Friday, November 9, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Oh my goodness! The last couple of months have been a complete whirlwind. I apologize that the posts have been few and far between; that is all about to change. Two weeks ago, my fiancĂ© and I left our sunny San Diego beach cottage for a (much larger) bungalow in the Greater LA area. On top of that, I left my full-time corporate career to follow my dreams of being a full-time Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor, Yoga Instructor, Food Blogger and Business Owner!!! Ahh! Someone pinch me! 

I have finally had the time to get back in the kitchen to create fun, fabulous food! And…since pumpkins will only be around for another two weeks, I must take full advantage of their deliciousness. This Spiced Pumpkin Soup is smooth and creamy and complemented by warm flavors of cardamom and coriander.  Its rich decadence will leave your taste buds begging for more!

Pumpkins are a great source of fiber and are actually rather low in calories. This vegetable contains 3 grams of fiber per 1 cup of pumpkin and 49 calories - which means that this beauty keeps you feeling full longer and fewer calories! It is also chock full of antioxidants and a vitamin powerhouse. Pumpkin is great for healthy vision and healthy skin. The carotenoids are sure to give you a beautiful glow, and may I add, anti-aging properties.

If you choose to roast and eat the seeds, which I highly suggest (they charge $16.99/pound for pumpkin seeds at Whole Foods), then you can also count on the benefits of phytosterols, shown to reduce LDL levels “bad cholesterol.” The moral of the story is…eat pumpkin!

*This recipe makes 4 small cups of soup or two large bowls.

2 medium sugar pie (baking) pumpkins
2 tablespoons of EVOO (plus a little extra if you’re going to roast the seeds)
1- 14 oz. can of coconut milk (I used full-fat; cream would also work)
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon of cardamom
½ teaspoon of sage
Sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut both pumpkins in half. Scoop out the flesh and seeds and set aside for later use. Drizzle the fleshy part of the pumpkins with EVOO, place cut side down on a parchment-lined pan and roast for approximately 35-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool enough to handle.

While the pumpkins are roasting, sort through the pumpkin seeds separating the stringy pumpkin from the seeds. Rinse the seeds and place them in a small bowl. Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with sea salt. Spread them evenly on a pan and roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

Scoop out the insides of the pumpkin* and transfer to a blender (I used my Vitamix) or large food processor. Add the coconut milk, maple syrup, all remaining spices and puree! The soup should be thick and creamy. If you’re not going to eat it right away, or if you like your soup piping hot, place it in a saucepan over low heat until desired temperature is reached.

*Serve the soup in the leftover pumpkin half’s or small bowls. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds and enjoy!

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