Vegan Pumpkin Soup

With October came the cold. As if the earth awoke and realized fall had not yet descended.

I have fantasies of the changing seasons.  Fantasies based upon expectations.  Of excitement for what is to come.  Of being curled up before a bonfire. Of nights spent before the fireplace. Of crisp morning air. Of walking in the woods and the crunch of leaves underfoot. But there is always a bit of adjustment. The first cold is too cold. It is a shock. My body and soul call out involuntarily for the warm rays of the sun. My dreams belie my heart.  It is too sudden.  I am not ready for change.  I don’t welcome it.  I am not ready.  I am never ready.

The house feels cold. Aggressively cold. Not the cold of my dreams. Not the cold that is soothed by warm blankets, a fire, and the company of loved ones. No, this cold creeps into your bones. The constant longing for a bath. I know it will soon pass. I will get used to the cold. It won’t seem like much a month from now. Layers will continue to pile on my skin and seem as if my they in fact have become my skin. It will feel foreign to think of summer days and the sun’s rays baking upon my exposed skin.

So, for now, as all I seek is warmth and comfort from the constant chill, I will make soup. Soup will not cure the chill.  But it will do.  Because that is all that can be expected of it.

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Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Serves 6 as appetizers or an accompaniment

*of note, this soup has a kick…adjust according to taste

  • 1 medium pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-1 Tbs + another 2 Tbs organic, cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs ginger root, minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric root, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (homemade preferably)
  • 1 tsp orange peel
  • 1 Tbs orange juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2c coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 4oo.  Slice the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds etc.   Place on a baking sheet and cook until the flesh is soft and the skin begins to wrinkle.  Roughly an hour.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Combine the ground ginger, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Whisk in enough olive oil and mix with the pumpkin seeds to coat.  Toss onto a baking sheet and cook until toasted.  Don’t forget them!  Allow to cool while you continue with the soup.

Gently heat the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil in a soup pot.  Add the onion and cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until tender.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Now add the ginger, turmeric, cardamom, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, bay leaf, salt and pepper (just a dash of both…to taste later).  Continue to cook until the spices meld.  Just a couple of minutes.  Add the cooked pumpkin (removing skins first…they should peel off easily).  Stir to combine.

Add the vegetable broth, orange peel and orange juice.  Bring to a boil.  Then simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from heat and remove the bay leaf.  Using an immersion blender, blend the soup.  Once smooth, add the coconut milk and stir to combine.  Taste for salt and pepper if need be.

Serve the soup with the toasted pumpkin seeds on top.

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