Before the discovery of corn, American Indians used to grow pumpkins for food. This vegetable, which is a type of squash, helped them get through the long winters. In the 16th century, European colonizers noticed the pumpkins being grown by the Indian tribes and shortly after, the squash became a staple in their diets as well. Later on, Columbus carried some pumpkin seeds back to Europe, where the vegetable soon became very popular too.
There are many ways to eat pumpkin: steamed, roasted, sautéed, fried, mushed, staffed, as a stuffing…You can serve it as a side to accompany your main meal or add it to your casserole, pasta or rice dish, and salad. A comforting winter pumping soup is also a great way to get the most out of this vegetable!
For extra nutritional value, add a side of grains to your soup bowl: brown rice, farro, or quinoa and also serve it with legumes such as garbanzo, lentils, or black beans.
♥ To accompany your meal, try the delicious focaccia bread recipe at the bottom of the page.
- 1 small seasonal pumpkin
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- Olive oil
- 1 small diced yellow onion
- ¼ of red bell pepper (diced)
- Fresh crushed pepper and salt
- Nutmeg and/or cumin to taste
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond or rice milk
- Fresh rosemary or fresh basil
- Cut the pumpkin into quarters or eights and, with a spoon, remove all the seeds from it. Place the seeds in a colander and the seedless pumpkin in large pot. Add water to the pot, enough to almost cover the squash. Then add the garlic cloves and bay leaves. Cover the pot and let boil until pumpkin is fully cooked. Note: You can also roast the pumpkin in the oven at 350 degrees. Place the pumpkin quarters on a cookie sheet and brush them with olive oil. Season with some fresh rosemary branches, crushed pepper, chili flakes, nutmeg, cumin, paprika, and minced garlic.
- Once the pumpkin is cooked, removed from water (save the broth), let it cool off and then use a spoon to scoop all the meat from the peel. Puree the pumpkin and garlic cloves with a food processor.
- In a medium pot on medium heat add olive oil. Sauté garlic, onion, bell pepper, chili flakes, and rosemary (if you don’t like rosemary, you can substitute for basil, but add basil at the last minute). Then add the pumpkin puree. Sauté everything for a few minutes and then add the pumpkin water, almond milk. Season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika, and nutmeg. If you baked the pumpkin, use water or vegetable broth. Add water, vegetable broth or more milk until you reach the consistency you desire.
- Serve in a soup bowl and garnish with rosemary (or basil) and toasted salted pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil (rosemary or basil infused olive oil if available)!
♥Pumpkin seeds (great source of zinc):
- While the pumpkin cooks, rinse the pumpkin seeds with water and use your fingers to remove all the pulp from them. Once the seeds are clean, place them on a cookie sheet and let them dry overnight. You can peel the dry seeds like sun flower seeds -one by one- and toast the ‘pepitas’, or you can roast them in the shell and eat them whole.
- Place a thick frying pan or skillet on low heat. Once it is hot, add the pumpkin seeds to the pan and toast them for no more than 15 minutes. Shake and stir pumpkin seeds constantly to prevent burning. You can spray them with soy sauce while they toast or just add salt, garlic powder, chili, or any seasoning you prefer.
Accompany with Focaccia Bread. Easy moist white bread, great with soups!
You might also like the Vegetable Soup!