November 2, 2021
Pumpkins are arguably one of the main reasons that so many people believe fall is the best time of year. This creamy soup is one of my reasons, anyway! It's made with simple, fresh ingredients, and just the right balance of spices to enhance, but not overpower, the natural flavors of the carrot, pumpkin, and ginger. Cashews provide a rich creaminess, as well as a slightly sweet, earthy flavor. It's easy to make, and 100% vegan!
This pumpkin soup recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner, or for any chilly night. Serve it as a main course with garlic bread or plain, crusty bread, or as an appetizer. For more vegan Thanksgiving ideas, check out my full menu of Thanksgiving recipes.
If you've never cut a pumpkin before, it's not too difficult, but it might require a little muscle. A strong, sharp knife is really important for cutting a pumpkin. You'll also need a vegetable peeler.
If your pumpkin is wide, you can cut the pumpkin in half, just to the side of the stem. My pumpkin (shown below) was tall, so I cut the stem off first, then cut the pumpkin in half. Then I used a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy insides. Finally, I cut the halves so that I had 6 smaller wedges. If you didn't cut off the stem first, cut it off after cutting the wedges. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. The skin of my pumpkin was pretty thick, so I had to peel it twice to get the inner layer removed. Finally, chop the wedges into 1.5-inch chunks.
Can I make this nut-free? Sure, just substitute the cashew cream for 1 cup of canned coconut cream (or you can use the thick cream from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk). This may result in a thinner soup, so before you blend your ingredients, remove 1 cup of vegetable broth, then add in your coconut milk or cream. If it's too thick after blending, then you can add more vegetable broth until you reach your desired consistency.
What kind of pumpkin should I use? Sugar pumpkins (also known as pie pumpkins) are the variety I used in my soup. You could also make this with a Hokkaido pumpkin, but avoid the large pumpkins that are used for carving, as those don't have much flavor.
Can I use canned pumpkin puree instead of fresh pumpkin? Fresh pumpkin will give you the best flavor, but pumpkin season is short. If you can't get fresh pumpkin, you could either substitute with fresh butternut squash, or use about 1 1/2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin puree. Canned pumpkin is already cooked, so you don't need to cook it together with the carrots and broth. You can just add it in before blending.
Can I eat the pumpkin seeds? Yes, pumpkin seeds are edible, although some people don't like them because they're a bit woody in texture. To separate them from the pulp, wash them off in a bowl of water. Then, transfer them to a baking sheet to dry. Normally, by the next day, they should be dry enough to bake. Spray them with a bit of olive oil spray (or toss with a small amount of olive oil). If you want to, you can also sprinkle them with a bit of salt. Bake at 325°F (160°C) for about 15-20 minutes, stirring the seeds every 5 minutes or so.
Yield9 1/2 cups (5 servings as a main course, 10 servings as a starter)
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time60 minutes
Add your vegetable broth to a large stock pot (or saucepan) over medium heat. Add in your cinnamon, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes, and whisk together.
Add your pumpkin cubes, chopped carrots, and grated ginger to the pot and turn up the heat to bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
While your vegetables are cooking, prepare your cashew cream. Combine soaked cashews and water in a blender and blend until smooth, then set aside.
Blend up your soup mix using an immersion blender (handheld stick blender), or transfer to a standard blender to blend until smooth, then transfer back to the pot. (If you’re using a standard blender, you will likely have to do this in batches. Be sure to remove the center piece from your blender top to allow steam to escape, and cover with a kitchen towel to prevent splattering.)
Measure 1 cup of cashew cream and mix it into the soup. If you have an immersion blender, you can use it, otherwise mix by hand. Gradually add salt and pepper to taste. I used 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
Allow to cool slightly (or reheat on the stove, if needed), then transfer to bowls to serve. Garnish with a swirl of the remaining cashew cream, and your choice of red pepper flakes, pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels), or fresh herbs like parsley, sage, or cilantro.
If you don't want a spicy soup, omit the red pepper flakes. You can also increase the red pepper flakes for more heat.
Soak cashews in water for 2 hours, or boil for 10 minutes. (You can skip this if you have a high-powered blender).
Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring regularly, until warm.
Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.
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