Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Couscous

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on March 2, 2011

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Here’s the thing about this Creamy Pumpkin Soup recipe.

I’m not sure how I feel about it.

After my 11 mile training run on Monday, I couldn’t get this soup down fast enough.

I was cold, I was clammy, and I needed food. I ended up doing half of my long run on the treadmill and then hitting the road for the last half (for my sanity!), finishing 11 miles in 1 hour 50 minutes and change. It was a difficult run and I struggled with endurance greatly after mile 9. The run dragged on and on. At this point in my training, it’s still hard for me to believe that last year I ran 13.1 miles in almost the same amount of time (1:55:10)! I definitely do not feel trained to that level right now, but that just gives me something to train for this Spring! I’m currently eying the Marden Half (or possibly the 10k) at the beginning of April. Anyone running it?

When I returned from my run, I was feeling cold because it was drizzling outside and this soup really hit the spot. I oohed and awwed while I devoured it over a bowl full of hot couscous.

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Fast forward to leftovers for dinner.

I thought the soup was still good, but it wasn’t as amazing as I remembered it to be when I was so hungry I could eat the fridge. Note to self: Never judge a recipe based on how you feel after an 11 mile run. ;) Eric also thought it left a lot to be desired (‘it needs more spices’- he claimed), but I thought I would post the recipe because I think it is a great template for you to play around with!

Next time, I will certainly double all of the spices because I agree with Eric, it was a bit bland. It may have been because I used a sad vegetable bouillon cube to make broth and the original recipe called for vegetable stock, preferably the homemade kind using fresh vegetables. I have a feeling that if I used a flavourful broth or a nice thick stock, this soup would have been taken to a new level. I did love how creamy this soup is thanks to the cashew cream sauce that I added at the last minute. The cashew cream sauce really took this soup to a a new level of comfort, satiety, and thickness and I would definitely recommend it!

Moral of the story: This is a decent soup, but it needs a bit of tweaking. Play around with the recipe and then let me know what you come up with! :)

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Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Couscous

Adapted from The Vegan Table Cookbook.

Yield: ~4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled & chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground tumeric* (see note below about spices)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8th tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional- gives a slightly cheesy flavour)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz) or 2 cups fresh, pureed
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (next time I may reduce this to 1 tbsp)
  • Juice from half a lemon (2 tbsp), or to taste
  • Cashew cream sauce (1 cup soaked cashews blended with 1/2 cup non-dairy milk) OR 1 cup non-dairy milk (it won’t be creamy if you use milk though)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste + fresh black pepper

 

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add in the chopped onion and garlic. Cook on low to medium heat for about 5 minutes being careful not to burn. Add all the spices and stir well. Heat for a couple minutes on low.

2. Now add in vegetable stock, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Stir well. Simmer on low-medium heat for 15 minutes.

3. Make the cashew cream sauce by blending 1 cup of cashews that have soaked in water for at least 1 hour (this helps them blend better). Add in 1/2 cup of milk into the blender and blend until smooth. Scoop out and add 3/4 of this cashew sauce into the soup. Stir and reserve the rest for garnish on top of the bowl. Heat for another 5 minutes and then serve immediately over your favourite grain or with bread. Sprinkle with Pepita seeds if desired. Makes about 4 cups.

Note: We thought this soup was bland for our taste. Next time I would double the spices. I also think I would reduce the maple syrup to 1 tbsp as the sweetness tasted a bit strange to me. Adjust this soup to your taste and add the seasonings, lemon, and maple syrup slowly to taste.

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Do the sauté thang.

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Assemble your spices…

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I love having Tumeric after a long run because it is supposed to have an anti-inflammatory effect! I like to think it helps my sore limbs.

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Mix well.

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Add in the lemon, maple syrup, and pumpkin.

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And vegetable stock. Simmer on low-medium for 15 minutes.

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Make your cashew cream sauce.

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Add 3/4 of it to the soup.

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Serve piping hot over your favourite grain.

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I served it over a bowl of couscous and I sprinkled on some Pepita seeds for some crunch.

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All in all a decent soup, but it needs some minor adjustments. If you end up making it, let me know how you like it and if you make any tweaks to the recipe.

Update: A couple of you suggested adding some curry powder to this soup…I think that might help amp it up a little!

Breakfast the next day was more pumpkin!

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

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Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day March 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I have a very lukewarm relationship with creamy soups like this.. I’m OK with the first bowl, but I can’t ever eat a second one the same day or ever week. I like so make a big batch and freeze individual sized portions for a quick cup of soup to compliment a salad or sandwich. I also will use the leftover soup as a base for another soup or pasta sauce with great results!

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Sara @ Baking and Wine March 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Oh, this is getting bookmarked post-haste. I’ll see what I can come up with. :)

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lauren @ spiced plate March 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm

how about adding in a bunch of garam masala or curry powder? Both are autumny and warming and thus compliment the pumpkin really well.

I love pumpkin. Sometimes I swap it out for sweet potato. Maybe adding that could help aid in the complexity of flavors, too?

Regardless, it’s still so bright and lovely looking — I love creamy soups because you can use them as a soup or put them on top of other great things like quinoa or millet. I can’t get enough of soups.

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman March 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Looks delicious. I want to make that just for the brilliant color.

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Namaste Gurl March 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Not sure how it tastes, but you sure make it look top quality and SUPER delicious:)
I’ll have to give it a shot, and maybe add in a few more spices!

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Leslie March 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Try coconut milk instead of the cashew milk and a touch of sweet chili sauce that will give it a kick.

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Jenna | The Paleo Project March 2, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Angela!! After reading your post all I can think of is my all time favorite go-to butternut squash soup that I adapted from Whole Foods. If you simply follow my recipe, replace the chicken stock for vegetable stock and the butternut squash for pumpkin, I think you and Eric will find a ton of flavor!!! I make it once a week its so amazing… Love your blog :)
I also use coconut butter instead of regular butter! So that shouldn’t be a problem

Jenna

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 2, 2011 at 3:39 pm

thanks Jenna!

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Marlène March 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I am the QUEEN of bland soups (and it’s not a title I’m proud of!!!). I hate to say it, but when it comes to soup, salt is usually the key ingredient that makes it work.

Maybe adding a bit more salt could boost the flavours you’ve already got in there?

Am I a horrible person for even suggesting that???

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Not at all! I added a full tsp- but Im sure a bit more would pump it up!

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Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) March 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm

“Note to self: Never judge a recipe based on how you feel after an 11 mile run.” LOL!! You crack me up ;P …and it’s SO true. Ask me how I know…

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Melanie March 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm

mmmm this sounds amazing! I’m going to be making this very soon! As soon as I buy more maple syrup, just finished the last of mine this morning for breakfast. Can’t wait!! : )

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) March 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm

great minds must think alike as I have pumpkin soup already on the menu for tonight!

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats March 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I own the Vegan Table cookbook, and honestly, I do not adore it the way I love many of my other vegan cookbooks. I like it (and love the format and the menus), but I find the recipes are always a bit bland, so generally double the spicing whenever I try a recipe from the book. That seems to help a lot :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I have had some hit and miss attempts so far too…hopefully I find some keepers!

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Baking 'n' Books March 2, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I like soups when they are served over grains, veggies or meats best – like this – versus just the soup on its own. Like something substantial I guess.

All Squashes have been running my life pretty much lately. I need a break…and yet they’re their waiting. Pumpkin works best in bread for me though – with chocolate :)

Great run! Wow and outside!

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Amy March 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Hi Angela,
You can never trust those tastebuds after a long run like that! Good job for making it through the 11 miles though!
My Mum makes my all time favourite pumpkin soup and her secret has always been a little curry powder so it definitely does make all the difference.
I love your website by the way, I have been working my way backwards through all the posts and I have found your story so inspiring and your photos are mouthwatering!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Thanks Amy!

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Hannah March 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm

The good thing about a slightly under-spiced soup is that you can always add more craziness to it afterwards – fresh lime, tabasco, and fresh coriander tend to be my staple add-ins in such a situation :)

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Cameo March 3, 2011 at 5:41 am

That soup looks beautiful, even if it did seem bland, it sure looked good! I love pumpkin ANYTHING, so I will def try this out. Isn’t it funny what foods we find appealing when our bodies are just crying out for sustenance? I have eaten some pretty odd combos when I was hungry that I then went back to repeat and was like, WTF? This is gross! HAHA.

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Jessica P March 3, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I usually make butternut squash soup and then at the end, I add a tablespoonful of miso paste or hummus. It adds that little bit of seasoning!

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Charissa March 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm

It just amazes me how beautiful healthy food is…the colour of that soup is delicious and I love the idea of putting that on couscous.

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Deps March 4, 2011 at 9:09 am

I love soup specially in winter season. its give me warm and felling hot and its heal conscious food. I would make it at my home and enjoy with friends

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sara May 1, 2012 at 10:34 am

Awesome recipe I really enjoyed this.
Here’s another recipe you might like.
http://www.wascene.com/food-drink/healthy-butternut-pumpkin-soup/
Thanks for sharing.
Sara

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Cynthia October 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I sure hope you revisit this one! haha I LOVE pumpkin soup but have always ended up making it too bland! I had a lovely one from a chef with fennel once (hint hint ;) ) Thanks again for all the inspiration & for bringing my diet & my kitchen back to life.

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Annie May 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

I have a question regarding the stuff you make with cashews, be it this sour cream or simply cashew cream as seen in other recipes (in my case, your 10 spice vegetable soup in the recipe book). How long do you let your cream spin in the food processor? Ater soaking my cashews overnight, I feel like I let it spin for a long time, but I get this “grainy” texture that won’t disappear and that isn’t very appealing… I added it to my soup anyway and now I’m having a hard time convincing myself that this is normal, since I can still see very tiny bits of cashews in the broth.

I’m also wondering, is it specified that cashews are raw? I thought, since it nowhere said that they were roasted (as we see on peanuts or almonds), that they were, but maybe this is my problem?

I wanted this to work so hard! I’m trying to increase the proportion of vegan meals in here, so I’m looking forward to have your input! :)

Thanks a lot for all your wonderful recipes! Many became regulars over here!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Hi Annie! For best results, use a high-speed blender like a Vitamix to get the cashew cream super smooth. A food processor just won’t process it smooth enough. I hope you still enjoyed it none the less! take care.

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Danielle July 28, 2015 at 10:45 pm

I made this for lunch today! I roasted the pumpkin then blended it to add a bit more flavour. I doubled all the spices, tripped a few, skipped on the maple and nutritional yeast and added in curry powder and some curry leaves to give it an extra oomph.

I also added in some spinach, fresh chillies and basil at the end and served over rice – was a big hit but without doubling and in some instances trippling the spices i think it would have been a bit too creamy without enough oomph

great recipe base though – thanks for uploading!

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Alex October 15, 2017 at 1:08 pm

The Secret is in the PUMPKIN y’all! And this is MUCH easier! no cutting and cleaning and skinning those hard, gunky-slime pumpkins. Shhhhh, here it is: Secret Part 1: Don’t boil all the flavor out. Try roasting small, sweet pumpkins or acorn squash or both. Just throw the thing whole in your oven on your highest temp for 45 min or so depending upon how big and how many (don’t forget to stab with a knife so it doesn’t explode – eek! for real, I know).
THEN, when it’s soft, Secret Part 2: do not remove it from your oven, keep the oven shut and leave it in there for 3 hours or more. That is the most sweet, dark, rich and flavorful veggie you’ll ever eat. It’s sweet enough to make your teeth rattle. No need to add any sweetener. As an aside: My daughter and I both have a “wonder bag oven”. We roast and then put it in our wonder oven (helps if you need to use your oven again). We LOVE it for so many reasons. Here’s a link: http://www.wonderbagworld.com.

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Alex October 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm

BTW: I LOVE my “Oh She Glows” cookbook. My bookclub had a “bring your favorite cookbook” month this summer, and I made the fresh fruit w/balsamic on bruschetta recipe and it was the hit of the night!

I’m newly vegan after having a friend teach me what we actually do to the animals we use for food — eeeeew! I went organic and vegetarian about 25 yrs ago or more, and I have more energy and look younger than most of my friends, but I was astounded at how much more energy I have after going vegan!

I went to my favorite book store and gave myself time to look through cookbooks for one that would support my new way of being in the world and “Oh She Glows” cookbook stole my heart (and tummy). It’s funny and real and deeeelish! THANK YOU!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 16, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Hey Alex, I can’t thank you enough for your kind words! :) I’m so happy to hear that you’re loving the recipes and cookbook so much. Thank you!

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