This month’s Recipe ReDux topic was a bit topsy-turvy for me as it is the middle of winter here in South Africa, and all I feel like eating is a warm bowl of soup:
I used my slow-cooker alright, but I just couldn’t bring myself to create a ‘cool’ dish. Nevertheless, this creamy pumpkin soup is delicious and can be enjoyed warm with some crispy sourdough toast, or chilled with some fresh coconut milk swirled into it depending on the season that you’re in. After tasting the Woolworths Pumpkin & Sage Soup I had to develop a recipe that was just as delicious. I love the creaminess of the soup, as well as the delicious pairing of pumpkin and sage. My take on it differs somewhat in that it is dairy free and homemade, and hey, I don’t think I did too bad a job 🙂 I topped off my soup with some toasted sunflower seeds (rich in Vitamin E, which is great for your skin) and crispy sage (an absolute treat), but you can top it off with crispy croutons, some cooked rice, some pumpkin seeds, or even some grated Parmesan.
Pumpkin – what’s so special about it?
Pumpkin is pretty delicious, nutritious, and versatile in terms of its culinary uses. Pumpkin is a type of squash that is usually round, with a smooth, ribbed skin that is usually yellow to orange in colour (with a few interesting exceptions). Inside, a pumpkin is usually hollow with a whole lot of cream coloured seeds that are coated in a stringy orange flesh. Pumpkin is technically a fruit in that it contains seeds, but in terms of its nutritional value and common culinary uses, it is more like a vegetable. Pumpkin can be enjoyed in soooo many different ways. In many parts of the world, it is used to make sweet dishes such as muffins, pies, and pancakes. It is also commonly used to make soups, roasted, or as a base for creamy curries. Pumpkin seeds are really tasty, and its flowers can also be stuffed, battered, and fried.
In terms of its nutritional value, pumpkin is pretty great. It is nutrient-dense, which means that it contains a whole lot of good vitamins and minerals with relatively few calories. Pumpkin is very high in beta-carotene, which gives pumpkin its colour, is a very powerful antioxidant and is converted to vitamin A in the body. Some notable vitamins and minerals that can be found in pumpkin (per 100 g) include:
- 4992 IU Vitamin A (100% DV)
- 4.7 mg Vitamin C (8% DV)
- 230 mg Potassium (7% DV)
- 0.1 mg Copper (5% DV)
- 0.1 mg Riboflavin (5% DV)
The health benefits associated with pumpkin are mainly those related to the micronutrients that it contains and the fact that it is a good old fruit/vegetable (we know that they are great for us). The beta-carotene found in pumpkin can help promote your immunity, keep your vision in top condition, and keep your skin healthy. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is great for keeping your heart healthy, and the fibre, vitamin C, and potassium found in pumpkin can assist in improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Soup
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 500 g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into large chunks
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- 150 ml coconut cream
- Salt & pepper, TT
- 1 Tbsp cornflour (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp water (optional)
- Sunflower seeds
- Fresh sage leaves
- 2 Tbsp butter/coconut oil
- Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the diced onion and the sage and cook gently for about 15 minutes.
- Whilst the onions and sage are cooking, add the chunks of pumpkin, honey, vegetable stock, and coconut cream to your slow cooker. Season with some salt and pepper, but don't add too much of either as you can adjust the seasoning later.
- When the onion and sage is ready tip it in too and mix everything together. Put the slow cooker on low and cook for 5-6 hours.
- When it is ready use a hand blender to purée everything until the soup is nice and smooth.
- As an OPTIONAL step if you want to thicken the soup a bit, mix together the cornflour and water and stir into the soup.
- Taste the soup and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
- To make the crispy sage, heat the coconut oil/butter in a pan. Place the sage leaves in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the leaves become nice and crispy.
- To toast the sunflower seeds, place them in a pan on the stove over a medium heat. Toss the seeds every now and then to prevent burning and allow for even toasting.
Make sure to check out some of the other July Recipe ReDux posts that are up by clicking below 🙂
References Jennings K. Pumpkin Nutrition Review – What Is It Good For? Authority Nutrition; 2016. Available from: https://authoritynutrition.com/pumpkin-nutrition-review/.  SELF Nutrition Data. Pumpkin, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt Nutrition Facts & Calories. 2014. Available from: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2601/2.