Moroccan-Inspired Pumpkin Soup

Traditional,Fall,And,Winter,Dishes,,Hot,And,Spicy,Pumpkin,Soup, morrocan
Ananda Headshot Ananda Kaplan

Did someone say soup season? It is that time of the year when the leaves are changing and our bodies are craving warm nourishing dishes. Our Moroccan-inspired Pumpkin Soup is a deliciously healthy recipe packed full of anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting ingredients to keep our taste buds happy and bodies strong during the colder months. The key to great pumpkin soup that really tastes like “pumpkin” is to ditch the can and added sugar, and instead develop the natural pumpkin goodness by roasting a fresh sugar pumpkin. (Sugar pumpkins are smaller, denser, and sweeter than carving pumpkins.) Roasting the pumpkin concentrates its naturally creamy texture and earthy sweetness. The roasted pumpkin is then combined with a base of savory aromatics and Moroccan spices to provide a depth of enticing flavors and textures. When all ingredients are blended together, the result is a velvety smooth soup that balances savory warmth, pops of bold spices, and undertones of sweetness.

Servings: 4 bowls or 8 cups

Ingredients

Roasted Pumpkin

  • 1 4-5 pound sugar pumpkin or kobucha squash  (you can also substitute with butternut or buttercup squash)
    • If you are in a time crunch the soup can be made with canned pure pumpkin, but the flavor will be different.
  • High heat oil (avocado, coconut or sunflower)
  • Sprinkle of salt

Soup Base

  • 2 tablespoons oil (olive, coconut, sunflower or avocado)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 small or 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 celery stocks, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 inches of ginger grated or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon paprika (smoked if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch (~⅛ teaspoon) clove
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (this does not make it very spicy so you can increase or decrease depending on preference)
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (store bought or homemade)
  • 2 bay leaves (will be removed before blending)

Garnish: roasted pepitas, fresh parsley, drizzle with yogurt (dairy or dairy free), sprinkle with smoked paprika

Directions
  1. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly oil it. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Split pumpkin in half with a heavy chef’s knife or cleaver. Scoop out the seeds and save to be roasted if you like. Rub pumpkin on all surfaces with oil and season with salt. Place cut-side-down on the baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast until completely tender, flipping halfway through cooking for a total cook time of 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.
  2. While the pumpkin is roasting make the soup base. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally to ensure vegetables do not burn. 
  3. Add the garlic, ginger salt, pepper and ground spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Stir the whole time to ensure spices do not burn. 
  4. Add in the lemon juice to deglaze the pot. Stir to make sure none of the spices are sticking to the bottom of the pot. 
  5. Stir in the stock, and add the bayleaf. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. 
  6. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and add 3 cups cooked pumpkin to the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes longer, then remove bay leaves and discard. [NOTE: you can add more cooked pumpkin, but will need to add more broth to reach desired consistency.]
  7. Purée soup in a blender in batches or with a hand blender in the pot until completely smooth. If needed, add broth to to reach desired consistency. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve in bowls with garnishes. 
  9. Soup can also be cooled down and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months. Leftovers always taste amazing so I recommend making a large batch at one time to have on hand and freeze.
Nutrient highlights

Pumpkin: High in fiber (7 grams per cup), vitamin A, C, and potassium. The high vitamin A content promotes eye health and boosts the immune system.

Garlic and Onions: Considered prebiotics, meaning they feed the “good” bacteria in our gut and promote a healthy digestive system. Research supports that compounds in onions, such as allicin, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and cardioprotective properties.

Cumin: Good source of iron. Aids in digestion. Cumin is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory,

Paprika: Packed full of vitamin A along with lutein and zeaxanthin to support eye health. It also has a variety of antioxidants with anticancer effects (by fighting cell damage). Paprika can increase our “good” cholesterol (HDL) and reduce our “bad” cholesterol (LDL), decreasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.

Cayenne: The capsaicin in the chilies has been shown to promote the secretion of endorphins as well as binding with nerve endings that sense pain. This can reduce the feeling of pain and help us feel better. It also assists in the increased secretion of digestive juices to ensure healthy intestines.

Turmeric & Black Pepper: Curcumin in turmeric is poorly absorbed in the bloodstream. Happily, when combined with black pepper (which contains piperine) and a healthy fat, the absorption of curcumin is enhanced by 2,000%.  Curcumin is a very powerful anti-inflammatory compound – it blocks the molecule NF-kB that turns on inflammatory genes in our cells. Curcumin can increase the antioxidant capacity of our bodies by neutralizing free radicals on its own and by stimulating the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.  It has been shown to improve endothelial function.

Cinnamon: It has been shown to enhance motor function and normalize neurotransmitter levels. It can help improve insulin sensitivity and maintain stable blood sugar by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes that slow the breakdown of carbohydrates in the GI tract.

Clove: Very high in manganese, which is an essential mineral for maintaining brain function, nervous system support and strengthening bones. Clove is one of the most potent natural antioxidant substances. It helps modulate blood sugar levels by increasing the uptake of the sugar into the cells and improving liver and pancreas function.

Ginger: Ginger’s bioactive compound 6-gingerol has been shown to have the ability to modulate cellular pathways active in cancer prevention as well as a potential therapeutic application for treatment. It also improves lipid metabolism, which decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  Highly effective against motion sickness, nausea and even morning sickness in pregnant women; also helpful for digestive health and chronic indigestion.  Can ease joint pain and stiffness due to anti-inflammatory properties. Can lower risk of infections and boost the immune system.

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