This year for Halloween, I decided to decorate our house with smaller pumpkins that could be easily roasted and enjoyed in a variety of ways. Don’t get me wrong, we did carve one pumpkin, which was set out on our front steps aimed at scaring little trick or treaters. Not sure we successfully achieved that with my amateur carving skills, but we tried.
Pumpkins are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, as is winter squash, and a relative of melons and cucumbers. They come in many different varieties, however, they all have a hard outer shell which allows for longer periods of storage. Pumpkins are usually orange in colour, which I love, but white, grey and various shades of green pumpkins are also available.
Pumpkins boast the following nutrients
- rich in antioxidants vitamins such as A, C and E, necessary to protect us against free-radical damage, with A and C also supporting the immune system.
- contains high levels of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A and retinol in the body. A 1 cup serving of pumpkin provides about 246 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin A. According to Natural News, vitamin A is an important antioxidant that our body needs to maintain skin integrity. It keeps the skin firm, prevents skin damage and speeds up healing. Vitamin A also helps prevent free radical damage to our cells, which is responsible for premature aging of the skin. Retinol has been shown to play an essential role in preventing degenerative eye disease. It slows down the decline of retinal function which can cause blindness.
- excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as a, lutein and zea-xanthin, which also helps protect our eyes from damage.
- source of other minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
- pumpkins and their seeds are a wonderful source of magnesium, a mineral associated with helping us feel calm and relaxed.
- contains B-complex vitamins such as folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamine and pantothenic acid.
- source of fibre, with 3 grams of fibre for each cup of cooked pumpkin
- pumpkins seeds however, are an excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, great for heart health, and a concentrated source of protein, minerals and health-benefiting vitamins. For instance, 100 g of pumpkin seeds provide 559 calories, 30 g of protein, 110% RDA of iron, 4987 mg of niacin (31% RDA), selenium (17% of RDA), zinc (71%) etc., but no cholesterol. – World’s Healthiest Foods
So here is a simple recipe for a Perfect Pumpkin Soup that I adapted from my Roasted Butternut Soup. Essentially the same soup, with some modifications. I hope you like it!
Perfect Pumpkin Soup
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 medium-sized pumpkin, halved
- 1 large leek, white part only, chopped
- 2-3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- salt & white pepper to taste
- Pumpkin seeds, optional
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the pumpkin halves with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place cut side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast until fork-tender, about 40 minutes.
While the pumpkin is roasting, chop the leeks and garlic and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook for about 5 – 7 minutes or until tender. Stir continuously to avoid burning the leeks. Add garlic and ginger, and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add turmeric and cumin. Mix well and set aside.
Once the pumpkin has been fully roasted and is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and add it to the pot with the cooked leeks and spices. Return the pot to the stove and place over medium heat. Add broth, mix well and bring the soup to a gentle boil. Remove from heat.
Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth or desired consistency is reached. Add a splash of coconut milk or cream if desired, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If soup is too thick, add another 1/2 -1 cup of broth.
For a finishing touch, garnish with pumpkin seeds or cilantro
Linda @ The Wholesome Kitchen