Pumpkin Basil Soup Seduction

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How many of you keep canned pumpkin on hand? I do, and apparently some of my friends think that’s funny.  I’ll tell you a little story of how pumpkin became a staple in my pantry…

Canned pumpkin is great for making “Seductive Soup”! What, you ask?!  Everyone knows it’s great for pumpkin muffins, scones, pancakes and pie of course.  I even put canned pumpkin in homemade mac&cheese and other tasty pasta dishes.  But back to the seduction … When I was in college, my mom made this fabulous Pumpkin Basil Soup that she served the first time I brought a boy home for the weekend.  He (“the boy”) loved the soup and started to fall in love with me, so my mom and I joked about it being the soup. Well, that relationship didn’t last, but the pumpkin soup was put to the test again with a couple more boyfriends over the next few years, including the one who became my husband.  So, as funny or strange as it may seem, keeping pumpkin on hand can come in handy when you’re trying to impress a prospective love interest. Haha!  Love and seduction aside, this soup is great as a Halloween or Thanksgiving dinner starter, or simply enjoy any time in fall and winter.  A final note — if you kept the pumpkin seeds after jack-o-lantern making, toast them (see how to below) and use to top the soup before serving. Deeee-lish!!!

Pumpkin Basil Soup

by Susan Greeley, MS, RD

1 large onion, peeled & chopped finely
1/4 cup butter
1/2 lb. fresh tomatoes (or canned whole), seeded and coarsely chopped
3-4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups low sodium chicken broth (vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
salt & pepper
pinch sugar
3 Tb. heavy cream (optional)
Grated Swiss cheese or salted/toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

In a large soup pot, saute onion in butter about 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer gently about 5 more minutes.
In another saucepan, simmer the carrots in 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth until soft.  Pour soft carrots & broth into a blender or food processor. Add the canned pumpkin and 1/4 tsp salt and blend until smooth.  Add the remaining chicken broth as necessary.
Add the pumpkin mixture to the tomatoes & onions. Season with pepper, pinch of sugar and a little salt if needed. Stir in the chopped basil. Fold in heavy cream (if desired) and heat but do not boil the soup. Pour into a soup tureen or individual bowls and top with cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Rub a little canola oil on your hands and then rub 1 cup pumpkin seeds in your hands to coat lightly. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Season with salt and curry powder to taste. Toss & bake another 5 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Enjoy!

About Susan Greeley
Helping others achieve optimal health through good nutrition and lifestyle, Susan Greeley promotes wellness through diets rich in healthy, wholesome foods. She counsels clients in her own private nutrition practice and works as the staff nutritionist for a YMCA.

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