I can’t get enough of winter squash. Winter squash season is back and I couldn’t be happier to cook again with one of my favorite ingredients, turning it into delicious mashes, side dishes and soups. Besides the fact that winter squash is so low-cal and full of vitamins, it just turns any meal into a hearty one, making it perfect for the colder days ahead. With the days slowly getting shorter and colder, one of my favorite Sunday activities is to make a batch of soup to warm up and enjoy during the week. I like experimenting with different combinations — leek and zucchini, carrot and parsley — to keep things varied so that Jon and I never get bored!
I never use cream or milk to thicken my soups — not only because I’m lactose intolerant, but also because I like to keep my soups as low-cal and healthy as possible. There are so many ways one can thicken soups without using dairy, such as with coconut milk, potato, sweet potato and lentils among other ingredients. One of my Instagram followers even suggested using rice or chickpea flour…a tip I have to try soon!
I discovered the use of nuts in soups when I first made this cauliflower cashew soup. Adding nuts to soups give it such a creamy appearance and make them even more nutritious. Although I mainly use potato to thicken my soups, I decided to give my favorite roasted pumpkin soup a new twist by adding some walnuts to it. The walnuts bring such texture to the soup and blend marvelously well with the aroma of roasted pumpkin; so much so that I’ll most probably try adding nuts to many of my favorite soups from now on instead of potato!
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- 1kg whole pumpkin
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 225g potatoes, peeled and cut into big cubes
- ½ cup walnuts
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F and line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
- Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin halves on the baking tray, skin side down, and drizzle 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil on each half. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the flesh is golden and completely soft. Let slightly cool down while preparing the rest.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry the onion and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Scoop out the cooked flesh of the pumpkin with a spoon and add to the saucepan. Discard the pumpkin skin. Add the cubed potatoes, walnuts and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.
- Purée the soup with a handheld blender and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve the soup in bowls topped with some chopped walnuts.