It’s soup time! I love this time of the year when it’s finally cold outside and you can prepare creamy and fulfilling soups. Pumpkin soup is one of my favourite! I cook it at least 2 times a week: it’s so comforting and cosy!
This recipe is easy, quick and very very healthy! I like to eat big plates of soups so I developed a recipe that is light and low in calories so I can eat it without feeling guilty!
Health benefits of pumpkins
Pumpkins are rich in vitamins, fibre and water but low in calories. A hundred grams of squash have only 20 calories. This makes pumkins perfect for those following a low calorie diet. The fibre helps with the digestion and makes you feel full for a long time.
Squash and pumpkins variety
There are so many types of squash and pumpkins, all delicious and perfect for different recipes. The most used in UK is the butternut squash, with its sweet and dense flesh it’s perfect for soups and risotto.
The red kuri also known as Hokkaido squash has a round shape and a very bright orange skin. It’s very good roasted or into savoury tarts and it has a nutty flavour. The Hokkaido blue has instead a grey-blue skin and it’s very good just roasted with salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Both the Hokkaido pumpkins are great to make soups too.
The spaghetti squash, famous because it’s a low calorie alternative to replace pasta, has an oval shape and a pale yellow skin. Once cooked you can scrape the flesh with a fork to create filaments that look like spaghetti, hence the name. It’s delicious with tomato sauce or pesto.
The dumpling squash is one of my favourite. It’s small, about the size of a big apple, the skin is pale yellow with green or orange markings and it’s perfect to be stuffed. The skin is edible so you can stuff a little dumpling squash with tasty fillings, for example with risotto or pasta or meat, and eat the all thing without peeling it. So it’s perfect for preparing individual servings.
Another beautiful squash is the Long Island cheese. It’s very big and can weight up to 12 kg. The shape resembles a cheese wheel, hence the name, and it’s perfect for soups, curries, sauce, bread, and dessert like the famous pumpkin pie.
These are only few types of pumpkins and the most famous, but there are a lot more. Every type is delicious, versatile and good for the health.
How to make a tasty but healthy soup
As I said at the beginning my recipe is very easy to make. You wont’t need a lot of ingredients to create a tasty soup. Just a good quality squash, a potato, water and some spices to give the soup more character.
The potato is important for the texture, it gives the soup a very creamy and smooth consistency without changing the taste of the dish. When you prepare a light soup the spices are important too: you can use every spice you fancy, but use it because it gives flavour. This time I used cumin seeds and ground turmeric. The cumin has a warm and pungent aroma and gives its best when toasted, so remember to put it into the soup at the beginning, when you are frying the onion. Turmeric has a more delicate taste and boosts the orange color of the soup.
When choosing a squash remember to pick the little ones because they have more flavour; then look at the stalk if it’s brown and dry the squash will have less water and more taste. And finally, if you are choosing between 2 squashes of the same size check their the weight: the heavier the better, less water more flesh so more flavour.
Healthy pumpkin soup
- pumpkin peeled and diced: 1 chilo
- water boiling: 800 grams
- potatoes (about 80 grams) diced: 1
- onion: 1
- cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
- ground turmeric: 1 tsp
- extra virgin olive oil: 1 tbsp
- salt (to taste)
- ground pepper (to taste)
- To make the pumpkin soup start slicing the onion.
- Heat the oil into a large pan, add the cumin seeds and the onion and saute for a couple of minutes until tender and translucent.
- Add the potato and the pumpkin dices and cook on high heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
- Pour in the water and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the pumpkin soup for 30-40 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.
- Season with salt and pepper, add the turmeric and blend until creamy and smooth.
- Serve hot.