Treat yourself to the rich flavors of fall produce with this spicy and creamy pumpkin ginger soup. It’s so healthy, but also warming and comforting the way a good fall soup should be.
Silky, rich soups are what fall is all about. And I’ve been obsessed with them recently. They are a great way to eat lots of veggies while still satisfying your craving for warm, comforting dishes.
In my efforts to feed my family healthier, more nutrient rich foods, we have been doing a lot of meat free and even dairy free foods. Vegetarian meals that focus on seasonal vegetables have been featured on our menu a lot. And like with my pumpkin lentil curry, beans have been a major source of protein for us. The addition of some more lentils in this soup ensures that all your nutrition needs are met!
I love switching to healthier, plant-based meals for most of our diet. While I do like the occasional indulgent treat, the flavors available from seasonal vegetables have been amazing. And a lot of the dishes store surprisingly well. We have been able to make up batches of things like this soup and store them for the more frantic moments life brings.
How to select and prepare fresh ginger
Fresh ginger rather than dried and ground brings an essential heat and flavor to this soup. Selecting a good, fresh piece of ginger root at the grocery store is tricky. Look for the following things to get the freshest ginger possible:
- Plump and moist looking. This is hard to find when the roots travel thousands of miles to get to us from the tropics where they are grown, but Asian groceries are most likely to have the freshest.
- Skin that looks like it is thin and peeling. I know this is counter intuitive, but the longer ginger (and most other roots for that matter) have been out of the ground, the thicker the skin becomes. Thin, almost translucent skin means the ginger was harvested recently.
- A bright yellow color when broken. If you break a piece of ginger part way along the root, the flesh should be a bright, but pale yellow, not grey or brown.
Once you have a piece of fresh ginger, it should be peeled before you begin to work with it. Ginger can either be chopped really finely or grate to get a paste that will distribute throughout the dish. Grating can be a bit messy, but it’s easier to get it really fine. If you go with chopping, cut against the grain first, then mince it as fine as you can. Now you have a bright, fresh ginger spiciness to liven up any dish.
Why use fresh pumpkin?
Since the whole pumpkin ginger soup is pureed with an immersion blender (a kitchen tool I absolutely love right now), you might be wondering why not just use canned pumpkin? And you definitely don’t want to do that. Because you can’t roast already pureed pumpkin for the same deep, almost caramelized flavor. Roasting cubes of fresh pumpkin brings this soup to a whole new level – don’t skip it.
There are plenty of varieties of eating pumpkin you can use in this recipe. You can find some of the easiest varieties to prepare with my pumpkin potato latkes recipe. For this recipe particularly, I recommend red kuri or blue Hokkaido pumpkins for their smooth flesh. The really big and red Cinderella pumpkins would also be great, though you will probably have to make some pumpkin puree for later with all the extra.
How to make the soup vegan
It is incredibly easy to make this soup vegan since it is already vegetarian with very little dairy. Rather than using honey to sweeten the soup, maple syrup would work well. The flavors of maple and pumpkin work really well together, though personally I like honey.
This recipe also calls for a garnish of heavy or sour cream, something which I feel lightens the dish and enhances the flavor. Instead, use a drizzle of thin cashew cream or a full fat coconut milk (though the flavor of the coconut will be very distinct). And that’s it! So simple if you want to add another vegan dish to your meal rotation.
Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Ginger Soup
- 2 1/2 lb. (1.1kg) pumpkin
- 1 large carrot
- 4 tbsp olive oil , divided
- 5 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 2 small onions , finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 medium potatoes , diced
- 1/4 cup uncooked red lentils
- 1 oz. (30g) fresh ginger , minced (and adjusted to taste)
- 1/2 tsp salt , or more if needed
- sour cream or heavy cream , for serving (skip for vegan)
- toasted pumpkin seeds , for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Peel the pumpkin and cut into chunks. Peel the carrot and cut into thick slices.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the pumpkin and carrot in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and honey. Sprinkle with the nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. Toss.
- Roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes, until tender.
- Meanwhile, in a pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, until fragrant. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
- Add the potatoes and lentils. Cook until softened, for about 20 minutes.
- Add the roasted pumpkin and carrot, ginger, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes more.
- Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender until smooth or transfer to a blender that can process hot liquids. If the soup is too thick to your liking, adjust the consistency by adding more boiling broth or water. Give a taste and adjust salt, if needed.
- Serve garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds and with a dollop of sour cream or stir in some heavy cream, if desired.