin seeds should be ready when slightly golden and crisp. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.