Healthy pumpkin soup

A pumpkin is not just for Halloween – it’s for life

If carved well, pumpkins make great decorative lanterns but they are so, so nutritious for our health so once you’ve emptied out your pumpkin, why not use the flesh for making a hearty soup, or roast or steam with other vegetables.

Pumpkin is low in calories with around 92% being water, 6.5% carbohydrate, 0.1% fat and 1% protein. It is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants which can support our health and immune system and is great for this time of year when colds and flu are trying to inflict their misery on us.

To help use up your pumpkin, I’ve provided a really simple soup recipe that you can alter to suit your own tastes. And when pumpkin is no longer available, substituting it with butternut squash is just as nutritious. Soup is such an easy meal to have for lunch and you can warm it up, pop it in a flask and take it on the move with you.

As I add in other vegetables to this recipe, I feel there is no need to add processed stock cubes for increasing flavour because it is bursting with flavour already. All ingredients are approximate and will depend on the size of pot you have so be sure to alter them to suit your needs. This quantity lasts me for around 4 days for two people. It freezes well and is great to have in the freezer for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking.

And let’s not forget the pumpkin seeds which are a great source of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc. I’ve tried roasting my own, but it’s a tricky process so I prefer to buy organic versions and sprinkle over the soup once it’s served.

Ingredients:

700 g pumpkin
2 red bell peppers
2 large parsnips
2 large carrots
1 large onion
1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves
¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
Approx 1 litre of water (enough to fill the pot to about 1 cm below the line of vegetables)

1. Roughly chop all vegetables.
2. Place into a large pot, add salt and water.
3. Cover with a lid, bring to the boil and then gently simmer for about 25 minutes.
4. Take off the heat, leave to cool for about 10 minutes or more and then use a hand blender to make a smooth creamy soup.
5. Serve warm, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

And that’s it – very easy and very tasty. Experiment with the taste and add herbs and spices until you get the flavour you’re looking for.

Enjoy – and happy Halloween.

Image by congerdesign