Spring has arrived, and until a few days ago, I still had two cans of pumpkin sitting in my cupboards. Don’t ask me what I was waiting for to put the vitamin-packed puree to use. Anyways, when I think of pumpkin, I tend to picture a chilly fall or winter day, with a sweet, cinnamon-smelling pumpkin dish warming up the kitchen. As spring really begins to set in and all of the cold days alas escape me, I knew I wanted to empty those pumpkin cans and get cooking.
I decided on a Mexican-spiced pumpkin soup to compliment the black bean burgers I planned on making for dinner (see last post). To flavor the dish, I focused on cumin and cinnamon, along with some pumpkin pie spice I had left over from previously making pumpkin pie. No worries if you’re spice cabinet is deficient of pumpkin pie spice. Simply add a little more cinnamon, a generous pinch of ginger, and a dash of nutmeg and allspice to make your own.
I finished off the soup with soy milk to enhance the natural creaminess of the pumpkin puree. Depending on how thick or thin you want the soup to be will determine how much soy milk you should add. Also, organic pumpkin puree tends to be a tad thinner than non-organic, so maybe stay on the low side if using all organic.
While pumpkins seem to go out of style (and season) after the early winter months, nutrition-wise, the orange fruit is perfect for anytime of year. Packed with beta-carotene, an element that the body converts to Vitamin A, in addition to an array of other vitamins and minerals, pumpkin is a pretty solid, low-cal source of nutrients. It’s also packed with fiber, which makes this recipe one surprisingly extra filling soup.
As the warm days begin to roll on in and fresh produce begins to sprout up, if you’ve got pumpkin still hanging around in your cabinet, don’t just push it to the back. Instead, combine it with the in-season ingredients that start catching your eye, like spinach or arugula, which would be delicious added to a soup like this. But for now, I’ll enjoy my pumpkin soup as is while I wait for the next few weeks to flow on by until those sunny spring days are here for good.
Mexican Pumpkin Soup
-2 medium onions, diced -2 medium potatoes, diced
-2 tsp. cumin
-1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
-1 scant tsp. salt
-1 cup no-sodium vegetable sock
-2-15 oz. cans pumpkin puree
-1 1/2-2 Tbsp. honey or brown sugar
-1 1/2 -2 cups soy milk
-2 Tbsp. olive oil
-Sour cream or creme fraiche, dollop
-Cilantro, handful, minced
In large saucepan, saute onions and potatoes in oil until onions are translucent and potatoes begin to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add spices and salt and saute for one minute, stirring frequently. Add vegetable stock, cover, and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and honey.
Transfer mixture to blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Return to pan. Over low heat, stir in soy milk. Cook until hot, or desired consistency is reached. Serve, topping with a dollop of sour cream/creme fraiche and a sprinkle of minced cilantro.